Consumers 'misled' by debt-repayment scam

Private companies marketing debt-repayment schemes have been caught masquerading as debt advice charity the Consumer Credit Counselling Service.

The charity says firms are buying sponsored links on search engines such as Google, which appear when members of the public search for the charity’s name. A report by Which? has confirmed that the practice is happening.

A spokeswoman for the service said it had contacted one of the companies, Debt Free Me, but it had “not responded positively”.

The charity now wants customers who have been misled to come forward so it can take their complaints to the Office of Fair Trading.

The spokeswoman said that companies frequently used the names of charities such the National Debtline and Citizens Advice “to attract consumers”.

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