BEARSDEN MSP Fiona McLeod is urging people feeling the financial squeeze not to get caught out by pay-day loans.
Many companies have sprung up offering short-term lending - but with exorbitant interest rates.
Ms McLeod and East Dunbartonshire Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB) are urging people to know their rights if they are tempted - especially with Christmas on the way.
Most pay-day lenders have agreed to comply with a new Good Practice Charter aimed at curbing abuse.
Ms McLeod said: “Pay-day loans are not suitable for everyone but are advertised as the answer to everyone’s cash problems – tiding you over till your next payday.
“I welcome the new Good Practice Charter as it reminds lender that they are obligated to check what debts and financial responsibilities an individual has before lending them any short term cash.
“The loans can have very high interest rates and end up costing you a lot more than you can afford.
“You can read the Charter in detail on the Citizen Advice website, but more importantly if you feel you have been unfairly treated by a payday lender or if the company isn’t following the Charter, CAB will help you make a complaint. “They would like you to complete a survey – also on their website – on your experiences of dealings with pay-day loan companies.
“Its also important to know that there are other – cheaper – alternatives to getting a handle on your money problems.
“Citizen Advice has a money advice service both on their website and in their offices.
“Pay-day loans may look like the only answer in a crisis if you have a poor credit rating or significant debts – but advice is always on hand to give you ALL your options.’
Catherine Bradley, Manager of East Dunbartonshire CAB said: “We are already seeing clients who have taken out a pay-day loan and quickly found themselves in trouble as the interest rate makes the amount spiral out of control, they are then often encouraged to take another loan.”