My article on credit card affordability explains when you should make a complaint and has a free template letter to use.
Some people have two credit cards from the same lender. Or two catalogue accounts from the same lender.
The most common lenders this affects are:
- Newday – brand names include Aqua, Marbles and Fluid;
- Capital One – some people have been given two Capital One cards. Others also have an Ocean Finance card, which is issued by Capital One;
- Vanquis – also uses the brand name Thimbl;
- JD Williams – brand names include Fashion World, Jacomo, Simply Be, Premier Man;
- Shop Direct – uses the Very and Littlewoods brand names
- Freemans – also uses the Grattan, Curvissa, Look Again and Kaleidoscope brand names.
So how does this affect a claim if you have two cards or accounts from the same lender to complain about?
It can make it easier to complain about the second card
The card issuer should have taken into account what it already knows about your credit card usage when it decided to give you a second – or third or more – card.
It can help if you remember which card you had first. Looking at your credit report will often show this.
So if you had an Aqua card first, and it had a large balance and you were only making minimum payments, that would suggest that Newday should not have given you a Marbles or Fluid card.
One reader got an Aqua card in 2018 and was then given a Fluid card a few years later. At that point her Aqua card was maxed out and she had three other credit cards with very high utilisation. The Fluid card had a low limit at the start, but Newday then increased it several times.
Make a single complaint about both cards
Don’t make two separate complaints, make one complaint covering both cards. You want the lender to look at the combined situation.
In some situations, a credit limit of £300 on a new Fluid card may have been reasonable as it is intended as a credit builder card
But in the example above, the borrower had an Aqua card and was using almost all of the large limit. So Newday should have seen she was only making minimum payments and she was using the Aqua card for essentials such as food and petrol. In that situation they should not have given her a second card at all.
The borrower here should ask for a full refund of all the interest and charges on the second card as it should never have been given.
If the lender only replies about one account
Sometimes lenders don’t seem to read a complaint properly. They spot the word affordability and the name of a card and don’t read the rest of it. Then you may get a response which only talks about one of the cards and ignores the other.
If this happens to you, go back to the lender and ask for a full response covering both cards.
Going to the ombudsman?
Lenders often reject good claims or make a poor offer. Make sure you read the section in How to get refunds from catalogues and credit cards about partial settlements. Because sometimes this can turn out to be a much lower refund than you might expect.
If the lender makes a satisfactory response on one card but not on the other, you can tell the lender that you accept their decision for one account and will go to the Financial Ombudsman (FOS) for the other.
The Ombudsman’s online form is the simplest way to send FOS a complaint. In this explain that you complained to the lender about cards X and Y, and which complaints you want FOS to look at. This could be both of them or just one, eg you were happy with their response about X but not about Y, so you want FOS to look into the Y account you were given as it was unaffordable.
Tell the Ombudsman about your borrowing from this lender
Make it clear to the ombudsman what the sequence of borrowing was. This doesn’t have to be in detail – FOS will get all the dates from the lender – but just give the big picture.
Here are a couple of examples:
- I had had card X for several years, only making minimum payments and my balance increased, then I got card Y in 2019. At that point I think the lender should have seen I was already struggling with card X. I was close to the card limit and only making the minimum payments. My credit record would have shown my increasing debt levels. I don’t think I should have been given card Y and my situation was so bad that at that point I think the lender should have offered me forbearance on card X as well.
- I opened these two accounts in 2017. At the start it was manageable. But the lender offered me increases on both accounts and soon making the monthly payments was difficult. There was no chance of me clearing the balances. I think this was irresponsible. The lender should have realised that I was already in difficulty and offered me forbearance on both accounts, not increased my credit limit without checking it was affordable.