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Do Buy As You View owe you money?

Posted 30 March 2016

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Are you due a refund from Buy As You View? The company has been instructed to give compensation to 59,000 customers – here’s what you need to know.

You may have seen in the news recently that Buy As You View, a company that provides furniture, TVs and electronic goods on a rent-to-own basis, is to pay compensation to 59,000 of their customers. In this blog we’re going to look into why this has come about and what to do if you think that you could be due compensation. 

 

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Why did this happen?

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is the regulator for all financial firms - so they make the rules that financial companies have to stick to and they also check that companies are following them. After looking into Buy As You View, the FCA weren’t completely happy with the way that they explained their fees and treated some customers who were in arrears. 

The FCA also raised questions about the meters fitted onto to customers’ televisions. These work just like electricity meters and mean that Buy as You View can stop someone watching television if they haven’t kept up with their payments. 

I have an item from Buy as You View – do I need to do anything?

If you have something in your home from Buy as You View you don’t need to do anything to check whether you’re owed any money – everyone will be contacted directly by the company. Altogether, the company will pay out £939,000, split out between the 59,000 customers. 

On average, it’s estimated that each customer will receive something around £16 – which may not seem like a huge amount, but it could still come in handy. If you’re owed anything, the compensation will either be given out straight to you in cash or by adjusting your bill. 

Most of the compensation will go to customers who were charged fees because they didn’t pay their direct debits, and this goes back as far as 2001. There was an administration fee charged between 2012 and 2014 called the “Fresh Start Refinance” which will be refunded to some customers. 

Buy As You View also modified some agreements they had with some customers between 1st April 2015 and August 2015, instead of giving them new agreements when they wanted a new item. Buy As You View are now going to look into whether this cost any of their customers more money than it should have done – each case will be looked at individually, so if you are contacted make sure you respond. 

Is rent-to-own a good idea?

Rent-to-own is a way of paying for something bit-by-bit over time. For example, it’s quite common for people to buy cars this way and, as we’ve said, some companies like Buy As You View, offer all kinds of household items. People may find that they’re attracted to this kind of buying because it gives them the chance to take an item home with them and pay gradually, once every week or month, rather than all at once. 

It can seem easier to go down the rent-to-own route, if you’re looking to buy a new washing machine, sofa or television. But, you do need to be careful when it comes to how much it will cost you overall. The All Partly Parliamentary Debt and Personal Finance Group (which is a group of MPs) published a full report on the industry in February 2015, which you can download here. In the report they raised some concerns about the industry in general, including the expensive insurances and warranties some customers are obliged to take out and the possibility of customers losing essential items when they just can’t keep up with the payments. 

Rent-to-own can sometimes be the right option for you, but like any kind of borrowing you need to look very carefully at all the charges you’ll be expected to pay, how long you’ll be paying for and how much you’re being charged in interest. 

Have a look at the rest of our money saving section for lots more advice on successful money management. If you’re worried about problem debt - we’re here to help – make sure you use one of the options to the left to speak to a trained, experienced debt advisor.

 

by Christine Walsh

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To find out more about managing your money and getting free debt advice, visit Money Advice Service, an independent service set up to help people manage their money.