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 survive the next month, then your loan may have been “unaffordable” and you can ask for a refund of the interest you paid.
UPDATE April 2017 – if Wonga have sent you an email saying your personal details may have been included in a data breach, you need to take this very seriously, see 245,000 Wonga customers told their details may have been stolen which looks at what you need to do.
This post looks at what you you can expect when you make an affordability complaint to Wonga. It’s a simple process – the Can I get a payday refund? article has template letters you can use that cover all the important points you may want to make. There are hundreds of comments below that article from people making these claims. Interesting reading!
The Financial Ombudsman is upholding Wonga complaints, here are some recent decisions so you can see the type of thing the Ombudsman looks at, there are many others:
- Wonga offered a refund on 8 loans out of 28, the Ombudsman said they should refund 27 loans;
- Wonga rejected a complaint on 38 loans, Ombudsman said should refund all loans after the first four;
- Wonga rejected a complaint on 4 loans, Ombudsman said there should be a refund on the last two.
Friendly but not always fast
Wonga have a reputation for being pleasant about handling these complaints. 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.
Even if they reject your complaint they aren’t rude or antagonistic like a few lenders.
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. If Wonga haven’t answered after 8 weeks, you can take your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman.
In the first half of 2016, Wonga seemed overwhelmed by the complaints, often asking for 4 or 6 weeks extra when the 8 weeks is up.
Now (November 2016) they seem to be managing better. people are often getting replies within the 8 week period. But if you don’t, send your complaint to the Ombudsman right away. Wonga will still carry on looking at your complaint after you go to the Ombudsman. It’s common for someone to report that Wonga sent in an offer when their case was just starting to be looked at by someone at the Financial Ombudsman.
Have you already had a refund from Wonga?
Wonga had a major refund program in 2014 and 2015. If you has a balance owing to them, this may have been written off at that point. They have also been making a series of often very small refunds in 2016. Out of the blue people have had a letter saying they will be receiving £6.20 or £51 or some other random number. This may be how you found this page, if you were puzzled and googled for more info on payday loan refunds!
These refunds relate to specific problems Wonga was able to identify in its systems. You may still have a good case for your other loans being unaffordable – we have seen many people win these complaints after already getting a refund.
The calculations in these cases can seen complicated. If you have already had several hundred pounds written off, you won’t get as big a refund as you would have if Wonga hadn’t done this – think of the write off as being the first part of your refund. The more loans or rollovers you had before the one that was written off, the more you are likely to get a refund now. Here are some 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 a large amount of £2,000, the Ombudsman said no additional refund was required but the loans should be deleted from the borrower’s credit record;
- 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 make reasonable offers sometimes not!
Some lenders ignore complaints, reject them all or make insulting small offers. Wonga doesn’t usually do this. They make some 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!
However, they do reject some excellent cases, which are then upheld by the Ombudsman:
- some examples of large awards from the ombudsman after a Wonga rejection: Elizabeth got £7,000; Sophie got £697; 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!
But Wonga sometimes seem to offer to just refund on a few loans picked apparently 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.
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.
If you are given an offer, you may wonder if you could lose it by going 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.