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Wonga send customer letters from non-existent law firm

Anthony Wooding, managing partner of Kerseys Solicitors in Ipswich, has commented on the practice of payday lender Wonga for sending letters from non-existent law firms to customers who are in arrears with their payments.

Anthony Wooding said that Wonga had acted immorally – but hoped lessons had been learned.

“I come from a profession which is ethical and has very strict safeguards in place. To take the law in vain and put pressure on people who are already vulnerable is immoral.”

Wonga has agreed to pay £2.6m in compensation after they sent letters to customers, from false law firms, threatening legal action.

In some cases Wonga added fees for these letters to customers’ accounts.

The City watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), said 45,000 customers would be compensated.

Wonga has apologised and said the tactic ended nearly four years ago.

Anthony said: “They implied they were law firms and this is really serious. I think because they didn’t actually state they were law firms, the Solicitors Regulatory Authority hasn’t been involved.

“However, this did take place in 2010 and Wonga has said the tactic has ended. Hopefully lessons have been learned.”

The City regulator has told the BBC it has sent a file to the police.

The company is the UK’s largest payday lender, making nearly four million loans to one million customers in 2012, latest figures show.

An investigation found that Wonga sent letters to customers from fake law firms called “Chainey, D’Amato & Shannon” and “Barker and Lowe Legal Recoveries”.

FCA has said the misconduct effected an already difficult situation. Wonga has apologised unreservedly to anyone affected.