This is the first in a new series of short articles looking at some lenders’ poor complaint handling.
In March, the FCA identified complaint handling as a key component of its supervision of high cost credit lenders. From what I have seen since then the FCA supervision teams must be pretty busy!
But here is a brand new excuse.
“Your refund will be slower to be paid because of Brexit”
All the refunds mentioned here have been awarded by the Finacial Ombudsman after a customer has made an affordability complaint.
Readers have reported Lending Stream mentioning Brexit as a reason for delaying paying the refund. Here are two of them:
Has anyone been told Brexit will slow down any possible redress? Lending stream advisor told me that payments could go well past the date due because of this. I really don’t get how it affects it unless their just fobbing me off.
After waiting 28 days exactly for my redress ( still hasn’t gone in ) and they reckon Brexit is the reason this is going so slow.
Could this be true?
Why is this being said to customers who have been trying to get agreed refunds paid over the last few weeks? How can any form of Brexit – hard, soft or no deal – impact Lending Stream’s cash flow handling now?
If Lending Stream is worried it may have cash flow problems over the end of October/November, it needs to discuss them with the FCA.
It could take action now to improve its situation by, say, reducing lending over the next month. But deliberately delaying customer refunds beyond 28 days is not an acceptable way to build up cash reserves.
Or is this just an excuse?
Perhaps Lending Stream’s customer services just thought this sounded like a plausible excuse, even though it has no basis in fact?
If this is the case, then the FCA needs to say this is unacceptable. No responsible lender should treat its customers like this.
All payday lenders should by now have worked out a simple way to calculate refunds and get them paid within a couple of weeks. 28 days should be regarded as the maximum, not a vague target.acceptable.
The only cases that are genuinely complicated are those where the debt was sold to a debt collector. Lending Stream could make its life easier by not selling debts where a complaint is in progress – that will cut the number of complicated cases.
Two things you can do
If you are fed up with the length of time and poor excuses about why your refund hasn’t been paid, you could leave LS a bad review on Trust Pilot.
You can also tell the FCA, Lending Stream’s regulator, what you think of their poor complaint handling. This won’t help your case, but it’s easy to do.
If you want to do this, email email@example.com with the Subject “Gain Credit (689378) trading as Lending Stream.”
Give your name, address and FOS reference number. Give just a couple of sentences summarising how many loans you had from them. Add what offer (if any) LS gave you. Say what the adjudicator decision was. Add some more about any delays to get to this point. And describe how slow and difficult LS have been about paying the agreed refund.
End by saying you know the FCA won’t investigate your case, but you think they should ensure that lenders make better offers to complaints and do not delay complaints or refunds.