Yesterday around midday, as the team were working away at our small Birmingham offices, Hollywood Actor Michael Sheen stepped in with cameras and reporters to find out more about our alternative to high cost credit.
As you may have heard, Sheen has recently launched the ‘End High Cost Credit Alliance’ in order to challenge the high cost lenders and rent-to-owns that are taking advantage of lower income households.
Our Head of Lending Alex Neville showed him how our lending is done, before he settled down with our customers for a real chat about their experiences with high cost lending in the UK.
“Brighthouse are Bullies”, said Claire. She found Fair for You when Googling “Pay Weekly Beds” – she’d never heard of us and didn’t think she’d be approved due to her lower credit rating, but she didn’t want to go back to Brighthouse. “They’re like loan sharks”.
Claire was pleasantly surprised with Fair for You, and has had a few things since being with us. “It’s nice having something to rely on” she says, when needing a household item on finance.
Another customer talked about what it felt like being bullied when a payment was missed, and you have children in the house that you feel you have to defend. He felt disrespected and threatened by companies, particularly Brighthouse, sending men to come banging on the door demanding missed payment. “We have 3 children at home, and they aren’t polite about it”, says Richard.
When life events mean he needed to miss a payment “Fair for You will work with you” he says. Fair for You allow him to overpay so that he can reduce his interest or even miss a payment later when he needs to. There’s lots of flexibility there, which is “quite refreshing in this industry”.
“I want to protect the relationship [with Fair for You]”, he says, “they’re doing something very, very right”.
Michael Sheen then asks Fair for You CEO & Founder Angela Clements how our not for profit lending company can be flexible with high risk customers, when so many other lenders don’t seem capable of it.
“Modern lending technology allows you to be flexible”, she says. “It’s a choice – a culture choice.”
Over 25% of Fair for You customers choose to over pay. Partly because it reduces interest, or it allows them to miss a payment when they need to – but the reality is our customers budget incredibly well.
During the discussion, Michael challenged the stigma surrounding those who need to borrow in order to obtain household items, “you should get a fair deal when you need it. You shouldn’t be punished for not being able to have it all in one go”.
“They haven’t lived the kind of life that we’ve lived” says Emma in response, another Fair for You customer.
“All we’re after is basic household appliances […] we’re not after brand new sports cars!” Richard adds.
Our customers are always reporting having had bad past experience with credit, but as Richard says below, “When you need the item, you have to go and get it”. He’s felt angry about being abused by other companies…the high pressured sales, the high interest loans and them coming to the door step after putting him into that position with inflexible terms.
But Fair for You are different, says Michael Sheen.
“The business model you’re describing is not based on trying to help people” he says, “the more trouble you get in, the better it is for them. That can’t have at the heart of it that it’s trying to help you”.
Fair for You is a consumer-led, charity-owned, not-for-profit Community Interest Company. Michael has been following Fair for You for a while now, “I know that they genuinely have at the heart of what they want to do is to help people”.
There are different business models out there, and people need to be aware of that.”
So what’s so different about Fair for You? Our customer Emma says it best, so we’ll end with her:
“I can’t stress enough they are such a brilliant company. They are friendly on the phone…they’re very helpful, it’s just like going to family to borrow some money”.
Fair for You is the UK’s No.1 Trusted Flexible Credit Provider
We’re a not for profit alternative to high cost credit, offering flexible, affordable and ethical loans for household items through our online high-street. Customers choose an item & the credit to match their circumstances, which can be weekly, fortnightly, monthly or fortnightly, from 3 to 18 months.
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