Mobile shopping trucks 'piranhas' targeting the vulnerable

Mobile shopping trucks 'piranhas' targeting the vulnerable
Photo credit: File

Mobile trucks charging exorbitant prices for food and household goods are "preying on the vulnerable," a budgeting service says.

The trucks hook in the poor with offers of no-interest repayments, but the goods come with a hefty mark-up, Darryl Evans of Mangere Budging Services Trust says.

He's seen markups of 500 percent - laptops at the beginning of the school year sold for four or five times the retail price and loaves of bread from the Warehouse sold for $4 or $5, instead of the usual $1.

He's been fighting the presence of the trucks, which he calls "piranhas", in the suburbs he works in for years.

"Twenty years ago there were one or two trucks. Now there are 50 or 60, predominantly in poor communities," he said.

"People go there purely out of frustration and purely out of desperation."

It's an issue the Government has been aware of for some time - and something Kris Faafoi, the Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister, aims to tackle this year.

"I am extremely concerned about predatory and irresponsible lending practices on vulnerable people. I have been clear that addressing this is a priority for me which is why we have quickly progressed a review of consumer credit and finance," he told Newshub.

"I intend to have legislation progressed this year, because I am not going to sit by and watch vulnerable people continue to be subject to the predatory practices," he said.

Mr Faafoi said the trucks will be part of a consumer finance review. It's expected to consult on debt collection methods, interest rate caps and false and misleading claims.


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