Shoppers fight back against loan sharks

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CALDERDALE residents have been testing a new way of buying basic goods which avoids having to resort to high interest stores and loan sharks.

Pennine Housing is backing the scheme which provides discounts on essential household items including electrical goods and furniture.

The website smarterbuys.org.uk goers live on Monday and will also help shoppers to obtain finance from local credit unions.

It is aimed at social housing residents and those on lower incomes, but is free for anyone to use.

Mary Grace Elliot, who lives in a Halifax property managed by Pennine Housing, part of the Together Housing Group, was one of the first people to use the money saving site.

“I agree with something which will encourage people away from loan sharks. I’d give the idea 10 out of 10,” she said.

Tom Miskell, the chief executive of the Together Housing, which is supporting the initiative, said: “We are really excited and enthusiastic about Smarterbuys as we can see the benefits it will bring to our customers.”

Once an item is selected, it will remain in the online shopping basket for up to 15 days, giving the opportunity to seek responsible credit if required.

By typing in their postcode, site users can gain access to a list of nearby credit unions, which are willing to lend funds at sustainable rates.

For those with the money available upfront, payment is possible online with a credit, debit or prepaid card or offline, by printing out a barcode and taking it to a PayPoint or post office.