Cash Converters sent client to debt collectors despite her attempts to work out payment scheme

Cash Converters sent one client to debt collectors for missing her payments during lockdown even though she tried to work out a payment scheme with them.

The woman, whose identity has been protected due to her vulnerability, says she missed one payment and had her payday loan sent to a debt collection agency.

"I felt distressed and helpless," she says.

The woman is a mother and a nursing student. Late last year, she got a loan of about $500 to pay for school books, food and petrol.

She was working casually before the lockdown but had to stop. It had been tough for her, and then she received the debt notice.

"I felt betrayed, I felt humiliated, I felt stressed because I'd spent the past three days calling Cash Converters in regards with my payment and asking for payment arrangements."

She says she was given no warning despite trying to negotiate a payment scheme. 

"Give me a chance to pay off what I owe without treating me like a criminal or someone who is running away from what I owe, because that is not who I am."

The scenario left Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speechless for a moment when she was asked about it during a press conference on Wednesday, but ultimately it didn't surprise her.

"I think it's probably in keeping with the kind of behaviour we've seen from these people in the past and it shouldn't be tolerated… Basic humanity is what I think they should show."

Cash Converters received $808,404 from the Government wage subsidy scheme. Budgeting service FinCap says that should come with social responsibility

"A company receiving a Government subsidy operating under level 4 with a debt collector harassing New Zealanders who are struggling is outrageous," CEO Tim Barnett says.

Cash Converters has responded to the woman's situation saying her story is the opposite of what they do and they promise to investigate.