Around 59,000 people will be paid redress worth almost £1,000,000 after a rent-to-own company agreed to refund customers who were treated unfairly.
Buy as You View, a company that offered rent-to-own schemes for furniture and consumer technology, was criticised by regulator the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) for:
- Unfair treatment of customers who were behind on payments.
- Not explaining its fees clearly.
- Using payment meters to cut off customers’ television access when they were behind with payments.
As a result, Buy as You View (registered as Dunraven Finance) has agreed to provide redress to:
- 58,232 customers who were charged unpaid direct debit fees, from as long ago as 2001.
- 1,610 customers who were charged admin fees between £30 and £45 for ‘Fresh Start Refinance’ deals, incurred between November 2012 and March 2014.
- A further 3,877 customers who extended existing credit agreements between 1 April 2014 and August 2015 may receive redress if they were worse off as a result of the extension and this possibility wasn’t made clear to them at the time. Buy as You View will contact each affected customer to assess their individual circumstances.
The FCA also voiced concerns around whether Buy As You View had been lending unaffordable amounts to some customers. In cases where it has done so, affected customers will get redress at a date that is yet to be announced.
Buy as You View has also agreed to change the way it uses payment meters. Customers now get at least two weeks’ notice before access to their televisions is restricted for late payment.
I’m affected, do I need to do anything?
The FCA says affected customers will be contacted directly by Buy as You View and do not need to take any action now.
However, concerned customers can contact the company on 0800 020 9970, or by emailing CET@BAYV.co.uk.
People who are owed redress will either have the compensation discounted from their existing debts, or receive cash.
‘It is important firms meet our standards’
Jonathan Davidson, supervision director at the FCA says, “We are pleased that Buy As You View is working with us to address our concerns.
“It is important that firms meet our standards, including carrying out proper creditworthiness assessment and making sure that those in difficulty are treated fairly. We will continue, when necessary, to take action against inappropriate behaviour.”
Graham Clarke, Chief Executive Officer at Buy As You View, says: “We have worked closely with the FCA in recent months to address these issues and I am sorry to any of our customers who may have experienced difficulties as a result of us not achieving the high standards we set ourselves.