Rent-to-own retailer BrightHouse has agreed to pay £14.8m to 249,000 customers after working with the UK’s financial regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).BrightHouse will compensate customers who had cancelled agreements after one downpayment but had not been refunded.It will also make payments to those who signed up to lending agreements that “may not have been affordable”. The FCA said BrightHouse had not acted as a “responsible lender”.BrightHouse, which allows customers to pay for household items such as washing machines and televisions on a weekly basis, has apologised to customers. There is no need for customers affected to contact BrightHouse. By the end of the year personal letters will be sent to 213,000 past and current customers, explaining what they are due.BrightHouse chief executive Hamish Paton said: “We sincerely apologise to those customers who were affected. Our top priority is to ensure that they are reimbursed as soon as possible. “We’re absolutely determined that this doesn’t happen again and have made significant improvements over the last 18 months. The FCA recognised this when they confirmed in April that they are minded to authorise our business, subject to specific conditions.”The company said it had been working with the FCA since late 2014 after it acknowledged its assessments of customers’ ability to pay and its collections processes did not always deliver good outcomes for customers, particularly those who were at a higher risk of falling into financial difficulty.BrightHouse said it had overhauled its lending application assessment to make sure that future loans were affordable and that customers were treated fairly throughout the collections process.
Source: BBC News