Protect consumers who cannot protect themselves: Martin

Lagan Valley Alliance Party Chair Stephen Martin has welcomed the announcement by the Office of Fair Trading that they are to consult on how lenders identify those who may struggle to make informed borrowing decisions. Stephen Martin is a solicitor by trade and he says it’s essential that safeguards can be put in place to protect people.

Stephen Martin stated: “As a Solicitor, I often see examples of individuals who have got themselves into debt, unbeknownst to their family and friends, only to discover the person involved is in the early stages of dementia or other mental capacity limiting conditions. It is incredibly difficult for families to have to deal with companies looking for their money back at the same time as coping with the discovery that a loved one is suffering in this way.

“Debt is a concern for most of us whether it is in the form of mortgage payments, car loans, student loans or credit card repayments. We would like to think that when we take the decision to borrow money, we know what it is that we are agreeing too. Sometimes, there are those in our community who are no longer able to do this, yet lenders authorize loans or the issuing of credit cards without checking that the person involved understands what they are doing.”

Stephen Martin concluded: “Citizens Advice is to be commended for the hard work they have had done to raise public awareness of the issue. I am also pleased that the Office of Fair Trading is looking seriously at the matter and encouraging all interested parties to have their say so that safeguards can be put in place to ensure that the most vulnerable in our society are protected.”


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