a store front at day: Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA

© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA

The collapsed rent-to-own firm BrightHouse has been accused by consumer campaigners of sidestepping the City watchdog’s guidelines by offering struggling customers payment holidays of only 28 days during the pandemic, rather than three months.

It comes as administrators of BrightHouse at Grant Thornton continue “maximising” loan collections as part of the firm’s wind-down plans, raising concerns over a potential conflict of interest.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) first said in April that it expected rent-to-own companies such as BrightHouse to offer a three month payment freeze to customers facing financial difficulty due to Covid-19, and to avoid repossessions for as long the regulator’s guidance was in place.

It is meant to protect some of the UK’s most vulnerable consumers, who often turn to high-interest rent-to-own contracts when they cannot afford to pay upfront for household goods such as fridges, ovens, TVs and

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