Payday loans: Wonga escapes prosecution for sending fake legal letters to its customers

Feb 28, 2015

The shamed company has agreed £2.6m compensation over its debt collection practice – but police say there is not enough evidence to take it to court

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Shamed payday lender Wonga will not face ­prosecution over its fake law company scandal, police said yesterday.

The firm was slammed last year for chasing debtors with ­threatening letters from bogus legal outfits.

But City of London Police, which began looking at the firm’s practices last summer, says it has insufficient evidence to investigate.

The decision comes despite Wonga agreeing to £2.6million compensation for 45,000 customers sent letters from fictitious law firms between 2008 and 2010.

Wonga said its focus was on “putting things right” for customers affected.

But Labour MP Stella Creasy, a leading campaigner against payday lenders, said: “The Financial Conduct Authority seems to have enough evidence to make Wonga pay compensation. Why don’t the police?”

Talks between regulators and the police began in 2012 when problems with Wonga’s debt collection practices were uncovered by the Office of Fair Trading.

At that point it was decided the OFT would continue its work, rather than the case being referred, with “the interests of the consumer being at the fore”.

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Last October, Wonga announced it was writing off the debts of 330,000 borrowers after a clampdown from City watchdogs.

The firm admitted it was kissing goodbye to £220million from people who could not afford the repayments.

Wonga chairman Andy Haste said at the time: “The need for change is real and urgent.

“We are sorry for what happened.”

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