The Consumer Credit Act 1974 requires most businesses that lend money to consumers or offer goods or services on credit or engage in certain ancillary credit activities to be licensed by the OFT. Trading without a licence in such cases is a criminal offence and can result in a fine and/or imprisonment.
For information on consumer credit licensing, including application forms and relevant guidance, go to the Licensing area of the site.
The Act also regulates the way in which consumer credit licensees carry on business. For example, there are rules on advertising, pre-contract disclosure, credit agreements and post-contractual information. In addition, the Act confers certain rights on consumers, including in relation to withdrawal from a credit agreement, early settlement, and section 75 (joint and several liability).
A brief summary of the key provisions, together with reference to relevant legislation and guidance, is set out in the pages below.
The Financial Conduct Authority will take over regulation of consumer credit from the OFT on 1 April 2014.
All firms who currently hold a Consumer Credit Licence (CCL) will only be able to trade under their existing CCL until the 31 March 2014. All consumer credit licences expire on this date at midnight and if you have not taken action you will not be able to continue your licensable activities.
All firms who wish to continue trading after 31 March 2014 will need to be registered with the FCA. From September 2013, current OFT licence holders can register with FCA for 'interim permission' to carry on regulated activities from 1 April 2014.
For more information see credit changes.
For general enquiries and guidance on the work of OFT, please phone us on 08457 22 44 99 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note the OFT is unable to provide tailored advice to individuals. To find out your rights under the Act or other legislation you should obtain independent advice.
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