National pawnbroker closes without warning

Date published: 19 September 2019

A national pawnbroker, which had a store in Rochdale town centre, has closed all its shops and website.

Albemarle & Bond (A&B Pawnbrokers), which had a store on Yorkshire Street, and sister brand Herbert Brown, shut its company last week whilst its website says "this store" has ceased trading.

The website offers no reason as to why the 116 national stores have shut, saying only that a letter has been posted to each affected customer.

A customer notice on the website on behalf of Oxford-based SpeedLoan Finance Limited, which owns the company, told customers, who pawn valuables for cash, that their items would be held at its pawnbroking centre for the duration of the loan.

It said: “Unfortunately, we were unable to contact all customers prior to the closure date. We apologise for any inconvenience this has caused.

“Your pledged item(s) will be held securely in our pawnbroking centre for the duration of the loan.

“If you do not redeem your loan on the agreed date your pledged item(s) may be sold in accordance with your pawnbroking agreement. If your item is sold for a surplus, we will write to inform you how you can receive these funds.”

Ray Perry, Chief Executive of the National Pawnbrokers Association (NPA), of which A&B Pawnbrokers is a member, said: “The NPA has expressed its concern that the communication of their actions to their customers falls below the standards expected of its members.

“In particular we are most unhappy with the fact that customers cannot get through to the helpline. We have demanded that the management of the company resolve this as a matter of urgency and the association will do everything in its power to ensure that customers rights are protected and that they are treated fairly and transparently.

“We have no reason to believe that the customers' pledges are at risk and have been assured that they are being safely held at a central location.

Customers can contact the company on 01865 798114 which is a dedicated hotline.

If customers are not happy with the response from the company, they can contact the Financial Ombudsman Service to complain on 0800 023 4567 or the Financial Conduct Authority customer helpline on 0800 111 6768.

Albemarle & Bond have been approached for comment.

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