RENT-TO-OWN giant BrightHouse came under fire from councillors for “ripping people off” as a review into a Teesside credit union was launched. 

The criticism came as a Stockton Council probe began on Monday into how the Tees Credit Union was performing for vulnerable people needing loans, banking services and savings accounts.

But attention turned to the high street firm at the latest people select committee.

Cllr Barry Woodhouse, member for Billingham Central, called Britain’s biggest rent-to-own retailer “unbelievable”. 

He added: “My wife’s auntie was was going to buy a washer from BrightHouse. Fortunately, I managed to stop her before she got there.”

Chairwoman Cllr Jean O’Donnell said the name “BrightHouse” sent a “shock right through her”. 

She added: “My maths are absolutely rubbish but even I could work out from a notice they had in the window that it wasn’t a good offer. 

“Shocking – I don’t know how they prosper.”

Meanwhile, Cllr Mohammed Javed, member for Parkfield and Oxbridge, wanted to ensure the credit union offered a better deal than the firm. 

He added: “They are really ripping people off – we don’t want to even compare the credit union to BrightHouse.” 

BrightHouse has been a high street name since 2002 supplying household goods such as TVs and washing machines.

It was rapped by the Financial Conduct Authority in 2017 and ordered to pay £14.8m to 249,000 customers.

The firm did not wish to comment on the criticisms from the committee.

The council’s main review will look at how the Tees Credit Union is performing on the back of its merger with Moneywise in 2017.

The not-for-profit co-operative offers personal loans, pay-day loans, and savings accounts.

It operates in a similar way to high street banks but offers services for those in financial hardship who might be turned away from a traditional bank.

The review will look at how the Tees Credit Union supports the most vulnerable people in the borough, including refugees and asylum seekers. 

Committee members will take hear more evidence in January.