George Lea, 76, and his wife Linda, 71, used loans from Provident to help pay for everything from grocery shopping to buying Christmas and birthday gifts, but after they were sold poorly , loans were offered a pathetic amount of compensation.
Image: Andrew Teebay (Liverpool Echo)
A desperate grandfather who fell victim to loan sharks has been offered pathetic compensation after being mis-sold.
George Lea and his wife Linda, from Tuebrook, Liverpool, have taken out a number of loans from Provident to help pay for everything from food to Christmas and birthday presents.
The 76-year-old said the loans were a ‘silver bullet’ at the time, but the sky-high interest rates they came with soon turned into unmanageable debt.
He racked up thousands of pounds in debt with the firm and accused the firm of playing ‘on people’s misery’ by offering him up to £4.50 in compensation for his badly sold loans, the Echo of Liverpool reports.
Provident was part of a company called PFG that previously provided short-term guarantor and home loans.
Andrew Teebay Echo of Liverpool)
They had interest rates as high as 1,557.7% APR, but were hit by mis-selling claims which led to the company being closed for good late last year.
Now the couple are among Provident clients who have been offered compensation for loans that were mis-sold to them. But they were offered a derisory sum of money.
It came after a court ruling in August last year which allowed door-to-door lenders to limit redress payments for mis-sold loans to just 4-6p per £1 due for fees and interest initially charged to someone.
In the case of George and Linda, 71, they were offered up to £4.50 in compensation, a figure George said would not even cover the cost of buying his seven little ones a chocolate bar -children each.
George said: “They played on people’s misery. Even though you just needed to get groceries for that week, that’s how serious it was, we were skinny.
“It was Christmas most of the time or maybe a birthday we couldn’t afford it so we just had a quick fix which helped at the time it did the job but when it went down was to pay it every week and you’re still struggling.”
George said that every week an agent from Provident came to their house to collect the money.
And that each time he asked the couple if he wanted to take out another loan.
He said: “[The agents said] ‘Listen if you can’t afford it, why don’t you get another? Pay that one and you’ll have a few pounds to spend.
“When you’re depressed and you’re destitute, you do things like that, you’re desperate. We always fell for it. If you get a loan, you have to pay it back. It was a desperate time and they knew this.
“If you borrow £200 straight away it goes to £400. It just kept going up and in the end I said ‘we have to put a stop to this’.”
After finally managing to repay all interest owed on the loans and turning down further loans, George said they did not expect to hear back from Provident until they recently received a letter. regarding compensation.
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He said: “They contacted us – they sent us a letter saying you were entitled to compensation and they [had] close.
“We thought ‘we’re going to have a few bobs because we’ve given them a lot of interest and that’s what they offered us: £3 to £4.50.
“It was a shame. I couldn’t even buy a chocolate bar for my grandchildren, I told the guy ‘keep it’.”
George and Linda are in the process of appealing the amount of compensation they have been offered and it is currently being reviewed by an independent arbitrator.
To be eligible for a refund, you must have taken out an unaffordable loan between April 2007 and December 17, 2020 from Provident or its sub-brands Satsuma, Glo and Greenwood.
Provident closed its claims portal in February 2022. This was for customers who believed they had been mis-sold a loan before December 18, 2020.
Individuals who believe they were wrongfully sold for a loan on or after December 18, 2020 can still file a complaint with Provident through their Complaints Helpline or through a complaint form on their website.
Provident has been approached for comment.