From the current edition of the Big Issue in the North magazine
Asda is to investigate why its gift vouchers are being offered as an inducement to take out unsecured doorstep loans after The Big Issue in the North highlighted the practice in Halifax.
Rotherham-based KDS Finance advertised vouchers from the supermarket giant and Love2shop when it handed out leaflets door to door and canvassed residents in parts of the West Yorkshire town earlier this month. The leaflet also carried the logos of many major shopping chains, although there was no reference as to why.
The company representative offered £100 worth of vouchers and said: “Once you have got a payment record then you can get more cash or vouchers.”
KDS offer loans of up to £500 on its website, with payment of £45 a week for 16 weeks.
The annual percentage rate of interest averages 963.9 per cent.
A company sales collector collects weekly repayments at people’s homes.
KDS is currently advertising for collectors in nine towns and cities across Yorkshire.
With the economy showing few signs of recovery the number of door-to-door loan companies is increasing. Such companies have attracted bad press.
Last year the BBC Panorama programme revealed the trade’s tactics, which result in many customers never clearing their debts.
Disturbingly there were also mentally ill customers who were sold loans in apparent breach of industry guidelines
One doorstep lender told an undercover BBC reporter: “You don’t ever want people to pay up.”
Love2shop is owned by the Merseyside-based Park Group. The company was relaxed about its link with doorstep lending.
A Park Group spokesperson said: “KDS is not actually a direct customer. We supply our vouchers to the Consumer Credit Association and they are traded by over 6,000 businesses.”
Asda was much less keen on its vouchers being used in this way. A spokesperson said: “This is absolutely unacceptable and not a practice that Asda supports. We’re investigating with our gift card supplier as a priority.”