A code of practice to end rip-off TV!
Over the last year, our 'Rip-off TV' campaign has mobilised thousands of people to pressure 'rent-to-own' companies to meet with their customers and become more responsible lenders. Those meetings are now delivering tangible results.
We had a solid meeting with rent-to-own business leaders on Tuesday 12 July. BrightHouse - who are the biggest operator with 38% of the market - were represented by their company secretary. It's only thanks to pressure from our campaigners that they are taking part at all, so this is a great achievement.
We are delighted to announce that we've agreed the outline of an industry code to encourage responsible lending by these companies. The code now has to be ratified by their trade body, the CCTA, which will take about three months. We'll then have a final meeting towards the end of the year - by which time we hope to have other firms in the sector signed up.
We have also agreed to do more work with the lenders on the issue of data sharing within the industry. This is vital because it would enable companies to reduce interest rates, and customers to build a good credit history so they can access mainstream financial services. We need to get the credit reference agencies at the table to achieve this, so the work will continue...
This is a major victory for Thrive, Church Action on Poverty, and all of our supporters. At the meetings, leaders from Thrive kept the tension high and kept reminding everyone else what it is like to be at the sharp end of high-interest lending. We'd like to thank all of our supporters once again for standing alongside these people and making sure that their concerns are heard by lenders.