If you were given payday loans that you struggled with, having to borrow again the next month, you can make an “affordability complaint to the lender even for loans which you did repay. I’ve described the process in How to ask for a payday loan refund, where there are template letters you can use.
A reader has asked what evidence he should enclose with this sort of complaint:
I’m in the process of writing out my complaints letter to all the payday lenders I’ve used/am using. Question is, am I better of going through my statement, record this on a spreadsheet or take screenshots of my bank statements/credit report and then send this of to them with my complaint? Or is it not advisable to send bank statements/credit report?
Keep affordability complaints simple
You don’t need to supply a list of your loans – the lender knows all that! You can just say something like “I took out flexi loans and payday loans from you between 2012 and 2015″. Ask for a refund of all your interest, you don’t have to say how much this is.
If you can add more detail such as “I had 9 loans between March 2013 and June 2014, 2 of these were rolled twice. I was having to borrow within a few days of repaying each loan as I didn’t have enough money to survive the next month.” then that’s good but it’s not essential.
It’s not worth spending ages trying to get this complaint exact and beautifully argued, adding on more and more detail.
I don’t think the lenders pay much attention to what you write – some of them don’t seem to read the complaints at all! They see you are making an affordability complaint, they look at what you borrowed and they reply based on that.
The template letters in the link above summarise your income and expenses – it’s all that is needed for this stage of the complaint. There is no need to enclose masses of evidence supporting your claim such as bank statements, details of the loans you had from other payday lenders, or credit reports.
But the details matter to you
If you have the loans details – either from your bank statements, your emails, what you can see on your online account or from the Statement of Account the lender has sent you – it’s an excellent idea to go through them all over the next few weeks whilst you are waiting for the payday lenders to reply.
Create a spreadsheet showing the loans – date taken out & amount borrowed, repayment date & amount. This lets you calculate the amount you have paid in interest and charges. Then if the lender offers you £150 or £820 you have a good feel for how much of the interest you have paid is being refunded.
And they matter for the Ombudsman
Your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman can also be really simple: “I complained to xxxxxxx on dd/mm/yy. They have refused / offered me £x I think is inadequate OR they haven’t replied within 8 weeks. I would like you to look at this. I attach a copy of my complaint.”
However the Ombudsman is interested in what you say and the details of your case, so if you send more it will be read but these extras aren’t essential.
The Ombudsman really wants to hear your story – what happened to you and why you are complaining. This doesn’t have to be in any set format, I am just listing some ideas here to jog your memory as sometimes it’s offputting looking at a blank piece of paper. You don’t have to use any legal jargon.
Good things to include if you have them are:
- a list or spreadsheet showing the loans from this lender;
- a credit report, this doesn’t have to be the one from back when you were borrowing – you usually don’t have that to send – but a current one.
Good things to point out if they apply to you include:
- the amount you were borrowing tended to go up: “The loans I had were generally increasing in size: 200, 250, 200, 400, 400, 500, 400, 600, 660, 400, 750 as things got worse“
- the gaps between the loans tended to decrease: “The time between my loans decreased as I got into more difficulty, at the end I was having to borrow again almost immediately: “6 weeks, 3 weeks, 5 days, 7 days, 3 days, 8 days, 2 days, 1 day, same day, 2 days”.
- if there was a big gap between one group of payday loans and another group for a specific reason – perhaps you received a PPI refund or someone in your family had helped you out.
- whether you had any defaults, CCJs etc on your credit record before they gave you loans.
- whether you told the lender you had problems but they suggested you rolled the loan or said you had to pay or interest would just continue to be added (or any other poor response to your difficulties).
- if they continued to lend after late payments.
- the problems these loans have caused you such as rent arrears, council tax arrears, mental health issues.
If the lender’s reply to you seemed to be wrong or strange, it’s a good idea to point this out to the Ombudsman. For example, the lender may only be looking at the payday loans and ignoring the flexi / installment borrowing. Or they may have said you had a good credit score when you know this can’t be correct. Or they may have offered to refund loans 6 and 17 for no clear reason. Or said your expenditure showed you could afford the loans when you were never asked about your expenses when you took the loans. etc
If you don’t have some of these details, or if you think it’s going to take a while to get them all together, I wouldn’t delay getting your complaint into the Ombudsman. Send the simple version as soon as possible then you can give the Adjudicator that is assigned your case more details.
It doesn’t matter if you don’t have bank statements for the period. Sometimes the ombudsman doesn’t ask for these. If you are asked but can’t get them or it will cost a lot, tell the Ombudsman as they may be able to get the statements themselves, or they may be happy to only see a few statements, not ones for every month for the 3 years period you borrowed.