When I was in the UK, I saw a bunch of ads for loan companies.
The sort of loan companies you go to when you’re desperate.
The sort of loan companies called ‘pay day sharks’.
You know, the ones who can give you a small bridging loan between pay-days but charge you massive interest for the privilege.
Like 200, 300 and even 400%.
Yes, TWO HUNDRED, THREE HUNDRED AND FOUR HUNDRED PERCENT.
The fact these companies exist highlights how tough life is for many in England … but there was one company who, on first impression, seemed to want to separate themselves from scumsuckers like Wonga.
They made a massive deal saying they only loan to ‘level headed individuals’.
They spend time making sure you need the money.
That you can afford to repay the money.
That you talk to someone you trust about it.
Then, at the end of the ad, they reveal their interest rate …
Yes, you are reading that correctly … they are charging ONE THOUSAND, TWO HUNDRED AND SEVENTY TWO PERCENT INTEREST.
Borrow £500 and you could see yourself having to pay back $6360.
Borrow £5000 and you could see yourself having to pay back £63,600.
SIXTY THREE GRAND.
You could buy a house for that.
It’s utterly disgraceful and the fact this is allowed makes me sick.
But of course, allowing these companies to exist means the government can turn a blind eye to the poverty they are helping encourage, especially in certain deprived areas. They can brush their hands of the situation they’ve created and let someone else deal with it. Someone who is going to profit from others despair. Someone who will be hailed as an example of ‘free enterprise’.
But the fact is, there are tens of thousands of people who rely on these loans to survive. Tens of thousands of people who are ensuring their life – and the ones of their children – will forever be kept in an endless cycle of debt which may have a major impact on things like education and work, let alone drug and crime rates.
Sure, the papers are filled with stories of people exploiting government handouts but apart from the fact there are far more people who aren’t … the reality is that I have a degree of sympathy with the exploiters given the way the government structure their benefits is to give you just enough cash to keep you in poverty rather than help you out of it.
I’m not saying that was their intention, but that is definitely the result for many – especially when the place they live is bereft of investment – so even if you managed to find a way to get out of your situation, you’d have no where to go.
The fact these companies are allowed to operate as legitimate businesses is a disgrace.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying there shouldn’t be companies you can turn to when you have a short-term shortfall.
Hell, I’ve used them in the past and they were very useful and helpful. But to allow them to charge over 1000% interest is criminal which is why these companies should be called for what they are, pedlars of human misery … even if they like to pretend they attract a more ‘level-headed’ type of customer.
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