Newport pair fined for mis-selling credit cards and loans
4:40pm Saturday 12th May 2012 in Gwent news
TWO Newport men were fined £1,800 each after admitting their employees mis-sold credit cards and loans.
Eimtiaz Hussain, 33, of Chepstow Road, and Tariq Ali, 28, of Beatty Road, appeared in Cardiff Crown Court for sentencing yesterday having previously pleaded guilty to six offences contrary to the Consumer Protection Against Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.
Prosecutor Christian Jowett said Hussain was the director of Finance Point Ltd, based on Chepstow Road, and Ali worked as a manager.
He said Newport Council's trading standards department started receiving complaints of financial products being mis-sold by the company in early 2010.
The court heard trading standards officers visited the premises and met Ali who explained the business bought "referrals" of people who had been refused loans or credit cards from another company and their employees used a script to sell products.
Officers requested documentation of employees, methods used for selling and the agents they dealt with.
Mr Jowett said that after the trading standards officers' visit, they received complaints from four customers who had been mis-sold loans or pre-pay Mastercards as credit cards.
All four had been asked to pay administration fees of around £50. All the complaints related to incidents in July and August 2010.
The court heard the business initially employed four salaried staff, but replaced them with staff working on commission due to financial difficulties.
Mr Jowett told the court the prosecution was brought on grounds of "culpable negligence" on behalf of the two defendants, rather than dishonesty, in that they failed to supervise staff sufficiently.
Representing Hussain, Jonathan Rees said Hussain had lost the £10,000 he invested in the business and the business never turned over a profit. He said any money made from sales was reinvested in buying referrals.
Andrew Morse, Ali's counsel, said Ali was a salaried manager and was often not paid at all and he said the offences were due to neglect.
Judge William Gaskell said the business was "doomed to fail" and ordered both men to pay fines totalling £1,800 each. Both must also pay compensation totalling £99 each and £2,000 each towards prosecution costs. Judge Gaskell also disqualfied both men from being company directors for three years.