Payday loan firm Yes Loans has had its licence revoked after using "deceitful and oppressive business practices", the trading watchdog said today.
Yes Loans arranged expensive short-term loans for some consumers rather than the products they were initially asking about and misled consumers into believing it was a loan provider rather than a credit broker, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) found.
The broker, one of the biggest of its kind in the UK, used "high pressure" sales tactics to persuade consumers to give their card details on the false premise that they were needed for security checks, the watchdog said.
Yes Loans also deducted brokerage fees without making it clear that a fee was payable and sometimes did this without customers' consent.
The watchdog has decided that two associated businesses, Blue Sky Personal Finance and Money Worries Limited, are also unfit to hold a consumer credit licence.
Yes Loans "belatedly" made some changes to the way it operated following an OFT investigation, including no longer charging fees up front.
But the watchdog said that "the evidence of prolonged engagement in deceitful and oppressive business practices, and the continuing presence of some of the staff responsible for running the businesses, makes them unfit to hold a consumer credit licence".
David Fisher, director of consumer credit at the OFT, said: "We will take decisive action to tackle businesses that fail to treat people properly, especially the most vulnerable.
"This action also makes it clear that belatedly changing business practices when facing the prospect of enforcement action by the OFT does not make a company fit to hold a credit licence."