Did your payday loans cost so much when you repaid one you had to keep on borrowing?
You can get a refund of the interest you paid on unaffordable loans.
It’s easy to ask for a payday loan refund using the free template letters here. The letters work if your payday loans were repaid or if you still owe money.
This article covers everything you need to get started. It’s easy, free and many people are winning large payouts.
The comments below this article have thousands of stories of the refunds people have got using these letters. It is a great place to ask questions!
What are “unaffordable” loans?
Was a loan affordable just because you managed to repay it?
No! If paying a loan left you so broke you had to borrow again – from the same lender or a different one – it was unaffordable!
The regulator says:
“the borrower should be able to make the required repayments without undue difficulty, whilst continuing to meet other debt repayment obligations and reasonable regular outgoings.”
That means a payday loan is only affordable if you repaid it on time and you could still manage to pay your other bills and debts.
Payday loans are meant to be used to solve a short term problem. If you kept rolling a loan or repaying one then getting another loan soon after, the lender should have stopped lending to you.
If the loan was small and it was the first loan or second loan from a lender, the lender may not have realised the loan was unaffordable for you. But it was irresponsible lending to just carry on giving you more loans.
Many lenders ignored even very obvious signs of problems such as your loans increasing in size or borrowing very soon after repayment.
How much compensation can you get?
You don’t have to calculate this. Or work out which loans were unaffordable.
Just ask for a refund from the lender and see what you are offered. This is simple and it works well.
The Financial Ombudsman has seen tens of thousands of payday loan affordability complaints.
Payday loans are meant for short term problems and the lender should not have carried on giving you loans, A typical decision by the Ombudsman is that the payday lender should refund all the interest you paid interest after the third, fourth or fifth loan.
But if your first loan was large, or was rolled over several times you could get a refund from just one loan.
Which lenders can you get refunds from?
You can complain to lenders that are still in business, even if they are no longer lending. These include:
Lending Stream, Cash Converters, CashASAP, CashForUNow, Dot Dot, Fast Loan Uk, Fernovo, Kabayan, LoanPig, Mr Lender, Moneyboat, MyKredit, Smart Pig, QuidMarket, Savvy, WageMe, Wizzcash,
See this email list for payday lenders for a longer list and all the contact details to use.
Also use these letters for the very high-cost sorts of “flexible credit”. These have the highest uphold rate (80%!) of any product at the Ombudsman in the last quarter of 2021. The largest lender is SafetyNet Credit – other lenders include Drafty, Polar Credit and Tappily.
If the lender has gone into administration, including Myjar, Piggybank, Ferratum, Oakam:
- you can make a claim to the administrators – there is normally have a simple form for you to complete, see the lender’s website for details – but there will be a time limit for doing this.
- you may not get much cash back but this is very easy to do. A balance may be reduced or cleared even if there is no cash to distribute. And if you win the complaint any negative marks on your credit record will be removed.
QuickQuid, On Stride, Swift Sterling, Sunny, Wonga, Wageday Advance, the Money Shop, Payday UK, Payday Express, Uncle Buck and other lenders who gave up years ago – it is now too late to make a complaint about these lenders, see this list.
For longer-term loans there are better template letters to use on other pages:
- Provident is in a Scheme, Amigo is trying again to set up a Scheme
- other doorstep lenders and other guarantor lenders,
- 118 Money, Everyday Loans and other high-cost large long-term loans.
First, before you send in a complaint
Doing these things now will make your life easier later.
Get a copy of your TransUnion statutory credit report and keep it. After complaints are started, sometimes loans are deleted and you may want the full report if you later have to go to the Ombudsman. Don’t get an Experian or ClearScore report instead – many payday lenders don’t use those.
If you can log-in to the lender’s website and see your loans, take a copy of them. If you don’t know the details, don’t delay making a complaint by asking for them – use the template below to complain and ask for the details at the same time.
If you still owe money to the lender:
- unless you can afford to make this month’s payment without borrowing again, cancel the CPA to the lender at your bank. Otherwise the lender may take the money and you will be in a mess.
- read the Stop making payments? section in Payday loan refunds when last loan not repaid. If you want to offer a lower affordable amount, add a sentence to your complaint letter saying this.
- if you have a lot of borrowing at the moment, read Escape from the payday loan trap which looks at how a debt management plan can help you.
If your loan was sold to a debt collector you still complain to the original lender but also tell the debt collector that you are disputing the debt. Don’t skip this bit or a debt collector may go to court. It is a good idea to carry on making payments to the debt collector if they are affordable.
Start your complaint & get loan details
You can find the lender’s email address for complaints from this list.
Put “AFFORDABILITY COMPLAINT” as the subject of your email:
Some ways to improve this
You can add any other points that help you describe what happened to you. You don’t need to list the loans – the lenders knows that!
- “I took out another loan with xxxx to pay you.”
- “Sometimes I borrowed to pay the rent and then had to top-up to get money for food.”
- If you weren’t treated fairly while you were borrowing or when you could not make a payments, add a bit about this.
Don’t worry that the lender will say you should have cut back on your living costs.
You can attach bank statements if you like, This is a good idea as these show how unaffordable the loans were for you. If you have gambling showing, this helps your complaint, it doesn’t harm it.
I don’t know if many lenders actually read what you send them. But it’s easy to make these complaints – you don’t need to calculate what refund you should get or quote laws.
Only one loan?
The template refers to multiple loans because that is what normally happens with payday lenders.
If you only had one loan and it was large, read Refunds from large loans and use the template there.
If you only had one loan and it was small, this is going to be a very difficult complaint to win. If you have borrowed once or twice from 5 leaders, that is much more difficult to win an affordability complaint than having 4 or 5 loans from two lenders.
Waiting for a reply from the lender
This email begins your affordability complaint.
They may send the list of loans first and later respond to your complaint. So don’t be surprised if you get sent info on the loans but nothing about your request for a refund.
When you get your loan information, you can send in more details about your complaint if you want. You don’t have to do this, your complaint has already begun and the lender has to reply.
The lender should reply to your complaint within 8 weeks from when you send the email, not when they acknowledge it. Make a note in your diary for 8 weeks time and chase the lender up if you don’t get a reply.
Don’t be surprised if you have to wait until the end of the 8 weeks to get response, this is common.
Send your bank statements or other information?
Some lenders ask you to send them a copy of your credit record, your payslips or bank statements.
Credit record – this is mostly to be difficult – the lender can check your credit record themselves if they want. But you should download a copy of your credit record asap as the Ombudsman will ask for it. Don’t put this off, the sooner you get a report downloaded, the further back it goes which is good.
Don’t send payslips – they won’t help an affordability complaint and the ombudsman never asks for them.
It is a good ideas to send bank statements. But think twice about the cost of copying and postage if there are a lot. Some lenders seem to ignore them if you do send them.
Again this is a good point to get those bank statements even if you do not want to send them as they will help an Ombudsman claim a lot. You can get them going back at least 6 years even if the account has been closed.
Lender says No or makes a poor offer
If the lender rejects your complaint or offers you a small amount, don’t be depressed. You may still have a very good case!
It is easy and free to send your case to the Financial Ombudsman where many thousands of people have won their payday loan complaints, despite being rejected by the lender.
Some lenders try to make your case sound bad when it isn’t. People have had large amounts refunded after a complete rejection!
Just ignore any of the following comments, they do not mean you have a weak case:
- they relied on your loan applications and you didn’t give accurate facts – see Lender says I lied for more about this;
- you repaid some loans early – this doesn’t prove the loans were affordable, just that you were trying to save interest;
- your borrowing didn’t go up every time – irrelevant, what matters is that you kept borrowing;
- you had a good enough credit score or they didn’t legally have to check your credit record – if you only had one or two small loans that is true. But if the loans were large or you kept borrowing, they should have looked more closely;
- your loans are over 6 years old – the Ombudsman will look at these even if the lender says they won’t!
Will a lender improve an offer?
You may be wondering if you should go back and try to get the lender to give you a better offer. Most lenders won’t do this, but a few may if you make out a good case – this includes Mr Lender and SafetyNet Credit.
For example if they have offered to refund loans 6-12 you would be happy if they included one or two more, you can say why you think loans 4 and 5 should also be refunded.
A good enough case to go to the Ombudsman?
If you don’t know what to do, ask in the comments below this article. Accepting an offer settles your whole complaint – you can’t change your mind later.
Don’t worry that you will lose a small offer by going to the Ombudsman – this doesn’t happen.
Some points to think about:
- if you are offered a refund on only a few loans, don’t accept if you think you paid a lot more than that in interest. Some lenders offer a few hundred pounds to people who get ten or twenty times as much from the Ombudsman.
- an offer to write off your current balance may sound good … but it may be very poor if you should get a refund as well, see Refunds when you have a balance owing for details.
- if getting defaults or late payments removed from your credit record is important to you, are you happy with what the lender is proposing to do? Don’t assume your credit record will be cleared if the lender didn’t mention this.
One or two loan cases are hard to win at the Ombudsman. It’s probably best to give up on one or two loan cases unless:
- the loan was rolled or topped up several times; or
- the loan was large. Here is one single loan case that was won even though it was an instalment loan and the borrower had a good income. And another single loan case for a loan of £1,000. You can win cases for smaller amounts if the repayment would have been a large amount of your income; or
- you still owe money.
Don’t delay too long – there is a 6-month time limit after a lender rejects your complaint to send the case to the ombudsman. When you aren’t sure, send the complaint to FOS – it’s easy – and let them decide.
How to send a complaint to FOS
Put in a separate complaint about each lender.
Don’t wait until all your lenders have replied before sending the first one to the Ombudsman!
One reader said: They couldn’t be any nicer.
The Chief Ombudsman, says:
It’s really OK to phone up and say, ‘I don’t think it was fair.” It’s not court; you don’t have to turn up with your ‘heads of claim’, you don’t have to write a fancy letter. Tell us your story and we will do the rest.
FOS’s “complain online” option is easy and takes you through your complaint step by step.
You can just copy what you said in your complaint to the lender. Or you can add more details, for example, if you disagree with what the lender replied to you.
If some of your loans were over 6 years ago, tell the Ombudsman when and how you found out about these complaints. For example:
“I knew the loans were causing me difficulty in 2013, but I thought this was my fault for being bad with money. I didn’t find out that the lender should have checked the loans were affordable until June 2021 when my brother told me about these claims/I saw an advert from a claims company on Facebook/I read an article about these claims” – change this so it is right for your case!
Things to attach:
- the reply you have had from the lender.
- bank statements if you have them. Ideally from 3 months before your first loan until the last loan was repaid or you defaulted on it. This strengthens your case, showing how unaffordable the loans were. You can still get bank statements even if your account is closed – if you don’t have them, start the process of getting them now, don’t wait until FOS asks for them.
- a copy of your TransUnion Statutory credit report.
What happens after you have sent a case to FOS
You will normally be contacted within a couple of weeks and asked for a copy of your credit record and your bank statements if you haven’t sent these. If you have sent these on one complaint, then when you complain about a different lender they will use the ones they already have.
After this initial contact, your case will wait for the lender to send FOS your case file and then wait to be picked up by an adjudicator who will make a decision on it.
If you are still making payments to the lender, tell the lender you want to reduce these to an affordable amount. This will make waiting for an Ombudsman decision much less stressful for you.
The Financial Ombudsman has a two-stage process. Most cases are settled by the first “adjudicator” stage but about 10% go to the second “Ombudsman” stage.
A few problem cases
Don’t ask for a refund:
- if you are bankrupt now or have been bankrupt in the past – any refund would go to the Official Receiver.
- if you are in an IVA, as refunds will go to your IVA firm not to you. If your IVA has finished the refund may still be sent to your old IVA firm.
- if you are in a DRO now, getting a refund may mean your DRO is cancelled!
You can ask a question in the comments below – you may get a reply from someone who has been in your exact situation.
If you need help to complain, go to your local Citizens Advice, they will help for free.
Don’t use a claims management company. They are expensive and often incompetent. It’s easy to do this yourself and you can ask questions below and get replies from other readers who have done this.