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Consumer agency warns of shady instant loan firms

The agency says that those facing debt collection efforts by the companies should take an active role to ensure they are being treated fairly.

Kolikoita lompakossa
Image: YLE Keski-Suomi

The Finnish Consumer Agency on Friday issued a warning about four instant-credit companies regarding irregular practices including expensive SMS messages.

It says the firms have set illegal contract terms and used costly text messages to get money out of customers.

The firms in question are Aeris, Tromvelt, M Aurora and EC Finland. The lenders are funded by an umbrella company called GP Perintätoimisto, which has also operated under the name Arply.

According to the consumer agency, GP Perintätoimisto has taken legal action in pursuit of debtors on behalf of the firms. In many cases, the Consumer Agency reports they have used summary proceedings, which are automatically ruled in favour of the creditor if the debtor does not show they are without cause.

In June, the deputy state prosecutor asked police to investigate the lenders. They are suspected of fraud and marketing violations.

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A family in the western coastal city of Pori lost their newborn child recently in a tragic series of events widely reported in the Finnish press. The family also incurred over 50,000 euros in debts during the ordeal. Moved by their plight, several private parties posted bank account numbers on various online forums in an effort to start a collection for the grieving family. Unfortunately, a local newspaper has revealed that at least one of the accounts has proven to be a clear incidence of scamming.

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