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South Auckland loan agency using 'rough' methods

Monday 09 Dec 2013 12:41p.m.

Loan agency using 'rough' methods

An unregistered south Auckland finance company is charging up to 450 percent interest on loans to those who want to borrow money short-term, and threatens to "get dirty" if you don't pay.

A 3 News investigation has revealed the Twenty Fifty Club (TFC) is operating openly without fear of law enforcement, despite a Government crackdown.

During a meeting with a TFC loan issuer, an undercover 3 News reporter was told if payments can't be met "it gets rough".

"If you don't pay that money, we charge another $50 collection fee and send our boys out to get that money […] it gets dirty."

Asking for an extension would be "very dangerous", the loan issuer warned.

"I don't know what they do, we've got rough boys out there."

So how do the company's loans work?

"Every time you borrow money, if it's $100, we charge you $50, if it's $200, it's $300. It's half the amount of money that you are borrowing," the loan issuer told our reporter. 

In addition, TFC charges 100 percent interest for every week the loan is left unpaid - labelling the charge as a marketing fee.

"The marketing one is because you're borrowing our money, we charge you for that. That's a marketing fee."

TFC denied this fee was interest.

Company owner Gavin Marsich says he's only trying to help his community, even at up to 450 percent interest.

"It's only because they're not paying, they're running from the debt. It only charges out for four weeks and that is to give them an opportunity to recover."

The company has no qualms about showing you other people's private documents to get their point across. 3 News was shown dozens of completed loan application documents during the undercover visit with TFC.

Politicians are looking at a new law to deal with the issue, but the Government says it isn't illegal for companies to charge exorbitant interest rates on loans. The Commerce Commission today confirmed it will assess complaints against the Auckland finance company.

"There are legal requirements about what has to be disclosed. I understand from what I've seen about this particular incident - I've asked officials to look at that - it seems as though not everything is being disclosed as it should," says Consumer Affairs Minister Craig Foss.

In the meantime, it seems threats of violence will continue to be levelled at those who already can't afford to pay the bills.

3 News

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