Victims were said to be around 400,000 people a year who did not receive regular loans from banks because of unemployment or high debts. The amount of damage is estimated at 150 million euros per year.
In the survey, the testers asked 69 providers in 177 cases for loans of between a few thousand and several tens of thousands of euros. Only in two cases had the loan actually been given – but then at an almost unconscionable 25 percent annual interest rate, said debt counsel christian maltry.
Otherwise, money has been demanded: for upfront fees, fast-track processing fees, business consulting contracts, interpretation reimbursement or home visits, maltry said. If the fees are not paid, the companies were also blatantly threatened with visits from so-called collection agencies, i.E. Debt collectors.
Commercial lawyer hugo grote, co-author of the study, summed up: "it’s all about cashing in on people who are in emergency situations."Providers took advantage of a section of the law that allows for the reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses when brokering loans. Nevertheless, it is a question of fraud. "The demands are illegal, but successful." so the courts needed to be much tougher on this criminality, grote urged. Moreover, the corresponding law had to be changed.
Schufa boss michael freytag said that unfortunately people in financial emergencies fall for such "windy offers". It must be clear that so-called schufa-free loans could not work according to the banks’ current rules.