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Customers in the dark over pawnbroker closures

Albermarle and Bond pawnbroker branchImage copyright Getty Images

Customers of a High Street pawnbroker are being left in the dark after branches have been closed and calls unanswered.

A&B Pawnbrokers (Albemarle & Bond) and Herbert Brown shops have closed their doorways, and its web site says “this store” has ceased buying and selling.

Owner Speedloan Finance has but to make it clear whether or not any of the 116 shops will stay open.

The pawnbrokers’ commerce physique hit out at the agency’s unanswered helpline.

“Their decision to downscale UK operations is a strategic matter for the company but [we have] expressed concern that the communication of their actions to their customers falls below the standards expected of its members,” the National Pawnbrokers Association (NPA) mentioned.

“In particular we are most unhappy with the fact that customers cannot get through to the helpline. We have demanded that the management of the company resolve this as a matter of urgency.”

Apology

Pawnbrokers permit prospects to supply one thing invaluable as safety for a mortgage, or purchase gadgets comparable to jewelry and antiques. They lend cash shortly, however often at a worse fee than banks.

Stores additionally typically provide different monetary companies comparable to foreign money change and shopping for gold.

The firm mentioned that any gadgets pawned in A&B shops will probably be transferred to a central retailer, and may be redeemed or offered by way of this operation.

“If your items are expired or due to expire, please note we will not take any action with your items until we speak to you,” the web site mentioned.

“Unfortunately, we were unable to contact all customers prior to the closure date. We apologise for any inconvenience this has caused.”

Albemarle & Bond was established in 1840.

Helplines

BBC News has been unable to contact anybody from the firm to clarify the extent of the closures or the causes for them.

The regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), mentioned it was conscious that firms operated by Speedloan had closed shops.

“We are aware of the issue and we are engaged with the firm,” the FCA mentioned.

The Financial Ombudsman Service mentioned it had obtained calls from annoyed prospects unable to get by way of to the firm and have been apprehensive about their gadgets.

Customers can contact the firm on 01865 798114 which is a devoted hotline. If prospects are usually not pleased with the response from the firm, they’ll contact the Financial Ombudsman Service to complain on 0800 023 4567, or the FCA buyer helpline on 0800 111 6768.


How does pawnbroking work?

  • Customer “pledges” an merchandise, comparable to a gold ring for a set time period, often six months
  • Pawnbroker provides 50% to 60% of the merchandise’s worth as a money mortgage
  • Customer pays 7% to eight% curiosity each month
  • An merchandise may be redeemed throughout the mortgage interval by paying again the authentic mortgage and any curiosity as much as that time
  • If the buyer can not repay the mortgage at the finish of the deal the pawnbroker sells the merchandise and returns any surplus to the buyer

More info is out there from the National Pawnbrokers Association. Consumer recommendation on pawnbroking is out there from Citizens Advice and the Money and Pensions Service


Are you a buyer of Albemarle & Bond or Hebert Brown? Share your experiences by emailing haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk

Please embody a contact quantity if you’re keen to talk to a BBC journalist. You can even contact us in the following methods:

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