YOUR Money: Sharks Bitten; LOANS INVESTIGATION SLAMS Pounds 100M RIP-OFF

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Byline: By CLINTON MANNING

DOORSTEP loan salesmen are fleecing two million of Britain's poorest families out of pounds 100million a year, a watchdog revealed yesterday.

The Competition Commission blamed a lack of rivals operating in the pounds 2billion-a-year home credit market.

Its two-year investigation found that consumers were paying an average of 9 per cent too much for loans.

And it threatened capping unscrupulous lenders unless they cut their sky-high charges.

Lenders' agents visit people's homes to sell short-term loans of pounds 100 to pounds 1,000 then collect repayments weekly or fortnightly.

Someone borrowing pounds 200 over 55 weeks repays pounds 330, equivalent to an eye-watering annual percentage rate of 177 per cent.

Commission chairman Peter Freeman said: "Customers value home credit because it suits their needs but they are paying too much for it, because of the lack of competition in the market."

Six large lenders control 90 per cent of the market with one - Provident Financial - having a stranglehold on half the business.

The Commission said the firms must do more to help borrowers understand the cost of their loans. …