UPDATE – in November 2023 the Morses Scheme failed – see Morses Club goes under – in administration for details
In July 2022, Morses Club announced it was looking into a Scheme of Arrangement to cap affordability complaint refunds.
At that point there was no mention of any change to its complaint handling, see my article Morses considers Scheme to cut refunds to customers.
Morses Club issued an update on 11 August saying:
Morses Club has now taken steps to pause the processing of all new redress claims for unaffordable lending with immediate effect.
That didn’t say anything about existing complaints, either with Morses or with the Financial Ombudsman (FOS).
Nor did it say that Morses had asked its regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority, for a moratorium on complaints processing. In the run-up to previous Schemes, Amigo and Provident said they were asking the FCA for a moratorium.
Complaints where Morses has already made an offer
Morses told a couple of Debt Camel readers that it is paying out on offers that it made before 11 August, when the recent announcement was made.
Is the Ombudsman still handling Morses cases?
In August, yes they are.
FOS has told me:
“The recent decision by Morses Club to pause its assessment of new redress claims does not affect the Financial Ombudsman Service’s role. We continue to accept all eligible complaints that are referred to us. We also continue to assess existing complaints about the firm. We are liaising with the FCA and Morses Club about the proposals and we will continue to review the position in light of any further announcements or information.”
So if your cases is already with FOS, it should be proceeding.
And you can still send a new Morses complaint to FOS.
Before sending a complaint to FOS, you have to have sent it to Morses first. Then you can send a complaint to FOS after 8 weeks, or earlier if you get a rejection or a poor offer from Morses, or a holding letter that says you can go to FOS.
Even though Morses say they aren’t handling new complaints, you still have to go through this process and wait 8 weeks. You can’t cut through it by going straight to FOS.
Is this worth complaining now if there will be a Scheme?
Yes it is. If you have had several loans from Morses, or one or two large loans, it’s worth making a complaint if the repayments left you so short of money that you had to borrow again, either from Morses or another lender, or got behind with bills.
We don’t know there will be a Scheme. And Schemes can take a long time to be set up.
The Ombudsman upholds a very large number of Morses complaints. In the last half of 2022, it was two-thirds of cases.
It’s simple to complain. There is a template letter you can use here: Doorstep lending – how to ask for a refund. And it’s easy to send the complaint to the ombudsman at 8 weeks if you haven’t had a reply, as that article explains.
Things may change and the Ombudsman could stop taking new Morses complaints and pause existing ones.
But you will be no worse off if you do make a complaint now. And you could be a lot better off sooner, with a refund of the interest you have paid on any unaffordable loans, if your complaint is handled before any Scheme.
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