Wonga.com admits staff may be responsible for anonymous attacks on Walthamstow MP Stella Creasy

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Stella Creasy campaigning against 'legal loan sharks' in Walthamstow High Street last year. Stella Creasy campaigning against 'legal loan sharks' in Walthamstow High Street last year.

A LOAN firm has apologised to Walthamstow MP Stella Creasy after one of its employees apparently posted anonymous attacks against her on the internet.


The Labour member has gained national prominence as a fierce critic of payday lenders and has been waging a campaign for new legislation for a limit on the fees so-called 'legal loan sharks' charge.


Now it has emerged that a member of staff at Wonga.com, one of the most high-profile companies she has criticised, may have written abusive and critical comments on Twitter without identifying themselves as an employee of the firm.


According to the national Guardian newspaper a user called Daniel Sargant described Ms Creasy as "mental" and said “that raving self-publicist is nuts”.


He also accused her of being a hypocrite for supporting the return of dog racing with gambling to Walthamstow Stadium at the same time as criticising payday lenders for targeting the poor.


Ms Creasy told the Waltham Forest Guardian: "I took up this issue because I was worried that people in Walthamstow who were already struggling were getting further into debt because of these legal loan sharks.

"Wonga has apologised and recognised that the behaviour on Twitter was completely unacceptable, which it was, and for me that's the end of the matter.

"If they have to resort to these sorts of things I take it as a sign that we're getting somewhere and winning the argument.

"It's important to put it in perspective. My main concern is how people in Walthamstow can have the best protection they can [against loan firms]".

All the Twitter messages have now been deleted.


Ms Creasy is a prolific user of Twitter and is often subject to abuse on the website.
 

Yesterday she posted an example of other insults, including one user who called her a "f***ing snot gobbler" among other offensive terms.


A Wonga.com spokeswoman said: "we can confirm one of our junior employees may have made unauthorised comments on a blog, and elsewhere on the web, while not identifying themselves correctly.


"We are now carrying out a full investigation and, if the employee is found to be responsible, they will face serious disciplinary action."
 

She added: “we do not condone any form of misleading or aggressive behaviour, on or offline.”
 

Ms Creasy has accused payday loan firms of charging "extortionate" fees which can have a devastating impact on the most vulnerable people in society.


Wonga charges a typical annual rate of 4,214 per cent on its loans, but says the figure is misleading because it never lends cash for more than a month.
 

The Office of Fair Trading launched an investigation into the firms yesterday, but Ms Creasy said it does not have enough powers to tackle the issue and new legislation was still needed.

Ms Creasy added that following its apology she hoped Wonga would help publicise her free family finances fair for residents which she is helping to organise at Mission Grove School in Walthamstow this Saturday (November 24) between 10.30am and 4pm.

 

Comments (12)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

10:47am Wed 21 Nov 12

Helen, Walthamstow says...

Hang in there, Stella! You know you are getting to them when they feel the need to get abusive.
Hang in there, Stella! You know you are getting to them when they feel the need to get abusive. Helen, Walthamstow
  • Score: 0

10:49am Wed 21 Nov 12

Walthamster says...

So Wonga doesn't condone "any form of misleading behaviour"?

Does it advertise, loud and clear, that it lends money at 4,000 per cent annual interest? I thought not!
So Wonga doesn't condone "any form of misleading behaviour"? Does it advertise, loud and clear, that it lends money at 4,000 per cent annual interest? I thought not! Walthamster
  • Score: 0

1:44pm Wed 21 Nov 12

Mark Dawes says...

Stella Creasy is to be commended for her campaign against “legal loan sharks” as the companies do exploit the vulnerable and cause misery to people. However, the point on hypocrisy is a valid one as Stella Creasy also lobbies for the gambling industry to bring back dog racing and the gambling industry also exploits the vulnerable and causes misery to people. A recent survey estimated annually £75 million is betted on dog racing by people with a gambling problem.
Stella Creasy is to be commended for her campaign against “legal loan sharks” as the companies do exploit the vulnerable and cause misery to people. However, the point on hypocrisy is a valid one as Stella Creasy also lobbies for the gambling industry to bring back dog racing and the gambling industry also exploits the vulnerable and causes misery to people. A recent survey estimated annually £75 million is betted on dog racing by people with a gambling problem. Mark Dawes
  • Score: 0

3:02pm Wed 21 Nov 12

Sam Hain says...

They say there's no such thing as bad publicity, Stella, (except, hopefully, for Wonga in this instance) and Helen is right: you know you're rattling them when they resort to such tactics. Keep up the good work.
They say there's no such thing as bad publicity, Stella, (except, hopefully, for Wonga in this instance) and Helen is right: you know you're rattling them when they resort to such tactics. Keep up the good work. Sam Hain
  • Score: 0

5:05pm Wed 21 Nov 12

Walthamster says...

Mark Dawes wrote:
Stella Creasy is to be commended for her campaign against “legal loan sharks” as the companies do exploit the vulnerable and cause misery to people. However, the point on hypocrisy is a valid one as Stella Creasy also lobbies for the gambling industry to bring back dog racing and the gambling industry also exploits the vulnerable and causes misery to people. A recent survey estimated annually £75 million is betted on dog racing by people with a gambling problem.
What a feeble way of trying to promote your anti-dog-racing agenda. Though you're the Green Party representative, you are only known locally for your support of the developers who want to tear down Walthamstow dog track. There's a huge local campaign to save the Stow, for jobs and entertainment and quality of life. But you side solidly with the developers.

In supporting the Stow, Stella Creasy is trying to defend local people, as she should.

Why do you keep opposing the interests of the people you want to vote for you? Why not campaign on genuinely Green issues that don't harm local people?

You've probably wiped out more support for the environmental movement, single-handedly, than its opponents could have hoped for.
[quote][p][bold]Mark Dawes[/bold] wrote: Stella Creasy is to be commended for her campaign against “legal loan sharks” as the companies do exploit the vulnerable and cause misery to people. However, the point on hypocrisy is a valid one as Stella Creasy also lobbies for the gambling industry to bring back dog racing and the gambling industry also exploits the vulnerable and causes misery to people. A recent survey estimated annually £75 million is betted on dog racing by people with a gambling problem.[/p][/quote]What a feeble way of trying to promote your anti-dog-racing agenda. Though you're the Green Party representative, you are only known locally for your support of the developers who want to tear down Walthamstow dog track. There's a huge local campaign to save the Stow, for jobs and entertainment and quality of life. But you side solidly with the developers. In supporting the Stow, Stella Creasy is trying to defend local people, as she should. Why do you keep opposing the interests of the people you want to vote for you? Why not campaign on genuinely Green issues that don't harm local people? You've probably wiped out more support for the environmental movement, single-handedly, than its opponents could have hoped for. Walthamster
  • Score: 0

10:54pm Wed 21 Nov 12

Cornbeefur says...

I never thought their could be a more depressing shop after a Chicken Shop and 'Cash Converter' than one of these.
I never thought their could be a more depressing shop after a Chicken Shop and 'Cash Converter' than one of these. Cornbeefur
  • Score: 0

10:03am Thu 22 Nov 12

RichieA70 says...

Mark Dawes wrote:
Stella Creasy is to be commended for her campaign against “legal loan sharks” as the companies do exploit the vulnerable and cause misery to people. However, the point on hypocrisy is a valid one as Stella Creasy also lobbies for the gambling industry to bring back dog racing and the gambling industry also exploits the vulnerable and causes misery to people. A recent survey estimated annually £75 million is betted on dog racing by people with a gambling problem.
There is no hypocrisy in Stella's support for the dog track. Yes, it's a site for gambling but much of the spending there was on food and drink at the numerous bars and eateries employing hundreds of local people in a happy social atmosphere.

The £1 wagers many 'punters' were placing there at the microtote windows is hardly comparable to the depressing site of addicts getting into debt at street corner bookies with the congregation of street drinkers they attract.
[quote][p][bold]Mark Dawes[/bold] wrote: Stella Creasy is to be commended for her campaign against “legal loan sharks” as the companies do exploit the vulnerable and cause misery to people. However, the point on hypocrisy is a valid one as Stella Creasy also lobbies for the gambling industry to bring back dog racing and the gambling industry also exploits the vulnerable and causes misery to people. A recent survey estimated annually £75 million is betted on dog racing by people with a gambling problem.[/p][/quote]There is no hypocrisy in Stella's support for the dog track. Yes, it's a site for gambling but much of the spending there was on food and drink at the numerous bars and eateries employing hundreds of local people in a happy social atmosphere. The £1 wagers many 'punters' were placing there at the microtote windows is hardly comparable to the depressing site of addicts getting into debt at street corner bookies with the congregation of street drinkers they attract. RichieA70
  • Score: 0

10:37am Thu 22 Nov 12

Cornbeefur says...

There is obviously a demand for these types of premises otherwise they would not exist.

The only way to beat them is to make the Council credit schemes a better deal than these Private Firms.

Sadly, I think people just cannot budget and stretch themselves too far and worry about paying back later
There is obviously a demand for these types of premises otherwise they would not exist. The only way to beat them is to make the Council credit schemes a better deal than these Private Firms. Sadly, I think people just cannot budget and stretch themselves too far and worry about paying back later Cornbeefur
  • Score: 0

11:40am Thu 22 Nov 12

RichieA70 says...

Cornbeefur wrote:
There is obviously a demand for these types of premises otherwise they would not exist.

The only way to beat them is to make the Council credit schemes a better deal than these Private Firms.

Sadly, I think people just cannot budget and stretch themselves too far and worry about paying back later
I expect the credit unions offer a far better deal but they don't have the money to promote themselves/broadcast chirpy TV ads like the Wonga and appear to have a far less abundant presence on the High St.
[quote][p][bold]Cornbeefur[/bold] wrote: There is obviously a demand for these types of premises otherwise they would not exist. The only way to beat them is to make the Council credit schemes a better deal than these Private Firms. Sadly, I think people just cannot budget and stretch themselves too far and worry about paying back later[/p][/quote]I expect the credit unions offer a far better deal but they don't have the money to promote themselves/broadcast chirpy TV ads like the Wonga and appear to have a far less abundant presence on the High St. RichieA70
  • Score: 0

3:14pm Thu 22 Nov 12

Cornbeefur says...

RichieA70 wrote:
Cornbeefur wrote:
There is obviously a demand for these types of premises otherwise they would not exist.

The only way to beat them is to make the Council credit schemes a better deal than these Private Firms.

Sadly, I think people just cannot budget and stretch themselves too far and worry about paying back later
I expect the credit unions offer a far better deal but they don't have the money to promote themselves/broadcast chirpy TV ads like the Wonga and appear to have a far less abundant presence on the High St.
True, I do not know what the credit limit is on the Credit Unions but must be a far better interest rate than these firms and Credit Cards.

They target poorer areas as the best customers can be found there. You get areas like Bakers Arms, where you run the gauntlet of such firms, cash converter type shops, Book Makers and Cheque Exchange shops.

Cllr Loakes wanted to limit Take-Away shops as they promoted unhealthy eating, surely these types of businesses are bad for people's general well being?
[quote][p][bold]RichieA70[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Cornbeefur[/bold] wrote: There is obviously a demand for these types of premises otherwise they would not exist. The only way to beat them is to make the Council credit schemes a better deal than these Private Firms. Sadly, I think people just cannot budget and stretch themselves too far and worry about paying back later[/p][/quote]I expect the credit unions offer a far better deal but they don't have the money to promote themselves/broadcast chirpy TV ads like the Wonga and appear to have a far less abundant presence on the High St.[/p][/quote]True, I do not know what the credit limit is on the Credit Unions but must be a far better interest rate than these firms and Credit Cards. They target poorer areas as the best customers can be found there. You get areas like Bakers Arms, where you run the gauntlet of such firms, cash converter type shops, Book Makers and Cheque Exchange shops. Cllr Loakes wanted to limit Take-Away shops as they promoted unhealthy eating, surely these types of businesses are bad for people's general well being? Cornbeefur
  • Score: 0

7:19pm Fri 23 Nov 12

mdj says...

Credit Unions can only lend £ for £ against their deposits; we can all help our neighbours who need to borrow by depositing what funds we can spare with the CU.There is a small dividend.
But compared with the gearing against deposits that banking rules allow, this is merely a sticking-plaster, sadly.
Wonga and Oakam lend money that they have probably borrowed wholesale from banks that we own or have bailed out, which twists the knife.
The policy of those banks, who have abandoned the micro-lending market to the likes of Wonga, is the cause of this distress. It's a little one-eyed of Ms Creasy, who is sponsored by the Cooperative Party, not to recall that there is a Coop Bank, which has long abandoned its honourable record of helping people with little money. It preaches virtue, but its lending practices are the same as any other bank.
However vile these lenders are, they only thrive because the rightful competition has gone AWOL.
Credit Unions can only lend £ for £ against their deposits; we can all help our neighbours who need to borrow by depositing what funds we can spare with the CU.There is a small dividend. But compared with the gearing against deposits that banking rules allow, this is merely a sticking-plaster, sadly. Wonga and Oakam lend money that they have probably borrowed wholesale from banks that we own or have bailed out, which twists the knife. The policy of those banks, who have abandoned the micro-lending market to the likes of Wonga, is the cause of this distress. It's a little one-eyed of Ms Creasy, who is sponsored by the Cooperative Party, not to recall that there is a Coop Bank, which has long abandoned its honourable record of helping people with little money. It preaches virtue, but its lending practices are the same as any other bank. However vile these lenders are, they only thrive because the rightful competition has gone AWOL. mdj
  • Score: 0

4:06pm Tue 27 Nov 12

dtmgables says...

Mark Dawes wrote:
Stella Creasy is to be commended for her campaign against “legal loan sharks” as the companies do exploit the vulnerable and cause misery to people. However, the point on hypocrisy is a valid one as Stella Creasy also lobbies for the gambling industry to bring back dog racing and the gambling industry also exploits the vulnerable and causes misery to people. A recent survey estimated annually £75 million is betted on dog racing by people with a gambling problem.
Ridiculous to even attempt to compare the two!!!
[quote][p][bold]Mark Dawes[/bold] wrote: Stella Creasy is to be commended for her campaign against “legal loan sharks” as the companies do exploit the vulnerable and cause misery to people. However, the point on hypocrisy is a valid one as Stella Creasy also lobbies for the gambling industry to bring back dog racing and the gambling industry also exploits the vulnerable and causes misery to people. A recent survey estimated annually £75 million is betted on dog racing by people with a gambling problem.[/p][/quote]Ridiculous to even attempt to compare the two!!! dtmgables
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree