MP “attacked by Wonga staff”: called “mental” after questioning payday loans
- Labor MP Stella Creasy tagged ‘nuts’ and ‘delusional self-publicist’ on Twitter
- Online slurs after MP accused payday loan company of “legal loan spoofing”
- Company computers ‘also used to remove reviews from its Wikipedia page’
Apology: Staff at payday loan company Wonga called shadow Home Affairs Minister Stella Creasy (pictured) “mental” in anonymous Twitter attack
Staff at controversial payday loan company Wonga called an MP campaigning against the company in an anonymous Twitter attack “mental.”
Stella Creasy, a shadow Home Affairs minister, has also been called a “madman”, “delusional self-publicist” and “selfish selfish” in messages from a now-closed Twitter account tracing back to company offices.
The online slurs came after she accused Wonga of “legal loan sharking” for offering short-term loans of up to £ 1,000 with a typical annual interest rate of 4,214%.
The company’s computers were also reportedly used to post anonymous comments on blogs criticizing its practices and to remove reviews from its Wikipedia page.
Wonga admitted that a staff member posted the offensive tweets, but stressed that the comments were not allowed by them and appeared to be from an “overzealous” employee.
The Twitter account was operated on behalf of @ DanielSargant1, but it was shut down shortly after a reporter asked Wonga where it came from.
No one with that name would work at the company, but an online comment on a blog using the same name would have been made from an IP address – a unique set of numbers similar to a phone number that computers communicate with. . each other – based in Wonga’s London offices.
We’re sorry: Wonga apologized to Dr Creasy for the tweets accusing her of being a “delusional auto-publicist”
The same IP address was used to modify the company’s Wikipedia profile, it was reported.
“In this job sometimes when people want to have you, they’re really there for you. Wonga admits to trolling me ‘
Stella Creasy, Labor MP
Dr Creasy, Labor MP for Walthamstow, said: “Wonga has been less than positive about the arguments I have made on cost caps [of short-term loans] and have been the most vocal and aggressive in defending the industry as a whole. ‘
Dr Creasy has been a vocal critic of payday loan companies since his election in 2010.
She helped organize rallies, set up a website, and lead pickets outside cash lending shops as part of the protest.
Changes: David Cameron told MPs yesterday that the Office of Fair Trading will have new powers to suspend the credit licenses of dishonest payday loan companies to protect customers
After receiving an apology from the company, she tweeted, “In this job, sometimes when people want to have you, they’re really there for you. Wonga admits to trolling me.
However, Wonga maintains that “an unauthorized junior employee” is responsible for the attacks.
Total loans granted by Wonga quadrupled to nearly 2.5 million in 2011 after it started accepting applications through a mobile phone app, pushing profits from £ 12.4 million to £ 45.8 million of books.
The company insists it is providing a valuable service in helping people access cash quickly until they are paid.
But critics accused him of taking advantage of the desperation caused by the soaring cost of living and the wage freeze.
A spokesperson for Wonga said if they found the employee who posted the comments offensive, they would face “serious disciplinary action.”
She added, “This is an issue that Wonga takes very seriously, as we are committed to being open and transparent. We are now conducting a full investigation.
She said Wonga regularly reviews her Wikipedia entry, but added: “We will not attempt to remove specific material, even if it is negative.
“To be clear, we do not tolerate any form of deceptive or aggressive behavior, online or offline.”
It came as David Cameron told MPs yesterday that the Office of Fair Trading will have new powers to suspend the credit licenses of dishonest payday loan companies in order to protect customers.