The multiple faces of payday lenders

As the regulatory net tightens on payday lenders, an interest snippet has emerged from the demise of Toothfairy, when went into administration at the end of last year.

The parent company, which had changed its name to Web Loans Processing,  had a total of 46 payday lending names under which it was trading. 

Companies own multiple brands for different reasons, but such a high number of websites all doing the same job – and we must assume all linking back to the same operating system – gives a small window into the way parts of the payday lending industry works.

Internet marketers may argue that creating multiple websites is a way of ensuring that a whole range of search terms will bring customers to the company – with variations on the words loan, cash, credit and so on and with different suffixes to the web address.

But this approach also allows some operators to hide behind a multiplicity of facades, making it almost impossible for members of the public to track their record and reputation.

In the case of Toothfairy, evidence collected by Citizens Advice was presented to the OFT in February of last year as part of a dossier containing information on four payday lenders and three debt collection companies. It is understood that this evidence sparked the formal investigation.

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