A WARNING has been sounded to Wigan residents to avoid payday lenders and loan sharks over the remaining festive season and into the new year.
As part of Wigan Council’s campaign urging people to get help if they are struggling with debt, people are being encouraged to get help managing their money and to borrow safely and sensibly.
Loan sharks or doorstep lenders offer to help people who are short of cash but they are unlicensed and are lending money illegally.
They can trap people into a spiral of debt with extortionate interest rates.
Payday lenders can charge APR of over 1,000 per cent meaning, for example, for every £100 borrowed from a payday loan company they’d charge around £25 interest.
And in the wake of Christmas indulgence when some family budgets are stretched way beyond their means, there is a greater risk of people succumbing to short-term but finacially very dangerous temptations offered by the loan sharks.
The message today was that if residents are worried about their money it’s never too late to visit Wigan and Leigh Citizens Advice Bureau to get free advice.
And if folk are struggling with debt and are unable to make monthly repayments, it is important to think about which debts you need to deal with first.
There can be serious consequences to not paying your bills.
Coun Terry Halliwell, the local authority’s cabinet member for customer transformation, said: “Loan sharks often prey on the most vulnerable members of our community and it usually leads to them getting into even greater debt and financial difficulties than before.
“If you do get in trouble either before or after Christmas, whether it’s with debts or loans, we know how hard it can be.
“We’d urge residents to get in touch and get some advice so we can help resolve some of the issues.”
Anyone in need advice, support or someone to talk to, is urged to visit www.wiganadvicenetwork.org or contact CAB on 0344 826 9694.
For more help for borough residents to manage their money visit www.wigan.gov.uk/moneyadvice.
Residents are also regularly advised to bypass doorstep lenders by consulting local credit unions which often offer easier terms than even the banks.