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Consumer advice and protection
 See also
Debt help
Illegal money lending
 Web links
Money Made Clear


If you are allowed to defer payment for goods and services you will be in receipt of ‘credit’. There are many forms of credit including -

  • cash loans - this includes bank loans, payday loans and credit card advances
  • credit and store cards
  • credit agreements - often used to buy things likes cars, furniture or electrical goods
  • mortgages
  • pawn broking
  • overdrafts

Before you borrow

Before you borrow any money or buy goods and services on credit its important to consider whether or not you can afford to pay the money back and what would happen if your circumstances change.

Doorstep lenders have to put information (including their interest rates) on the Lenders Compared website.

Visit the Lenders Compared website (link opens in a new window)

You can use tools on the Money Made Clear website, such as a loan calculator or budget planner, to help you work out how what’s right for you.

Visit the Money Made Clear website (link opens in a new window)

Refused credit

Credit reference agencies hold information on most adults in the UK. This information is called your credit reference file or credit report. When you apply for credit, lenders generally look at the information on your file and will use it as part of their decision making process.

If you have been turned down for credit you can request a copy of your credit reference file from either Callcredit, Equifax or Experian who are the main agencies in the UK.

Debt problems

If you have money or debt problems there are sources of help and advice available.

Find out about the help available with debt problems

How credit is regulated

Businesses that offer goods or services on credit, or that lend money to consumers, are required to be licensed by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT). The OFT have a duty to protect the interests of consumers by monitoring the fitness of those holding or applying for licence. Trading without a licensing arrangement is a criminal offence and can result in a fine and/or imprisonment.

Find out more about illegal money lending

There are also laws in place designed to protect borrowers covering such things as -

  • credit advertising
  • information to be supplied to borrowers
  • content and format of credit agreements
  • credit brokerage
  • debt collection

If you have concerns about a credit matter or you have a credit related query you can contact us.

Contact us

Trading Standards Advice
33 Witham

Tel: If you are a consumer please telephone 0345 404 0506
Text phone: 01482 300 349
Fax: 01482 615 572

We are open Monday to Thursday 9am to 5pm, and Friday 9am to 4.30pm. Please note the trading standards office is not open to the public. If you have an enquiry please make this to trading standards by telephone, text phone, email or post.

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