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December 5, 2003

OFT takes credit licence action against hearing aid retailer

From: Creditman, UK - Dec 5, 2003

A Scottish-based hearing aid retail company has had its application for a consumer credit licence refused and its director's licence revoked, by the OFT.

An adjudicator refused Balmoral (Audiological) Ltd's application on the basis that Mr Ian Henderson Johansen, a director and controller of the company had committed serious misconduct under the Hearing Aid Council Act and broken the Council's Code of Practice by employing a hearing aid dispenser who was not registered to dispense hearing aids. For these reasons the adjudicator also decided that Mr Henderson was not fit to hold a consumer credit licence and accordingly the licence was revoked.

Under the Consumer Credit Act 1974, businesses that offer consumer credit or hire, or who introduce customers to businesses offering credit facilities, must have a consumer credit licence. The OFT has a duty to protect the interests of consumers by monitoring the fitness of applicants and licence holders.

In considering fitness, the OFT will take into account a number of factors including:
- any offence or conviction of violence or dishonesty carried out by the business or anyone involved in running the business
- failure to comply with the provisions of the Consumer Credit Act or other consumer protection legislation
- consumer complaints
- evidence of unfair business practice
- evidence of discrimination on grounds of sex, colour, race or ethnic/national origin.

Director for Consumer Regulation Enforcement, Christine Wade said:

'The licensee has engaged in deceitful and improper business practices which mean both the company and its director are unfit to provide credit to consumers.'

© 2003 Creditman, UK