Socialist Worker

The Troublemaker - as some loan sharks go bust, beware the ones that remain

Issue No. 2619

BrightHouse charges the poor more for goods such as TVs and washing machines

BrightHouse charges the poor more for goods such as TVs and washing machines (Pic: London Permaculture/Flickr)


BrightHouse, a rent-to-buy loan shark shop, is selling second hand household goods returned by customers—and charging up to 99.9 percent interest.

BrightHouse brags its “refreshed” items from fridges to laptops are “great value” compared to new products.

But the reality for the chain’s customers, many with low credit ratings and who can’t afford to buy outright, is very different.

They can end up paying more than twice the price of the same product sold new elsewhere.

At BrightHouse in Halifax a “refreshed” Hoover ­washing machine cost £711 plus delivery and installation. But the total rent-to-buy cost over 99 weeks at 69.9 percent was £1,330. The same appliance was available new from other outlets at £549.99.

And a used Acer laptop on sale worked out at £594 over 99 weeks at 99.9 percent—while the same model new was on offer for just £274.

Some of the used products were returned by customers who could not keep up repayments.

Tycoon

BrightHouse is run by tycoon Julian Mash, who sold his London home for £53 million two years ago. The chain has made operating profits of more than £185 million since 2007.

A used Sony PS4 bundle with games and controllers is priced at £417.

Over 99 weeks at 99 percent, that rose to £704. The cost of the bundle bought new elsewhere is £400.

In happier news, payday loan shark lender Wonga is said to be on the brink of collapse over a new wave of compensation claims.

Administrators are on standby to take over the loans giant.

It comes three weeks after Wonga got a £10 million cash injection from shareholders to keep it afloat.

The firm started in 2007 offering loans at ­astronomical interest rates. Business boomed in the wake of the 2008 financial crash.


Latest migrant myth pushed by the press

The tabloids had a field day with new figures on Britain’s population growth last week. The Sun ran with the headline, “4 in 5 are foreign”.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics had shown that the population grew by 6.6 million between 2001 and 2016.

The racist Migration Watch group claimed that 82 percent of the growth was made up of migrants. But this is because it counts children born in Britain as migrants if they have migrant parents.

This allowed the Daily Mail to claim that 5.4 million of the 6.6 million rise “were the result of mass immigration—the biggest ever wave of incomers”.

But there were not 5.4 million people who came to Britain during that time, because some 2.3 million were children born here.

Lord Green of Deddington, chair of Migration Watch, showing the real racist agenda of he group said, “Immigration on the current scale is rapidly changing the size and nature of our society.”


Resigning Tories grab plenty of cash

Former international development secretary Priti Patel grabbed a £17,000 payout—after being forced to quit.

Patel was sacked in November last year after it emerged that she had lied about unauthorised meetings she’d attended in Israel.

The annual accounts for the Department for International Development show that Patel “received a severance payment of £16,876”.

It comes under the subject line, “Compensation for loss of office.” The government has refused to say whether Boris Johnson received a payout after quitting as foreign secretary.

It’s not clear whether David Davis, former Brexit secretary, received any cash either.


Over a quarter of parents ask children’s grandparents for help paying for school uniforms, according to a new study by Coinstar.

It also found that a fifth of families use children’s savings to cover the cost. The average cost of school uniforms has risen by 13 percent to £328 a year.


Multi Academy Trust has cash for the head

A Multi Academy Trust in south east London is paying two head teachers hundreds of thousands.

Polymat runs Woolwich Polytechnic School for Boys. It pays £165,000 to full-time co-head Tim Plumb and £105,000 to part-time co-head Byron Parker. Yet it has moved its cleaning contract to avoid paying cleaners the London Living Wage.


Airline scam to avoid compensation

Air travel is taking longer as airlines “pad out” schedules to create the impression that planes are reaching their destination on time. Carriers are allowing extra time for flights—in some cases at least 20 minutes. Schedules are changed to reduce airlines’ chances of having to pay compensation for delays.

Over 60 percent of flight routes are now advertised as taking longer than they did a decade ago.


No vanilla in many vanilla ice creams

Vanilla ice cream traditionally includes milk or cream, and vanilla. One in five ice creams had none of these, according to a survey. Only half contained all three ingredients.

Asda, Morrisons and Tesco own brands and soft-scoop vanilla ice creams from Wall’s and Ms Molly’s lack the three ingredients.


FAULTY FIRM - Ryanair

Unreliable airline

  • Ryanair sent cheques to people who had their flights cancelled
  • But scores of them bounced
  • Ryanair blamed an “administrative error”
  • Over a million Ryanair passengers in Europe have had flights cancelled since April

FAULTY FIRM - TUI

Sexist airline

  • Tui handed out badges to children boarding a flight from Bristol to Cyprus
  • The ones given to boys said, “Future Tui Captain”. Girls were described as, “Future Tui Cabin Crew.”
  • In the wake of the furore that followed, Tui blamed a “mix up”

Figure it out

£55.8 million - the amount raised by Labour in 2017, thought to be the most by any party in one year

£45.9 million - the amount the Tories raised in the same year


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