UEL succeeds in action to remove pay day loan ads from Docklands station

Staff and students from UEL joined pupils from London Design and Engineering UTC at Cyprus DLR stati

Staff and students from UEL joined pupils from London Design and Engineering UTC at Cyprus DLR station on Friday, February 3 in a protest against a pay day loans company's posters. - Credit: Archant

Protestors targeting a pay day loan company’s ads have succeeded in getting them removed.

Staff and students from the University of East London and London Design and Engineering University Technical College took action last Friday calling on Transport for London to take down posters advertising short term student loans for lender Smart-Pig.com.

According to the company’s own posters loans carry an interest rates of up to 1,258 per cent but a spokeswoman told the Recorder they will never cost more than 50pc of the amount borrowed even if a customer defaulted.

Speaking after TfL announced its intention, UEL lecturer Dr Tim Hall, who spearheaded a campaign which saw the removal of pay day loan ads from the university’s campuses two years ago, said: “We are delighted, really delighted. We’d like to say a big thank you to TfL. We really appreciate them listening to us.”

Debbie Lindsay, manager of the university’s student finances service who was at Cyprus station to protest along with staff and students, said: “It’s an absolutely brilliant triumph for all of us. This is the correct move by TfL. It sends out the correct message about pay day loan companies.

“It’s important because it’s difficult for some students to manage the finances that they have so it’s very easy for the most vulnerable to be tempted by pay day loans which are to their detriment.”

In its announcement, TfL said they have given instructions for the ads to be removed from the platforms at the DLR station which is used by students as a main route into the university’s Docklands Campus.

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In response, a Smart-Pig.com spokeswoman said: “We are surprised that TfL has asked for our posters to be removed considering the misinformed nature of the protest by a handful of students, some of whom were too young to take out credit of any kind.

“Central to the decision is confusion about the cost of our loans which do not cost thousands of percent in interest. A £100 loan costs from £2.00 to 5.60 per week with fees capped at £50 even if the loan is not repaid.

“To date, we estimate we have saved student short term loan borrowers in excess of a million pounds in late payment fees and charges.

“A very small proportion of students use short term loans, so it is important they are aware that there is a specialist lender on their side who will treat them fairly.

“ Smart-Pig was created by students after one of the founders had a bad experience with another loan company.”