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14 November 2012

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Avoid ‘cash for gold’ firms cashing in on Christmas crisis

'At interest rates at times in excess of 200% it is nothing short of loan sharking.'

PEOPLE under pressure for money for Christmas have been urged by Sinn Féin Enterprise Committee member Maeve McLaughlin MLA to try and avoid ‘Pay Day Loan’ or ‘Cash for Gold’ firms.

These lenders are obviously targeting families on low incomes or benefits. Maeve McLaughlin says:

“At interest rates at times in excess of 200% it is nothing short of loan sharking.”

But because the Assembly does not have fiscal powers – which Sinn Féin are trying to wrest from Westminster – there is little that MLAs can do, she said, except warn the public and urge them to join their credit unions or contact their local budgeting advice support service.

In the meantime, the Foyle MLA has urged the Consumer Council to look into the issue of exorbitant interest rates with a view to lobbying the Financial Services Authority to impose a cap on rates.

If people feel they have no option but to go to these lenders, then they should read the small print to have a clear idea of exactly how much they will have to pay back and the penalties if they do not pay back on time.

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