Firm that took customers’ keys fined

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A national retailer which took the keys off dozens of customers before handing over household goods has been found guilty of “aggressive and misleading” practices and fined £6,000.

Officials found 50 keys at PerfectHome’s branch in Prospect Street in Hull after it came to light that a council tenant had to hand over her key before they would deliver a hire-purchase TV.

The company targets customers “on smaller incomes and limited credit options” offering weekly, fortnightly and monthly payment plans and is currently advertising 28.5 per cent annual interest rates for 60 inch TVs and “luxury TV beds”.

Trading Standards visited the branch in September 2013 and traced customers who confirmed that the store demanded keys before goods were delivered.

Following a trial at Hull Magistrates, Temple Finance Ltd, which trades as PerfectHome, and has 67 stores in the UK, was found guilty of offences contravening the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations, fined £6,000 and ordered to pay £10,000 costs.

PerfectHome finance director Alaric Smith said: “We respectfully disagree with the Magistrates Court’s verdict and will be appealing. The issues in the case arose in 2013, are not and never have been routine practice, and were entirely inconsistent with company policy.”