If you had loans from Wonga that you struggled to repay, perhaps having to borrow again because you couldn’t afford the Wonga payment and get through the next month, then your loan may have been “unaffordable”. You can ask for a refund of the interest you paid, see Getting a payday loan refund which has the template letters you need and explains what to do.
Wonga is the largest payday lender and it is getting a LOT of these affordability complaints. The Financial Ombudsman is upholding Wonga complaints – their recent statistics show that they are agreeing with the customer in a massive 77% of complaints. Here are some 2017 decisions so you can see the type of thing the Ombudsman looks at, there are many others:
- Wonga rejected a complaint on 5 loans, the Ombudsman said they should refund all except the first;
- Wonga offered a refund on loans 8-24 out of 27 loans, Ombudsman said should refund 25 loans, all after the first two;
- Wonga rejected a complaint on 15 loans, Ombudsman said there should be a refund on 11 of them.
Friendly … but not fast
Wonga have a reputation for being pleasant about handling these complaints. Even if they reject your complaint they aren’t rude or antagonistic like a few lenders.They will send you a statement of your account without trying to charge you for it, but it can take a while.
They will send you a statement of your account without trying to charge you for it, but it can take a while.
If you are trying to piece together your loan history from your credit reports or bank statements, old entries saying Quickbridge are Wonga loans.
The Financial Ombudsman’s rules say a firm is allowed 8 weeks to reply to a complaint. This clock starts running when you put your complaint in.
In summer 2017, Wonga often sends people an email after 4 or 5 weeks saying it may not respond within the 8 week timescale. Sometimes is does reply to you in the 8th week, sometimes it doesn’t. If Wonga haven’t answered after 8 weeks, take your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman – wonga will still be looking at your complaint and you could get an answer in the next few weeks.
Have you already had a refund from Wonga?
Wonga had a major refund program a few years ago. If you had a balance owing to them, this may have been written off at that point. They also made some small refunds in 2016 – out of the blue people had a letter saying they will be receiving £6.20 or £51 or some other random number.
You may still have a good case for your other loans being unaffordable – we have seen many people win affordability complaints after already getting a refund or a write-off. The more loans or rollovers you had before the one that was written off, the more you are likely to get a refund now.
Think of the write-off as being the first part of your refund. Here are a couple of Ombudsman decisions as examples:
- Wonga had already written off the borrower’s third loan, the Ombudsman said some extra compensation was needed;
- Wonga had written off the 7th loan but borrower complained the earlier loans and top ups were unaffordable: Ombudsman said Wonga should refund loans 3-6, but make a deduction of some of the write-off.
Sometimes Wonga make reasonable offers, sometimes not!
Sometimes Wonga makes good offers, some of them very large:
- John was worried when he was told his case had been referred to their legal team, then a couple of weeks later he got a refund of over £10,000;
- in September 2017, Danny Boy was very happy to accept an offer of £11,934.
However, they do reject some excellent cases, which are then upheld by the Ombudsman. Examples include: Rob got £3,000; Lou got £500; Mart got £6,455. So if your complaint is rejected, don’t assume it is a bad case and give up!
And sometimes Wonga offer to just refund on a few loans picked at random from the loans you had. When challenged they have no explanation why they are offering to refund those particular loans, they just say that’s their offer. With these cases you can do a lot better by waiting for a decision from the Ombudsman:
- Wonga offered Tony £818 for just two loans – the Ombudsman said that all loans should be refunded – £4,800!
- Kieran got £2,300 by going to the Ombudsman after Wonga had made a very small offer.
Wonga often seems to refuse to pay out on loans after they changed their lending policy in 2014. It’s true that they made a lot more bad loans before that, but they are not getting all the decisions right now and people are getting refunds via the Ombudsman for these recent loans. So don’t be put off.
We have also seen people accept an offer from Wonga but then regret it when they realise it is only for three loans. If you are made an offer, sit back and think for a few days if it is good enough.
Could you lose a Wonga offer by going to the Ombudsman?
If you are offered some money but it’s a lot less than the interest you paid, you may be worried you could end up with nothing if you reject it and go to the Ombudsman.
So far we haven’t seen any case, from Wonga or any other lender, where someone who was offered a refund ended up with less by going to the Ombudsman.
And I’m going to end by repeating the statistic I gave earlier – 77% of complaints against Wonga are being approved by the Ombudsman.
This article was written in 2016, but it is kept up to date.