Guardian Investigation leads to Wonga admitting wrong-doing by a ‘junior’ employee.
Short-term lender Wonga.com has admitted that a ‘junior’ employee was behind abusive messages sent to the anti-payday loan campaigner Stella Creasy MP on Twitter.
An investigation by the Guardian newspaper (see it here) revealed that tweets describing Ms. Creasy as “Mental” and a “self-serving egomaniac” were made from the offices of the Payday lender. The IP address used was, according to the paper, traced back to the same office as Luke Manning, editor of Wonga’s very own ‘right to reply’ website OpenWonga.com, which features videos of apparently unpaid customers testifying to the usefulness of the lender’s “convenient” loan service, and seeks to offer “clarification” on what Wonga’s astronomical 4214% APR means to the less financially literate.
Wonga has apologised to Stella Creasy, and at her request has agreed to come along to her ‘Family Finances’ day, and to hand out leaflets – quite a result.
The Reputation Consultancy ( link ) published an article citing Wonga’s handling of the whole situation as a perfect example of how not to use social media stating;
While Wonga’s actions would be beyond the pale for virtually all organisations, its approach of trying to hide genuine criticism and shout louder than detractors isn’t so uncommon.
Early signs are Wonga are re-considering their approach. There hasn’t been a peep out of their @Openwonga twitter account since the apology to Stella Creasy was delivered – the account is notable for chasing down anyone criticising Wonga on Twitter and giving an unsolicited response that includes a link to “a different perspective” or “our view” on the OpenWonga.com website.
Seems for Wonga, paying people to shout loudest has back-fired in spectacular style, in a week in which the OFT has announced it is looking into the entire PayDay Loan industry and may be considering regulation, this is the news that Wonga and it’s backers probably didn’t need.