Bright­House told to pay up mil­lions in com­pen­sa­tion

Caernarfon Herald - - LONDON BEAT - Kelly Wil­liams

HUN­DREDS OF thou­sands of Bright­House cus­tomers could be owed com­pen­sa­tion after the fi­nan­cial watch­dog found that it did not act as a “re­spon­si­ble lender”.

The rent-to-own firm, which has stores in Ban­gor, Rhyl, Col­wyn Bay and Wrex­ham, has agreed to to pay out £14.8m in re­dress to 249,000 cus­tomers as a re­sult.

Com­pen­sa­tion is linked to 384,000 cus­tomer lend­ing agree­ments which “may not have been af­ford­able” and pay­ments “which should have been re­funded”, the Fi­nan­cial Con­duct Author­ity (FCA) said.

Bright­House, which pro­vides house­hold goods to cus­tomers on hire pur­chase agree­ments, has been work­ing with the FCA since 2014 after the watch­dog iden­ti­fied the firm’s lend­ing as­sess­ment and col­lec­tions pro­cesses fell short of its ex­pec­ta­tions.

The FCA said that group “did not al­ways de­liver good out­comes for cus­tomers, par­tic­u­larly those who were at a higher risk of fall­ing into fi­nan­cial dif­fi­culty”.

Bright­House has “iden­ti­fied cus­tomers that may have been treated un­fairly” and has com­mit­ted to “putting things right” for those cus­tomers.

Where it is de­ter­mined that cus­tomers were not as­sessed prop­erly at the out­set of the loan and may have had dif­fi­culty mak­ing pay­ments, and pro­vided they handed back the goods, Bright­House will pay back the in­ter­est and fees charged un­der the agree­ment, plus com­pen­satory in­ter­est of 8%.

Cus­tomers who re­tained the goods will have their bal­ances writ­ten off.

This part of the re­dress to­tals around £10.1m for 114,000 agree­ments en­tered into be­tween April 1, 2014, and Septem­ber 30, 2016, cov­er­ing 81,000 cus­tomers.

Those cus­tomers who made the first pay­ment due un­der an agree­ment with the firm which was can­celled prior to the de­liv­ery of the goods will be re­funded by Bright­House, plus com­pen­satory in­ter­est of 8%.

This re­dress to­tals around £4.7 mil­lion for 270,000 agree­ments en­tered into after April 1, 2010, cov­er­ing 181,000 cus­tomers.

Bright­House will write to all af­fected cus­tomers, some of whom are af­fected by both sets of cir­cum­stances, to ex­plain the re­fund or bal­ance ad­just­ment they will re­ceive.

The FCA said Bright­House has worked to im­prove its lend­ing ap­pli­ca­tion as­sess­ment to en­sure loans are af­ford­able and cus­tomers are treated fairly.

Jonathan Davidson, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of su­per­vi­sion at the FCA, said: “Dur­ing the time in ques­tion, Bright­House was not a re­spon­si­ble lender and failed to meet our ex­pec­ta­tions of firms in this sec­tor.

“I am pleased that it has agreed to pro­vide re­dress to those cus­tomers af­fected by th­ese his­toric prac­tices.

“This scheme con­tin­ues our work with the rent-to-own sec­tor to re­solve the con­cerns we have pre­vi­ously iden­ti­fied. Re­spon­si­ble lend­ing and the fair treat­ment of con­sumers, es­pe­cially those in fi­nan­cial dif­fi­cul­ties or who are vul­ner­a­ble, are key pri­or­i­ties for us.”

● Bright­House has sev­eral stores across North Wales

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.