In the War with High Cost Credit, Finally We May Have a Shift in the Playing Field


Don’t be mistaken, this is probably the largest move towards the affordable credit sector brought in by the FCA so far.

I know a little about how bonus structures incentivising staff behaviour that is not in the long term benefit of business or customer. As a former banker, I doubt there is much I need to say or that hasn’t been said before – anyone remember PPI?

Since 2009 I have been involved in not for profit personal lending, firstly running a credit union in Birmingham and then setting up Fair for You as a direct challenge to High Cost Credit.

In 2014 I presented to the APPG call for evidence on the rent to own sector, and I focused on the sales process that I did not believe was legal or met any aspect of treating customers fairly before they signed a credit agreement. The brochure didn’t have the right information in it, the sales people were over incentivised and they were incentivised for the wrong behaviours. The customer did not have the right to change their mind.

I am astonished that 4 years later there have been 3 redress schemes from organisations that were called to give evidence that day, but not a single fine for mis-selling credit that wasn’t affordable, without affordability checks, and for goods that were often previously enjoyed, and often not fit for purpose, and tying the customer in for 3 or more years to a deal they could barely afford to start with. Though in fairness, there has been admittance from all 3 for major failings in their credit process, which have seen improvements in the way they operate – or at least the 2 that continue to trade.

The rent to own sector was only one part of a high cost credit sector, that has continued to focus its marketing spend and research on identifying vulnerability and designing the most lucrative credit solutions for the corporate with low regard for the individual.

I am delighted that we now have many high profile supporters of our work, such as Lord Bird, Michael Sheen, and Jasmine Birtles, who has kindly just joined as patron of the charity that owns Fair for You.

Today around 12000 customer use the fledgling Fair for You to buy essential items for their home on credit they can afford, that is visible, supportive and flexible, and built exactly to the specification asked for during all the research we carried out.

A community interest company, that has its overarching mission to serve the community we chose, being the lower income households of the UK. It may be a surprise to our competitors that we are the highest rated personal lender in the UK, with almost 20% of our customers leaving a 5* rating on Trustpilot, and we were the only double award winners at the Consumer Credit awards – voted by our customers. Our competitors may even be irritated by it, but up to now, we haven’t seen much acceptance that they need to change fundamentally how they sell credit.  They are hanging on to their business models that has seen several end up as FTSE100 companies.

The landscape must change. Every day we allow hard pressed customers to walk away from the high cost credit that has drained their family and household of money for years. It is life changing for many of them. Over 50% say their health and wellbeing has directly improved since having a loan from us, and over 1/3 say their childrens health and wellbeing has improved.  

Throughout the past 10 years, I have sat in rooms talking about large budgets being allocated into financial education. I have argued passionately that my customers don’t need better education they need better solutions. Every day I see evidence that our customers are savvy, switched on, entrepreneurial women who work hard to keep their family household together. They manage their money carefully and telling them they need better education is not much better than blaming a mugging victim for being outside. When the washer breaks you need a washer, and 15m adults in the UK do not have £300 of savings to turn to, and can’t get a bank loan or overdraft for £300.

A key requirement in fight against poverty in the UK, is to allow households access to small amounts of affordable credit to insulate themselves from the relatively minor financial shocks we all experience in running a home. They do not need to be oversold credit at high interest rates, long repayment periods, or over inflated pricing of the item or told its their fault that they have to use these organisations.

Finally, in the detail of this guidance, I see that we are going to stop blaming the victims, and stop the mis-selling and over incentivising poor credit sales that is one of the key foundations of the high cost credit sector. If you have to use a credit company that is regulated in the UK, you have a right to hope that the credit sale process is regulated to protect you. Up to now, whilst there has been several redress schemes , whether credit has been sold in the physical or digital high street, no credit agreements have been set aside, no fines imposed, and the redress schemes have been very small relative to the income earned.

As an affordable credit provider, we don’t incentivise staff to sell credit. Their job is to make sure that the credit the customer is applying for is affordable to them. Our customers think that is good service, we think its good business. Maybe we are both right because we don’t lose many customers back to the high cost credit companies, and most are coming back to us.

Thank you Mr Bailey at the FCA, finally a piece of policy that really helps. We shall never be able to compete with their marketing budgets. As one of our customer said on Trustpilot – It’s about time someone took on the likes of these. They’ve got away with it long enough.

Fair for You are simply that. Fair, honest and doing what’s right.


 

Pay Weekly Bunkbeds with Mattresses included


*New*

Our suppliers at Dorset Homes have added a range of new products for Mums on a budget at fairforyou.co.uk.

For example, pay weekly, monthly or fortnightly for this bunk bed recently added by our suppliers, which includes 2 mattresses as well as free delivery all for £399.99!

It has a solid metal construction and is designed with your little ones in mind. For example, the bed frame features barred top rails to prevent your child from rolling off and the ladder is flush with the side of the frame to avoid painful trips and falls.

One of the key advantages to buying this bunk is its clip-in design. The bunk clips together so it can be assembled quickly, easily and without fuss. The base of each bunk is also made up of strong metal rods that can support your child’s mattress with ease.

 It’s Quick & Easy to Apply & You’ll Hear from us Within a Day. We’re the UK’s No.1 Trusted Flexible Credit Provider, Rated “Excellent” 5/5* (2460+reviews)

Fair for You Has Been Leading the Fight for Better Credit Reporting for the Past 2 Years


‘Millions could face financial disaster due to hidden credit files errors‘ says The Independent.

As responsible lenders are not allowed to tell anyone if we see defaults or where we see that there is misreported credit. Even though it influences whether we agree the loan or decline it.

We believe that every time you apply for credit, whether you are accepted or declined – that you should be told a summary of what information that decision was based on.

We think that information is important, and if we could provide a summary to our customers, they would be able to sort it out.

At Fair for You, we manually review a lot of credit files because of concerns around misreporting.

Other lenders make automated decisions and so for them it’s even more critical that this information is correct.

The issue of misreporting makes it harder for the people who most need credit to find affordable credit when faced with an emergency such as a broken washing machine. This situation alone means more people face a poverty premium.


 

A Bed for Every Child with Fair for You


Some of the best feedback we get is from mums who have bought their child a bed using an affordable loan from Fair for You.

It’s lovely to hear some of the benefits from our customers:

That their little boy or girl feels all grown up, and proud of their room and bed, so it’s easier to get them to bed at night.

It means they want to invite friends round after school, and have been tidying away their things to keep their bedroom nice.

We’ve had mums tell us that their child can finally sleep in a comfortable bed, so their school attendance improves as it’s no longer hard work to get them up in the morning.

Which is why we’re told that being able to pay in weekly instalments for a children’s bed is so important.

One customer have to have mattresses replaced for the health of her children, who were getting chest infections from the mattress they couldn’t get replaced:
“I was even recommended steroids” says Mercy, “that’s when I decided I need a new bunk bed and mattresses. I didn’t have any money to buy a new bunk bed, then I came across Fair for You. The bunk bed arrived within a few days and my children sleep better, I am at peace knowing there is no mould affecting them and my son’s health has improved tremendously.”
There is a lot of evidence that there are almost 500,000 children who don’t have a bed to sleep in, and there are many more that don’t have a decent bed of their own. It affects how well they sleep, their behaviour, their education, their physical health and their social skills. Affordable children’s beds on weekly payment are a big part of why we set up Fair for You, and we are pleased they are one of our biggest selling lines.

Fair for You March 2018 Update

Happy Easter!

Save £25 on Sofas throughout April

Dorset Home Stores are taking £25 off selected sofas for April Only.

Go shopping for £25 Off Sofas by clicking here

Or log into the Good Payers Club to view the extended range

 


 

Whirlpool products price rise

Whirlpool have advised that they are increasing their prices on prices in their store to match High Street Prices from Monday 1st April.

If you need anything from us for your kitchen please submit your application before Monday to make sure you get the best deal from us!

Shop Now by Clicking Here

 


 

Send Fair for You to a friend and get up to £10!

We are so grateful for everyone who is recommending us to their friends, and we love that you are pleased with our service and spread the word.
We dont have a huge marketing budget like some other companies so we rely on news of the brilliant service we provide being spread by you, our customers.

As a result we have streamlined the process to make it easier than ever to tell your friends about us, and get rewarded for doing so! In your customer dashboard you can now send your friends your own personalised referral link through most media channels. Any customer you refer using this link will get £5 paid off their first loan, and to say thank you we will also take £5 off your loan (increasing to £10 per referral for Good Payers Club members)

Remember, to log in use your Customer Number or Email Address as your username and your National Insurance Number as your password (with letters in capitals).

 


Easter Opening Hours


 

Fighting for Fairness in Credit


Gender equality seems as far away in 2018 as it felt to the chain makers and suffragettes who fought for rights for women over 100 years ago, stuck in low pay that impacted the welbeing of their whole household.

In modern Britain, just as then, we largely entrust the care of our children, our weak, our sick, our elderly and our vulnerable to the women in our communities. This limits their earning potential, with decent part time jobs that work around the household being rarer than hens teeth. Especially ones that are not minimum wage, or flexible hour contracts. So they are poorer for the lives they have to live.

What is unfair is that at every turn they are then penalised and punished for being poor – it’s called the poverty premium.

Take Michelle’s story……

“Getting our first council home we literally had nothing. 

We had a rented flat, but everything belonged to the landlord. The flat was covered in mould and our 9 month old son needed emergency open heart surgery after being born with a large vsd (hole in the heart). We had to move, he was always getting poorly from the mold and Great Osmond Street told the council if they didn’t move us our little boy Thomas would die.

We turned to Bright house for help. We had no savings to kit out a whole kitchen. Our little boy had the surgery he needed, but at home I was struggling with the washing machine, which was a pre-owned item. It didn’t smell right, kept breaking down!

So I had to carry all the laundry to the launderette. Not only was I paying for a broken washing machine, I was spending more money to wash the clothes at the launderette every week.

We waited for months for them to finally swap it, but it was for just another pre-owned … All in all I’ve spent £1000 on a washing machine that I’ve hardly even used.

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse I finally paid up for it and 2 weeks later it breaks down.

 Never have I felt so let down and stupid.”

In millions of households across the UK, high cost credit is a major part of the poverty premium.  I don’t know who came up with term of Just About Managing, in my experience, there are few JAMs and more NORMALs – Not Really Managing At All!

Money is extracted from these households by high cost lenders, that see the vulnerable urgently needing a washing machine or fridge freezer as an opportunity to sell high cost or poorly structured credit. This solves the emergency, but sees a disproportionate amount paid to the credit company. These companies operate in many forms of high cost credit, including doorstep lending, payday lending, sub-prime credit cards, mail order, short term credit and rent to own.

In our social impact reporting we found that customers saw the health and welbeing of the entire household improved by being able to access well designed, structured, supportive, visible and affordable credit when they needed it.

“I can’t think of anything bad to say, I think this company is amazing. I applied for a cooker on Wednesday and it was delivered on Friday. From start to finish took two days, they kept me informed at all times via email & text payments & prices are also very good. And I also think it’s very good that you can choose your own time to pay back and you choose what day is best for you.” –Kelly, Trust Pilot review Feb 2018

This week we are shortlisted for another award, Entrepreneur of the Year, at the Women in Credit Awards. I am an accidental entrepreneur – I didn’t intend to set up a new, innovative lending business to take on the global giants that lead the high cost credit sector in the UK.

But here at Fair for You we are all passionate about more fairness for the millions of homemakers in the UK that have to work long hours for low pay, and have to juggle food and grocery costs to pay for essential items that every home needs.

The poverty premium is simply the result of the greed of those businesses to take a higher fee from those who most need credit to purchase essential items. It’s not equal, it’s not fair, and now that we have built Fair for You – it’s not necessary.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Follow our story at www.fairforyou.co.uk/blog


 

Carpetright – now live for GPC Members


Carpetright loans are now live for Good Payers Club members! You can now pay weekly for carpets using the prepaid card we send you through the post.

Click here to apply for your loan

Remember, to log in use your customer number or email address as your username and your national insurance number as your password (with letters in capitals)

(Just to Note, customers are invited into the Good Payers Club after 6 months of good payments towards the loan.)


 

FCA Review of High Cost Credit & Rent to Own Sector


The FCA have just published an update on progress in their review of high-cost credit, indicating the further work they are doing and the timelines for this, as well as a separate update on their work on the rent-to-own sector.

Angela Clements, CEO of Fair for You, says in response:

“We welcome this report and the growing understanding that the FCA is developing in the damage done to lower income family households and communities by high cost credit. Our customers tell us that the health and well being of their whole family is improved when able to escape high cost credit and use affordable credit that is better designed for their needs, when the washing machine or fridge freezer breaks.”

Customers like Danielle, Community Support Worker & Carer for her eldest son, who says that with her 3 children under 7 she never sees the end of her washing, so when her washing machine broke she didn’t have the time or resources to get another.

“There’s no way I could lug my three children to a laundrette to do all this washing and sit there – it just would not be physically feasible to do that.”

She had tried buying second hand in the past but found that in the long run she was spending more, “you tend to find that the appliances don’t last as long as they would if they were new…you have a lot going wrong with them in a short space of time.”

But when she tried to pay in instalments from rent to own stores and using her auntie’s catalogue, her experience was ‘pretty shocking’:

“I did use Brighthouse for my old tumble dryer and I found that the repayment rate was very high, customer service pretty much nil, and if it broke you have to wait 3-4 weeks before they would sort anything out. In the end they then wanted money off me even though it was unusable, even though I was paying for the insurance and everything. I was paying for something that couldn’t be used and had people ringing up threatening that they were going to come round to my house and remove goods.”

It’s like legal loan sharks – the interest they charge is so extortionate. For my tumble dryer, if I wanted to buy it outright, it was £400 quid. Through Brighthouse it was £1200 with the insurance. It’s an extortionate rate and the thing is they will forever get away with it because people will use it.”

Danielle is on facebook groups that help deal with people’s debts and rent to own companies like Brighthouse and Buy as you View. She says that other member who have been in similar situations know that they are getting a bad deal, but that there was no alternative for them.

Since being with Fair for You, Danielle has bought a washing machine, tumble dryer, fridge freezer and, once she was a member of the Good Payers Club, a laptop. Fair for You has helped her family, and she says it’s had a positive impact on her children’s well-being because she has everything they need, “they don’t have to worry about it”.

When her washing machine broke down she was able to get another one within 3 days of submitting her application online.

“I find that for one, the Fair for You interest rates are lower. It’s easier to afford – you’re not asking for high sums of money per week. When I took out my loan I was offered several ways to repay the loan each week. That was good because I could set a budget that I could actually keep to. Having a new alternative puts you more at ease, knowing you don’t have to go to these high street stores paying a stupid amount of money.”

Neil Marshall, Senior Manager of the High-cost Credit Review Team at Financial Conduct Authority has said the following:

“We remain of the view that fundamental reform of this market may be necessary to protect consumers.

We continue to develop our understanding of the causes of harm to consumers in the markets for rent-to-own, home-collected credit and catalogue credit products. Today’s update sets out some specific issues of concern in these markets that we are focusing on. We recognise not only that some of this credit can have social utility, but also that there are limits to what can be achieved through traditional regulatory interventions alone.

We, therefore, set out a number of initiatives that we are taking forward to increase the awareness and availability of alternatives to high-cost credit, including where we are working with government and other bodies.”


You can find more information in their press release.

The update on high-cost credit is here and the update on rent-to-own work is here.


 

January Update with Fair for You


 New Year, and lots of new arrivals for Fair for You customers.

We are building the online high street with more of the brands and products you have been asking for in the Good Payers Club: Carpetright added later this month and in February we have a travel agent arriving.

There is more to come, and you have my assurance that we will keep trying to add more stores and more products  – though we are determined to keep the free delivery, and the service and quality of products high.

We are also working on improving the loan application process for customers coming back to us, and the dashboard to allow you to manage your loans and payments more easily.

You know that its all about our customers for us, so keep telling us what you want, and we will keep adding more every month.

& Thank-you very much for making us Consumer Credit Champion and the most Trusted personal loans provider in 2017.

Kindest regards,

Angela

CEO

 

 


Win £1000 towards a Hoseasons Holiday

We are so grateful for everyone who is recommending us to their friends, and we love that you are pleased with our service and spread the word.

We dont have a huge marketing budget like some other companies so we rely on news of the brilliant service we provide being spread by you, our customers.

This year, the lovely people at Dogfriendly have promised up to £1000 towards a holiday with Hoseasons for one of our lucky customers who refers a friend between now and the 29th of June. Oh and dont worry, dogs are optional!

Dogfriendly is an online database full of all the information you need to know if you want to spend some quality time with your dog as part of the family, including dogfriendy hotels, pubs, beaches, camping and more! You can search for places to stay, play and visit in all parts of the UK.

Terms & Conditions apply: https://www.fairforyou.co.uk/refer-a-friend/

 

 


New Year, New Carpet?

We know we have been updating everyone on Carpetright for the last few months, but we are so pleased to let you know that we are in the final stages of testing and are looking tostart taking orders on the 31st January!

The addition of Carpetright marks the start of our improvements to your Online High Street, and there will be many more big names to come throughout the year…

To order through Carpetright with a pre-paid card and loan from us you will:

  1. Choose a carpet on the Carpetright website and apply for an amount of money to load onto the card
  2. We will review the application and make a decision. This may include offering a “Maximum Limit”.
  3. Arrange for a free fitting visit direct with Carpetright, and provide us with a copy of the quote.
  4. We will load your card with either the cost shown on the quote or the “Maximum Limit” offered

 


Holidays Coming Soon to Good Payers Club

You asked, and again we listened!

The next addition to your Online High Street will be Holidays – currently planned to include Hoseasons and Butlins.

We know that time away with the family is so important, so we are excited to share that we are making this possible with the great service you expect from Fair for You.


Huge Range of Sofas Added

Sofas have always been the top of our list to add with so many requests from customers.

With thanks to Dorset Home Stores, they have managed to source a huge range of new sofas with a full delivery service included in the price!

Some of the new sofas are only available to customers who are members of our Good Payers Club and can be found by clicking on “Shop Good Payers Club” on your online dashboard.

The range available to all customers can be found on our website or by clicking here.


 

Applying for Another Loan?

Just a Reminder!

As a responsible lender, we have to check affordability of every application independently. Thats why if you are applying for another loan we ask that you are at least 1/3rd repaidon your most recent loan with us and we may ask for further information, including bank statements, if it is a larger loan.

If you have recently been declined an additional loan from us this may be because we are seeing different things on your credit file since your last application. These changes could be wrong so if you feel that your application should be reviewed you can email: loans@fairforyou.co.uk with further information.

 


Mothers Day Giveaway

If you could gift someone with a brand new kitchen item, who would it be?

Fair for You & our suppliers at Whirlpool are giving away a kitchen appliance up to the value of £400 for Mothers Day!

Simply tell us why you want to lighten the load for a mom you know and you’ll be entered into our prize draw to #win a kitchen appliance EACH (yes, that’s one for you AND her)

CLICK HERE to enter

Ends 1st March 2018, prize courtesy of our supplies at Whirlpool