Single mother left struggling after getting caught by credit trap
Jennifer Ball needed some extra money for Christmas. She was struggling, so she went online. That was where she found Credit Perfect.
The single mum to a 4-month-old daughter has now lost nearly £200 and fears she could lose even more after being caught in a common credit trap.
Jennifer, 26, from Surrey, came across the website Credit Perfect when she needed a bit of extra money.
"I found it by accident really. It had been a bit of a struggle in December, what with Christmas, needing to buy baby essentials and a couple of bills."
"So, I decided stupidly to apply for a loan. While doing this I was redirected to Credit Perfect. I thought it was just the final stages from the loan company."
Little did she know that by 'signing up' to Credit Perfect, she would be charged an ongoing monthly fee of £14.99 each month.
"It may only be £14.99 to a lot of people but to me that is a hell of a lot of money especially when my daughter is concerned," she told A Spokesman Said.
READ MORE: Most complained about companies of 2017
Who are Credit Perfect?
Credit Perfect's website reads: "Improve your life with better credit".
It promises a lot to those who are desperate and even says it is "here to help".
"Let Credit Perfect help you take control of your finances today" the homepage reads, just below a stock image of two people happily looking at a computer.
But for the thousands of customers who find this website in their time of need, Credit Perfect's sign up scheme has only plunged their finances further into the red.
Credit Perfect offers to help people find a loan. But if you follow the asterisk you see there is a catch – a pretty serious one.
"A monthly membership fee of £14.99 applies automatically after your free trial. You may cancel at any time during your 14-day free trial. If you cancel after the trial has expired, you will be charged."
* Who is behind Credit Hub and Credit Perfect?
* Had money taken by Credit Hub, Credit Angel or Loan Marketing? Read this
* Want a loan? Here’s how to avoid paying £14.99-a-month to CreditHub just to apply!
A costly mistake
Back to Jennifer.
Without realising, she had signed up to Credit Perfect's monthly membership fee.
"I read the terms and conditions. The way it came across to me - because I thought it was still the loan website - was that the company took £14.99 a month until the loan was paid back.
"I just came out of the website and decided getting a loan wasn't worth getting into debt over just for the sake of a few extra Christmas presents for my family."
But by that point it was too late.
"I check my online banking regularly and while I was checking to see how much I had left I noticed that £14.99 had come out of my account and a further £19.95 had come out twice from another company like this.
"This happened a few times over a few weeks."
Credit Perfect's website promises a lot, but thousands of people simply end up losing money.
In total Jennifer lost £174.70 to Credit Perfect and another credit site Credit Portal.
It is a story we hear a lot at A Spokesman Said, often from people with precious little to spare without losing an extra £14.99 to something they never realised they had signed up to.
Jennifer emailed Credit Perfect and it responded to say that her "subscription" had been cancelled and that she would be refunded – which she actually was.
Jennifer received a refund of £60.
But she is still missing £100 taken by Credit Portal.
"That hasn't been refunded even though they said it would be."
"They said that it would take 10 days to process the refund, so I took into account the weekends and then they said that it would take 3-5 days for the refund to go back into my account.
"Nothing went in."
Still taking money out
A few weeks after she was told the subscription had been cancelled, Jennifer went to buy milk for her daughter.
"I was extremely upset and embarrassed to have my card declined.
"When I got home I checked my account again and another £14.99 was taken from my account.
"I emailed the company again and explained the situation and told them I wanted the money refunded.
"A couple of days later the company emailed back and told me that I had already been refunded money and that they don't take £14.99."
"This has really really affected my financial situation because my wages have been cut to statutory maternity pay.
"It means that my wages are even less as this money that I didn't agree to come out is being taken not just from me
"It also means my daughter has to go without her 7oz of milk in each bottle and has to have 5oz instead.
"And it's also affecting being able to get a flat for us to live as we can't save up properly as I don't know when this money will be taken again."
What to do if you have lost money to Credit Perfect
- Ask for a refund
It is worthwhile demanding a refund for any money already taken. Insist that you did not understand the terms and conditions of membership and point out any special circumstances you may have.
For instance, if you have dyslexia, you could point this out if it prevented you from understanding the T&Cs when you signed up. (Don’t lie, of course)
In the same letter, tell them that if you’re not given a refund you will file a complaint with the FCA and Financial Ombudsman.
We can’t guarantee this will work, but it’s worth a shot.
If you do decide to take the route of contacting the Financial Ombudsman, who will advocate on your behalf, our guide on using the regulator can be found here.
You can contact the Financial Ombudsman online or by calling 0800 023 4567.
- Cancel your card
Another way to stop Credit Hub or Credit Perfect taking payments is to cancel the bank card linked to the account they are taking money from.
They won’t be able to take any more money after that.
With a new card, they will need your new card details to once again be to take money from you again. Make sure you avoid these sort of companies in the future.
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