On January 6 2016, former payday lender Ariste Holding Limited (which traded as Cash Genie) updated customers on its redress programme, saying that it had now attempted to contact all affected customers. Anyone who believes they are due a compensation payment but who has not been contacted is urged to contact the firm immediately.
In August 2015, it was announced that Cash Genie was to pay £20.3 million in redress – £10.3 million of write offs and £10 million in cash payments – to some 92,000 customers. The firm voluntarily notified the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regarding issues with the firm’s fee charging practices and its stance on rolling over loans.
It is understood that the firm has been unable to contact some 12,000 customers, who are collectively owed around £1.5 million.
The issues that are the subject of this redress date right back to when the company started trading in September 2009, and in some cases the practices continued until early 2014.
Cash Genie’s unfair practices included:
• Charging customers £50 to have their debts transferred to another firm, even though this other firm was a sister firm and no costs were incurred by making the transfer
• Rolling over and re-financing loans without customers’ consent, and without conducting the necessary affordability checks
• Using banking details supplied when customers applied via the websites of other Ariste brands to collect sums owed on Cash Genie loans, without the customer’s consent
• Applying additional fees for customers who had not repaid after 12 months, even though the required annual statement had not been provided
Cash Genie is taking the following steps to compensate affected customers:
• Writing off fees and charges incorrectly applied, or taken without authorisation
• Writing off or refunding rollover interest if the action to roll over the loan was inappropriate
• Where refund payments were taken without authorisation, writing off the entire loan
• Writing off interest and fees charged after the point at which the annual statement should have been provided
The firm has not offered new loans since September 2014.
Since the FCA action, the firm has entered into voluntary liquidation, and is now being administered by liquidator RSM Restructuring Advisory LLP. However, the payment of compensation is unaffected, and customers with Cash Genie loans should continue to make repayments as normal, and should contact the firm if they are experiencing repayment difficulties.
The sister firm Twyford Developments Limited has also been liquidated.
Steven Law, a partner at RSM, said:
“In this case Cash Genie has voluntarily entered into a solvent liquidation, meaning there is enough capital left in the business to redress all affected customers. We have been working closely with Cash Genie and its sister company, and are keen to find and pay those remaining customers.”
Money Advice Trust chief executive Joanna Elson OBE, said:
“Few will mourn the liquidation of this rogue payday lender, which the FCA rightly took action against in July after uncovering deeply unfair treatment of customers in financial difficulty.
“It is crucial that anyone who has taken a loan from Cash Genie claim the compensation they may be due. I would strongly encourage former customers to contact the phone line that has been set up as soon as possible.”
The information shown in this article was correct at the time of publication. Articles are not routinely reviewed and as such are not updated. Please be aware the facts, circumstances or legal position may change after publication of the article.