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Another indicator that the UK financial crisis isn't dead hits mailboxes

BIScom Subsection: 
Editorial Staff

As if the crisis in retail isn't a sign that the global financial crisis, and the UK's part in it, isn't over, the news from manufacturing and other sectors of large-scale redundancies, non-renewal of contracts for term-staff and closures or restructuring of businesses in non-high street retail isn't enough, mailboxes are being spammed with one of the earliest signs of a financial crisis, threatening to ensure that recovery is a long way off. At the forefront is a spam promoting SAGA, the company that is supposedly the elderly's best friend.

The high street might be in crisis but it's the "ring road" warehouse style shops that are currently making news in terms of retailers falling foul of the shortage of money. It's always been the same ever since Comet first put its warehouses (without any showroom space) in secondary locations. MFI, (jokingly-ish) said to stand for "made for idiots" was the pre-cursor for IKEA, having its flat-packed product made anywhere a penny could be saved. Have you ever tried building a bookcase with the instructions only in Polish? Of course, in the UK these days, there are many Poles to help but in 1979, no. You were on you own. MFI has gone down, in various guises, several times over the decades. Last week, a director of Toys R Us in the UK said that the basic problem was that the warehouse concept had had its day: he admitted that people are moving back to wanting to shop in smaller, specialist shops.

Australian company Bunnings is the latest owner of the white elephant that is Homebase: it's regretting the decision. Trying to build a business to compete with the only game in town, B&Q, on price alone isn't going to work. But what it has done is eat into B&Q which, as the housing market tightens, is seeing its own profits come under pressure.

It's the tightening of cash that always leads to dodgy mortgage deals, to low-start, self-certification and equity release schemes. It was the same that led to the UK's financial crisis in the 1990s and to the USA's financial crisis in 2006 that went global in 2007 and is still having an adverse effect around the world.

And so, as we see the effects of a reduction in disposable income with companies blaming everything from Brexit to consumers sitting on their wallets (savings figures don't support this although building up a stock of rainy-day money would be a very good idea) the end result is this: mortgage spams are back.

Today's scam (we are confident in this because of a lie in the mail and as soon as there's a lie, so far as we are concerned, the mail is fraudulent) is sent by someone trying to sell remortgages by SAGA, the company that specialised in services for the over sixties which has now expanded its range to the over fifties. It's gone from, largely, a travel company to a financial services business and now, the spam says, it is ready to undertake equity release loans.

Equity release loans are, in many, many cases, a really bad idea. To find out why, just search and see the examples of schemes gone wrong, families in poverty and so on.

The e-mail is headed "Saga Personal Finance with Surf4Group" from a mailing address "Saga@dm.surf4group.com" and a reply address as "reply@surf4group.com" The copy we have is bizarre: it's addressed to an individual at a corporate address but the only interpretation of that mail is that it is a mail addressed to an individual in his personal, not business, capacity. Moreover, the mail body contains an identifier for a different person - and this identifier has been seen, over the years, in other spams proving that this mail is sent to a traded mailing list.

It says "Release the power of your property

Keep doing what you love with equity release

Saga (there is then a link which does not go to SAGA.

Equity Release Advice Service

0800 051 5635
Mon - Fri 9am-5pm
Calls may be monitored or recorded

Tap to call

Keep doing what you love with equity release

Use our calculator (link is not to SAGA)

Dear [name removed]

If there’s something you’ve been dreaming of doing and want to find the funds to do it, the Saga Equity Release Advice Service, provided by HUB Financial Solutions Limited, could help you.

And right now there are some exciting offers available.

Lump Sum Plus Lifetime Mortgage £2,500 cashback offer

The offer is only available to customers aged 55-75 You must be a homeowner in England, Scotland or Wales, with a property worth at least £70,000 Minimum initial release of £50,000 Applications must be received by 30 June 2018.

£2,500 cashback offer

The Saga Equity Release Plan - lowest ever interest rate 4.5% AER
Plus £425 paid towards your legal fees
Available exclusively through the Saga Equity Release Advice Service

4.5% AER

Offers are subject to recommendation by your adviser and can be changed or withdrawn at any time. The Saga Equity Release Plan and the Just Lump Sum Plus Lifetime Mortgage are secured against your home. Equity release will reduce the value of your estate, ask your adviser for more details.

Find out how much tax free cash you could release.
Calculate now
[link not to SAGA]

If you are 55 or over and own a home in the UK worth at least £70,000, you could be eligible for equity release. Call 0800 ...... today to arrange your appointment with an adviser and find out if we can help you to keep doing the
things you love and start doing what you’ve always wanted to.

More information [link not to SAGA]
Email us [link not to SAGA]
Follow SAGA [link not to SAGA]

The Saga Equity Release Advice Service is provided by HUB Financial Solutions Limited, who will pay us an introductory fee if you decide to take out a plan. The Saga Equity Release Plan and the Lump Sum Plus Lifetime Mortgage are provided by Just.

Saga Personal Finance is a registered trading name of Saga Personal Finance Limited, which is registered in England and Wales (Company No. 3023493). Registered office: Enbrook Park, Sandgate, Folkestone, Kent CT20 3SE.

Saga Personal Finance Limited, HUB Financial Solutions Limited and Just are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
Contact us [link to the spam domain]

© 2018 Saga


You have received this email because your details have been registered with us or one of our partners.

We are committed to protecting your privacy - should you not wish to receive emails from TODC and our partners, please click here to opt-out [link to spammer's domain]
For more information, please view our privacy notice [link to spammer's domain]

Sent to you by The Original Data Company Ltd, PO Box 704, Rochester, ME1 9NB.

Ignoring the legal questions arising from this spam, by far the most important is this: spams promoting mortgages always, always, always build a year or so before the banks notice there is a crisis looming and that's usually about six months before the government notices. One spam does not a trend make but this is not the first UK orientated mortgage spam we've had recently. We can assume that we get only a fraction of those that are circulating.

Set alongside all the other indicators that are present, this suggests that there is not only the structural weakness in the retail and commercial property sectors we've been pointing out for a decade, but also an indicator that there is expected to be a tightening of credit.

The UK's multiple dip recession isn't over, and it's never been over. The temporary respite is coming to an end. It's got nothing to do with Brexit and nothing to do with the present government. It's all to do with weak fundamentals in the economy and the simple truth that many people are learning to live within their means, or that their easy credit is already fully utilised.