6th February 2015
Payday lender Wonga has escaped a police investigation after sending faked debt collection letters from non-existent law firms.
The City of London police has confirmed it will not take action after the company was referred to it following an investigation and fine by the City regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
The FCA fined Wonga £2.6 million last June for sending out demand for loan repayments in the names of non-existent law firms and even charging administration fees for the letters.
Between October 2008 and November 2010 Wonga contacted 45,000 customers in arrears under the faked names of Chainey D’Amato & Shannon and Barker & Lowe Legal Recoveries.
The FCA said the letters were designed to ‘maximise [Wonga’s] collections by unfairly increasing pressure on customers’.
However the City of London police has said there were no grounds for a criminal investigation because the letters said in the small print that they had come from the lenders, not a legal firm.
‘The central allegations were that Wonga had deceived its customers by sending letters falsely purporting to be from lawyers with the aim of recovering outstanding debts from customers,’ the police said.
‘After a thorough review of all the material gathered the City of London Police has concluded there is not sufficient evidence to progress a criminal investigation.’