UPDATE – November 2023
- Amigo says it has now issued 45% of decisions
- Amigo has been deleting a lot of loans from all three credit reference agencies
- If your loans have been cleared, this is probably because your claim will be upheld. But this isn’t definite until you get the claim decision.
UPDATE – Amigo Update – October 2023
- Amigo has only issued 38% of decisions. It says almost all the rest should be issued by the end of December and they will all be issued by end January
- the process to remove CCJs will continue to March
- Amigo is confident the payout percentage will not be less than 17%
UPDATE – October 2023
- it is now clear that Amigo not going to pay many borrowers where the loan has been upheld as unaffordable but the guarantor made some payments. This is ethically wrong and entirely unexpected – redress from mis-sold guarantor loans has never been handled like, by Amigo before the Scheme or by the ombudsman. You can appeal but it isn’t clear that this will succeed.
- the best estimate of the percentage payout is still at 17% but this can still change.
- Amigo now says: “We expect that the initial cash payment to customers will be in early 2024. We are unable to confirm the dividend and make interim payments until almost all claims have been decisioned in full, causing the delay from November, as previously expected. The final payment will be delayed until late 2024 (around the time that the business enters liquidation).”
UPDATE – September 2023
- the first rejections for current loans are going out. If this loan has caused you problems, appeal a rejection. Winning an appeal will get your guarantor released, your balance reduced or cleared and your credit record repaired.
UPDATE – August 2023
- the first UPHOLD decisions are at long last being issued
- if only some of your loans have been upheld, look at an appeal. The first person has reported winning an appeal.
- some loans have been sold to Lantern. In most cases these are loans where neither the borrower or the guarantor made a claim.
UPDATE – March 2023
- Amigo has announced it cannot raise the money from shareholders so it will be liquidated
- this Scheme continues in “Fallback Mode” – see Amigo to close & Scheme goes into Fallback for details
- it is now expected that Amigo the first payments may be made in late 2023 and there may be a second, smaller payment in 2024.
- so far the prediction is still that 17p in the £ may be paid out – this may change.
UPDATE – December 2023
- The deadline for making claims to the Amigo Scheme was 26 November 2022. It is now too late to make a claim.
Amigo’s Scheme – the background
Amigo’s Scheme of Arrangement is now in operation after it was approved by the court on 23 May 2022.
The Scheme was proposed because Amigo couldn’t afford to carry on paying full refunds to its borrowers and guarantors who were winning affordability complaints.
Amigo had proposed a different Scheme in 2020 that was rejected in 2021. Amigo has now spent nearly a year getting its current Scheme proposed. For more details on the first Scheme, why it was rejected, how the second Scheme is different, and the voting on the second Scheme, see Articles on Amigo Schemes.
In the Scheme, Amigo makes the decision about whether your claim should be upheld. If it is rejected or only upheld for some of your loans, you can appeal this decision to the Independent Scheme Adjudicator. You cannot appeal to the Financial Ombudsman.
Which loans and customers are covered by the Scheme?
All loans made by Amigo before 2021, including those under its previous brand name FLM, are included in the Scheme. For loans that were settled more than seven years ago, Amigo may no longer have the loan details. You can still complain about these older loans but it may be necessary for you to produce evidence about them.
Both borrowers and guarantors could make a claim to the Scheme.
Amigo has started lending again with a pilot scheme under a new brand, Reward Rate. Any complaints about new loans will not be covered by the Scheme and customers will be able to make a complaint about them as normal – first to Amigo and then to the Financial Ombudsman.
The definition of “unaffordable”
A loan is only “affordable” if at the time the loan was given, it was likely that you could repay it on time and still be able to pay your other debts, bills and everyday living expenses.
If paying Amigo left you so short of money you had to borrow more or you got behind with bills then it was “unaffordable”. This often happened with Amigo loans as many borrowers were desperate to try to protect their guarantor.
Amigo should have checked that a loan would be affordable for both the borrower and the guarantor. For a guarantor, this would mean that they could make all the repayments out of their income and still be able to pay their own debts, bills and living costs. A guarantor who had a house may not have had enough spare income to repay the loan so it was unaffordable.
But Amigo’s affordability checks were very poor. That’s why they were losing 88% of cases at the Financial Ombudsman.
Amigo often offered top up loans and the checks on these weren’t any better, even though people were getting deeper into debt. Repaying the first Amigo loan may have left you in financial difficulty, so a top up loan may have appeared to be a good option, even though it made your debt situation worse.
What will you get if you win the claim?
When Amigo upholds a claim, it will tell you what the “redress” calculated is.
Redress for a borrower
For a borrower with a repaid loan, redress will be:
- a refund of the interest they paid on the loan;
- plus 8% statutory interest;
- Amigo is making a deduction if your guarantor made any payments. If your guarantor has also made a claim, they should be refunded. If they haven’t then no one is being refunded for these amounts. You can appeal this decision, which is ethically very wrong, but it is not clear it you will win.
For a borrower with a current loan, redress will be:
- a refund of any interest if they have repaid more than the amount borrowed plus 8% statutory interest, otherwise, their balance will be reduced;
- their guarantor will be released;
- if there is still a balance after the reduction, you can make a lower affordable payment arrangement to clear it.
In addition, any problems on your credit record will be removed for loans that are upheld. This will include having any CCJ removed (the legal term is set aside) and removing the default showing on the debt with Intrum if your debt was sold.
Redress for a guarantor that has made a claim
A guarantor’s redress is the full amount they have paid to a loan, not just the interest, plus 8% statutory interest. And if there is a current loan, they will be released as guarantor.
Previously it had been expected that guarantors would be refunded if a borrower won a claim that the loan was unaffordable even if the guarantor had not made a claim. It has now become clear that Amigo is refusing to make some payments to either the borrower or the guarantor in this situation.
8% statutory interest
This number is NOT 8% of the interest you should get refunded.
It is 8% per year from the time of the repayments until 28 February 2022. So if your loan was settled several years before 2022, you may get 20% or more added.
Don’t ask me why February 2022… that is what it says in the full Explanatory Statement. In many ways this doesn’t matter – if the date was later, the toal amount of refunds calculated would be larger so the percentage paid out in the end would be lower.
You will only get a % of this redress
That redress figure may look great. But you are not going to be paid that amount, just a percentage of it.
Amigo originally estimated that at 41p in the £. If your full redress is say £3,000 that would have meant you will be paid 41% of that – £1,230. But a lot more people made claims than Amigo expected – 210,000. That has reduced the amount you might get to 20p in the £.
And with the March 2023 announcement that Amigo has failed to raise the money from shareholders, there will be less cash to be refunded. The amount is now expected to be about 17p in the £.
So from a calculated redress of £3,000 you may get £510.
Exception – full refund for “continuing payments”
Some customers will get a “full refund” of certain payments they made to the loan provided that they have repaid at least the amount they borrowed and their claim is uphed. These customers are due a full refund of payments:
- from 1 December 2021, if they had complained on or before that date;
- from the date they complained, if that was between 1 December 2021 and 26 May 2022; or
- from 26 May 2022, if they did not complain before the Scheme started.
This is set out in full in 6.33 of the Explanatory Statement.
The purpose of this is so that if your claim results in a refund, payments you made after the relevant date will be refunded in full provided that you have repaid more than the amount you borrowed. For a guarantor getting a refund, the “repaid more than you borrowed” test does not apply.
Here are three borrower examples:
- a borrower who made a complaint in March 2021 (so before 1 December 2021) and who at 1 December 2021 had already paid back more than they had borrowed will get a full refund of payments they made after 1 December 2021
- a borrower who made a complaint in March 2022 (so after 1 December 2021) and who in March 2022 had already paid back more than they had borrowed will get a full refund of payments they made after that date
- a borrower who made a claim to the Scheme in September 2022 (so after the Scheme had started) who by 26 May 2022 had already paid back more than they had borrowed, will get a full refund of payments they made after 26 May 2022.
What happens after you make a claim
The deadline for making a claim has now passed
Is your complaint upheld?
The first stage in getting a refund is for Amigo to decide whether to uphold your complaint. The steps in doing this are
- Amigo will decide which loans are “unaffordable”. They will use the details of your loans and other information they have in their records, plus any evidence you have sent in.
- Amigo will then calculate the redress on the unaffordable loans.
- You will be told which loans were unaffordable and what the total redress is. If you think more loans were unaffordable, you can appeal this.
Keep an eye on your claim
When you have made a claim, you may not hear anything for months.
Amigo may send you an email when they have decided your claim saying you can log in to the portal and see the result.
But it is a good idea to check the portal every month or so even if you haven’t had an email. They may have sent you an email that you missed as it went into spam.
You can also look at the comments below this article and see if other people have heard anything.
It’s important that you know as soon as your claim has been decided as there will be a time limit for sending in an appeal.
Working out how much people will get
When Amigo have decided all the claims and appeals they can then add up the total amount of redress. They then divide that amount by the money they have to distribute – this gives the “pence in the £” amount they will pay.
This will probably be done in two stages. There will be a first, larger payment possibly in late 2023. And then a small payment in 2024 to pay out the remaining money.
Current loans – should you carry on paying?
Have you repaid more than you borrowed? Then you can ask Amigo if you can pause paying until your claim is decided. See the right of Equitable Set Off for details about this. The big advantage for many people is that they won’t ask your guarantor to pay. The only real disadvantage is that it will harm your credit record – but that may already be poor and any damage will be removed if you win your claim.
If you haven’t paid that much so Amigo won’t let you do this, then if the repayments are unaffordable you need to talk to your guarantor about your options. See the pros and cons of stopping paying Amigo for details.
Should you appeal a decision?
If your claim has been rejected or only partially upheld With some loans upheld and some rejected – you can appeal this decision.
You are the one who knows how much trouble the Amigo loan caused you.
The first Amigo decision will probably have been an automated “Computer says Yes/No” decision – they have had 200,000 complaints to decide. But in the appeal process, this will be looked at by a human.
You should also appeal if you don’t agree with the numbers given. If you think you had more loans than were listed. If you don’t know why the Total Cash Claim Value is less than the other numbers suggest.
Get more loans upheld
Getting more loans upheld will:
- increase the cash you are paid, or reduce the balance you owe
- if you get earlier loans upheld, the extra 8% added amount will also increase
- if your current loan is upheld, your guarantor will be released.
If you have bank statements or any other evidence about your finances at the time you took a loan, include that with your appeal. These will help your case.
Getting more loans upheld will also clean any problems on them from your credit record.
If your credit report is wrong at the moment eg because Amigo did not add a default when you stopped paying, then it is important that in your appeal you say why the loan should be upheld. BUT ALSO say that if the loan is not upheld, you want a default date added to your credit record back in month/year “in accordance with the SCOR reporting rules”. Defaults drop off your credit record after 6 years – a non-defaulted debt will stay on your credit record for 6 years after the date it is settled.
HOW TO APPEAL
If you think the numbers are wrong, say why.
If you think more loans should be upheld: Get bank statement for 3 months before the loan started – these are the best evidence that a loan is unaffordable. You can get these going back at least 6 years even from closed accounts. Don’t assume you won’t be able to, ask for these immediately from your bank. If the loans are more than 6 years old and the bank account has been closed, look at what other evidence you have – payslips, P60s, tax returns, emails about missed payments or CCJs etc
Download & send a current credit report, eg TransUnions’ Statutory Report. If you have had loans deleted from your record because of winning other affordability complaints, send Amigo evidence about these.
Explain about recent problems before the loan application – only on benefits, health issues, gambling, economic abuse, recent missed payments, payments arrangements, DMP etc
And if you were topping up a previous loan, explain how that loan made your situation worse.
If all of your loans have been upheld and the numbers look right
You have no reason to appeal this decision just because you will only be paid a percentage of this. This would not get you any further money.
You should log in to the portal, accept the decision and give your bank account details.
Sale of loans to Lantern
In August and September 2023 some people have been notified that their loan has been sold to Lantern, a debt collector. The sale of loans to a debt collector is perfectly legal and you can’t challenge this.
In most cases these were loans where no one had made a claim to the scheme. If your loan has been sold and you had made a claim to the Scheme which has not been assessed, ask Amigo why.
The loans are being sold as guarantor loans – the guarantor has not been released and if the borrower doesn’t make an arrangement to pay the guarantor will probably be asked to.
We don’t yet know how “reasonable” Lantern will be in accepting low arrangements to pay. If you or your guarantor has a problem, leave a comment below here but also talk to a good debt adviser – your local Citizens Advice or if you prefer the phone National Debtline on 0808 808 4000.
Any questions or comments?
Here are Amigo’s contact details.
Or you can ask them in the comments below if you would like to know what other customers are doing.