Can you get a refund from Payday UK, Payday Express or The Money Shop? If you had loans from them that you struggled to repay, perhaps rolling the loans or having having to borrow again, then you may be able to win an “affordability complaint”. There are template letters here – that article explains how to ask for a refund of the interest you paid.
These three well known payday lenders are brand names of the same company, Instant Cash Loans Ltd, and they are all taking much the same approach to handling this sort of complaint.
Being difficult about sending out a list of loans
Many people don’t have a list of the loans they took from a lender, so asking for a Statement of Account is usually a good first step.
But Payday UK, Payday Express and the Money Shop don’t seem to like sending these out. The Money Shop told one reader that it wasn’t company policy to send these. And Payday UK and Payday Express seem to have adopted a new approach recently of asking people to write a letter, not an email, asking for this and to pay £1 for the statement.
I think this is very poor delaying behaviour, presumably hoping that some people will just give up and go away. See What to do when a lender won’t send you a list of your loans for more details – the brief version is “put in a complaint anyway without waiting AND report them to their regulator!”
If you are complaining about Money Shop lending, you could also go into your local branch and ask them to print your Customer Transaction History report (all records). This will only work for loans before the end of 2014, when they introduced a different system. Some people have reported success with this.
Unauthorised credit search
Some people are reporting that after complaining to these lenders they get a search on their credit record for a new credit application. For example:
I submitted a request for a statement of account from both Payday UK, and Payday Express on the 18th October. Lo and behold I now have two credit application searches on my credit record for the same date…. I guess I’ll be adding these to my complaint.
These searches can damage your credit score. If you are expecting to make an important credit application soon, you should phone 0330 024 1642 and insist they are removed immediately. Otherwise just email them and say they should delete them and add this to your complaint when it goes to the Ombudsman. Some people have received £100 in compensation for these unauthorised searches.
Not making any offers at all
The typical response from these companies seems to be an email on the last day of the 8 week period they are supposed to respond to complaints in, saying that they haven’t completed their investigation.
Some people have then waited for a month or two and never had a response, or been rejected in the end. “They have had my complaint for 15 weeks now and still say they are not in a position to give me their final response,” one reader said.
It’s not worth hanging on and hoping you will get a reasonable offer from one of these lenders – I suggest you send your complaint to the Ombudsman as soon as the 8 week point has passed. As one reader said in mid May:
“Anyone waiting for a Payday UK or Payday Express response, will be waiting a very long time! I have spoken with them today and they have said that they haven’t even got to January complaints yet – don’t do what I have done and wait in the hope they would respond – go straight to the FO as soon as your 8 weeks is up and don’t waste time like I have done!”
Some customers have reported being offered a refund by Payday UK and the Money Shop with a confidentiality clause attached. This may account for why so few offers seem to be made! The offers I’ve heard of don’t seem to be great – about a quarter or less than of the interest paid – and the customers are taking them to the Financial Ombudsman.
Not communicating with the Ombudsman
Not only do these firms ignore or reject most complaints, but they seem to carry on this policy even when you escalate your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman. For example, these three comments were all given on the same day in May 2016 in reply to someone asking what they should expect now they had complained about Payday UK to the Ombudsman:
- “Mines been with an adjudicator since 14th March with Payday UK and seems to not be progressing anywhere as they haven’t sent relevant info :(“
- “I complained 2nd Jan and has been with adjudicator since march 2nd. Adjudicator asked me for my bank statements 2 weeks ago as they have had no reply at all from Payday UK. Adjudicator said their decision would be solely down to my bank statements, with the lender not replying.”
- “I had a positive reply today from adjudicator stating all loans were unaffordable and they should have seen the other two payday loans on my credit file and they aided the spiral of debt. He has also said how disappointed he is with Payday UK for not replying to me and to him in stated time and advised £150 compensation in addition to refunding all interest, charges and 8%.”
The comments about Payday Express and The Money Shop are similar. In one Money Shop case the adjudicator said there should be a refund of all interest paid since 2010 – Money Shop decided to only offer a refund of the loans taken out in 2012, a lot less. Unsurprisingly the customer turned this down and the case then went to the Ombudsman, who upheld what the adjudicator had said and the customer got her refund over £1,200, including an extra £75 for the delay and trouble.
Several readers have commented that the adjudicators seem to be pretty fed up about this. It’s their job to be fair, they have to wait weeks to give the lender a chance to reply. But if the lender doesn’t reply, the decision will be made based on what you have said and the evidence you have about your loans, from emails or your bank statements. Don’t worry if you don’t have your old bank statements, the Ombudsman may be able to help you get them.
Good refunds in the end
My notes show people getting refunds of a thousand pounds or more from their complaints – the highest payout so far is over £6,000. So this may take some time, but it can be well worth it in the end.
March 2017 – starting to pay out on loans over 6 years old
In March 2017 there have been several reports from readers of the Ombudsman making Payday UK and Payday Express pay out on loans which are over six years old. Also one where the Money Shop offered a full refund on all cheque borrowing including older loans before it was sent to the Ombudsman and another where the Money Shop have accepted an adjudicator’s decision for a full refund of loans between 2009 and 2011. So if the first response you get from one of these lenders says they won’t consider your older loans, just ignore this and send your complaint to the ombudsman.
Had a small refund without asking?
In 2016 Payday UK sent out some refunds, directly into people’s bank. These are computer-generated and only refer to one or two of your loans. You may still have a good case for complaining about your other loans from them.
Do you think your complaint was handled fairly?
If you do get a good refund, you may still feel cross about the way Payday UK, Payday Express or the Money Shop has handled your complaint. Firms are supposed to have fair complaints procedures in place… if the words that come to your mind are “obstructive” and “difficult” rather than “fair”, then you could consider sending their regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority an email saying how poor you this the complaints handling has been.
There is more about how to do this at the bottom of this article about Quick Quid – it won’t get you any more money, but it’s one simple email to write, not the start of another protracted process.