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Wonga, the biggest payday lenderlender: Kreditgeber in the UK must pay £2.6m in compensationcompensation: Schadensersatz after sending letters from fake law firms to customers in arrearsarrear: Rückstand. The letters threatened legal action, but the law firms were non-existent. In some cases Wonga charged fees to customers' accounts for these letters.
The City watchdog and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), said 45,000 customers would be compensated. An investigation found that Wonga sent letters to customers from fake law firms called "Chainey, D'Amato & Shannon" and "Barker and Lowe Legal Recoveries". The plan was to convince customers in arrears that their outstandingoutstanding: offenstehend debtdebt: Schulden had been passed to a law firm, with legal action upcoming if the debt was not paid.
Clive Adamson, director of supervision at the FCA said, "Wonga's misconductmisconduct: Fehlverhalten was very serious because it had the effect of exacerbatingto exacerbate: verschärfen, verschlimmern an already difficult situation for customers in arrears."
The regrettable situation happened between October 2008 and November 2010, and involved Wonga and a few other companies within its group. Because this occurred before the FCA took over the regulation of payday lenders, it is unable to fine Wonga. It also said there would be no criminal investigation because they want to set up a compensation plan for the affected customers as quickly as possible and a criminal probeprobe: Untersuchung would delay that.
Instead, Wonga will start contacting customers in July to offer compensation, which will either be paid in cash or the customers will have their outstanding debt reduced.
"We would like to apologize unreservedlyunreservedly: uneingeschränkt to anyone affected by the historical debt collection activity and for any distressdistress: Not, Sorgen caused as a result," said Tim Weller, interim chief executive of Wonga.
"The practice was unacceptable and we voluntarily ceasedto cease: beenden, einstellen it nearly four years ago."
1. Is it legal to threaten customers with legal action? (No)
2. Will Wonga and other guilty companies be fined for their scheme? (No)
3. Will the customers affected be compensated for the mistake? (Yes)