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'Wonga style' letters sent to graduates on behalf of the Student Loans Company


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It has been claimed that the government's Student Loans Company has sent "Wonga-style" debt collection letters to graduates using a invented company that has made threats about potential legal action.

The Student Loans Company (SLC) is a subsidiary of the government and is held to account by the department for business, innovation and skills (BIS).

The company has appeared to have made up a fake company called 'Smith Lawson and Company Recovery Services' in order to hunt down former students for money that they owed from when they were at university. According to the Daily Mail, the company has been sending out these threatening letters since 2005, meaning that thousands of graduates could have received them.

These accusations have emerged in the light of the accusations against the payday lender Wonga, who also has been accused of sending out threatening letters to its customers. It may now also face a criminal investigation. The OFT ceased to exist earlier this year, with its responsibilities passing to a number of different organisations including the Financial Conduct Authority.

A spokesperson for the SLC said: "The Student Loans Company has a duty to collect every pound that is owed, for the taxpayer.

"The Smith Lawson collection process has been used since 2005 to support collection activities and was mainly used after the initial in-house collections process had been exhausted for customers who had persistently defaulted on their loan repayments and were in arrears for a minimum of three months."

Many of the organisations involved have been contacted but are yet to comment. 

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