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Consumer CreditThe Consumer Credit Act 1974 requires most businesses that offer goods or services on credit or lend money to consumers to be licensed by the Office of Fair Trading. Trading without a licence is a criminal offence and can result in a fine and/or imprisonment.
The Act also requires certain credit and hire agreements to be set out in a particular way and to contain certain information.
If your consumer credit business deals with first charge mortgages, payment protection insurance or other types of insurance, then you may need permission from the Financial Services Authority to sell or administer regulated mortgage contracts and general insurance contracts. You risk a fine or imprisonment if you carry on mortgage or general insurance business without permission or arranging to become exempt. See the Financial Services Authority website.
The Consumer Credit (Advertisements) Regulations 2004 place controls on advertising credit or hire facilities so that consumers are given fair and sufficient information about the nature of credit and its cost. They are then able to compare different products and choose the ones that are best for them.
The regulations apply to advertising in any form: whether it's in print, on radio, TV, the internet, films or video, in catalogues, at point-of-sale displays, or on show cards or price lists. A circular letter can be classed as an advertisement even though it is addressed to the recipient. An approach by a salesperson may also be classed as an advertisement, whether it be over the phone or in person. The rules cover an advertisement's content - the information an advertisement must contain - and its form - how that information is presented.
Further information can be found at the Office of Fair Trading website.
Alternatively you can call or visit our office and speak to one of our officers.
For more information visit the Trading Standards Service website.
Back to the Trading Standards home page.
- Trading Standards Service
Business Hub 16
Level 3 West
Phone: 01224 523737
Fax: 01224 645786