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Doorstep Lenders & Loan Sharks

Sub-prime lenders and illegal loan sharks

Sub-prime lenders are licensed lenders who are willing to make loans to people who are unable to get credit from mainstream lenders because of a poor credit record. They often charge a much higher rate of interest than banks and building societies. Illegal loan sharks charge even higher rates of interest and are not regulated by the Office of Fair Trading.


Money lent to you by ‘doorstep lenders’ (such as salespeople who come and knock on your door) can be expensive.

Find out more about borrowing from a doorstep lender on the Money Advice Service website.

So should I borrow money from a doorstep lender?

Never borrow money from an illegal doorstep money lender. Illegal doorstep lenders are also called 'loan sharks'. You will pay extremely high rates of interest and they may threaten or harass you if you do not keep up your repayments.

Loan sharks are illegal because they are not regulated by the Office of Fair Trading. Never borrow money from anyone before you have checked if they are regulated by the Office of Fair Trading. You can do this free by ringing 020 7211 8608, 9.30am to 4pm, Monday to Friday.

Find out more about dealing with loan sharks on the GOV.UK website.

To report  a loan shark you should contact Doncaster Council Trading Standards, email trading.standards@doncaster.gov.uk , or telephone 01302 737529 or 737552

Should I borrow from a legal doorstep money lender?

Legal doorstep money lenders will usually charge high rates of interest so it may be better for you to join a credit union. Visit our South Yorkshire Credit Union page for more information.

Legal doorstep lending is also called the 'home collection market'. You can borrow small amounts and pay it back weekly to an agent who will call at your home. Remember – the total amount you have to repay may be much higher than the amount you borrowed.

Find out more about how much borrowing costs on our repayment table.

Where else might I be able to borrow money?

An excellent alternative is to become a member of a credit union. The main credit union in Doncaster is South Yorkshire Credit Union. Visit our South Yorkshire Credit Union page for more information. South Yorkshire Credit Union have branches throughout South Yorkshire and can be contacted on 030 3030 0010.

Credit unions offer an easy way to save and financial services such as low-cost loans.

I'm in debt and the doorstep money lender seems my only way out

Don't be tempted by the cash offered to you by an illegal money lender on your doorstep.

If you are in debt and need help it is best to get advice straight away, for example, from your local Citizens Advice Bureau.

Visit the GOV.UK Managing Debt section, for information around all aspects of debt.

For free information and advice about debt, ring National Debtline on 0808 808 4000 or visit the National Debtline website.

You can also find out more on our 'Managing Your Money' page.

A doorstep lender is harassing me, what should I do?

If you are being harassed, you should contact Doncaster Council Trading Standards, email trading.standards@doncaster.gov.uk , or telephone 01302 737529 or 737552

If you are threatened or feel frightened, you should contact the police.

Should I buy from a doorstep seller?

Some doorstep sellers will be genuine tradespeople. However, many are not and you need to be careful. Don't be pressurised into buying something you don't want or can't afford. Look out for high interest rates – always remember to ask what the total cost of the goods or service will be including any charges and interest added.

Remember that doorstep sellers must have a licence to sell you goods and services on credit if they are not on their trade premises.

Visit the GOV.UK website if you are thinking of buying a product or a service or are concerned about dealing with doorstep sellers and your rights.

You can also contact Doncaster Council Trading Standards, email trading.standards@doncaster.gov.uk , telephone 01302 737529 or 737552, or visit the Doncaster Council Trading Standards website.

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