Rent-to-own giant BrightHouse is close to collapse, the BBC understands, putting 2,400 jobs at risk.
The company is expected to fall into administration on Monday after facing an influx of compensation claims for selling to people who could not repay.
Stricter lending rules had put the business under strain long before shops were closed owing to coronavirus.
BrightHouse has 200,000 customers and is the largest operator in the rent-to-own sector.
Rent-to-own customers make monthly payments for household items, in effect renting goods until they have paid in full. Many are on low incomes and find it difficult to access credit from mainstream lenders to pay for fridges, TVs, washing machines and other electrical items.
What should customers do?
BrightHouse customers, about a third of whom are in work, will continue with payments, even if the company goes…