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Government to ban 'logbook loans'
Kevin Brennan said logbook loans are outdated and do not meet 21st century consumer standards
The Government has announced plans to ban so-called logbook loans which typically charge interest rates of around 400%.
Under the loans, also known as bills of sale, lenders advance money secured against the borrower's personal property, typically a car.
But there are concerns that the legislation governing the loans is out of date, and vulnerable people's goods can be seized without a court order.
Some of the loans also contain provisions that allow lenders to "break open doors or windows" of premises where the borrower's vehicle is located.
Consumer minister Kevin Brennan said: "These bills of sale are archaic and allow vulnerable people's goods to be seized without a court order. They were developed in the days of Charles Dickens and don't meet 21st century consumer standards.
The Government has launched a consultation on the future of the loans.
Ministers favour an outright ban on the use of bills of sale for lending to consumers, but other measures being considered include the introduction of a voluntary code of practice, and reform of legislation governing the loans.
The number of registered bills of sale has increased in recent years, with nearly 40,000 taken out in the year to the end of March, with lending to consumers thought to total around £30 million. But the Office of Fair Trading has received more than 1,000 consumer complaints about the loans during the past four years.
Many of the complaints relate to the lack of protection available to people who get into arrears on the loans, as well as unfair collection practices, the excessively high cost of the loans and the complex and confusing nature of the language used in the agreements.
Citizens Advice has seen a doubling in the number of inquiries received about bills of sale during 2008-09.
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