18 Jul 2011

Lenders accused of exploitative behaviour

6:07 pm on 18 July 2011

The Law Commission says some money lenders are exploiting customers by repossessing children's toys and medical necessities to encourage people to pay up.

The commission is reviewing the Credit (Repossession) Act 1997. It is part of a wider review of consumer credit law announced by Consumer Affairs Minister Simon Power, in a crackdown on so-called loan sharks.

Acting Law Commission president Warren Young says there is concern that repossession agents are threatening to take low value items with sentimental value as leverage to get people to pay.

He says it sometimes amounts to exploitative and oppressive practice, but it is hard to tell the extent of the problem so the commission wants to hear from the public to discover whether it is widespread.

Mr Young says there could be a ban on repossessing certain items to prevent this behaviour.

Mangere Budgeting Services Trust chief executive Darryl Evans says vulnerable people are being bullied into paying.