QuickQuid is getting a lot of payday loan affordability complaints from customers asking for refunds of interest. Many people are going to the Financial Ombudsman and getting large payouts awarded.
This article looks a what happens when you first contact QuickQuid with a complaint, what sort of offers they make and what happens when the complaint goes to the Financial Ombudsman. It also applies to Pounds To Pocket, QuickQuid’s sister company.
Every case is individual, but we have seen enough QQ complaints to be able to say what often happens.
All the cases mentioned here are from people who left comments on the main Payday loan refund article – that’s a good place to see how complaints work in practice and to ask questions.
What is an affordability complaint?
You may be able to get a refund if you had loans from QQ that you could not repay without borrowing again. If you rolled a loan repeatedly or repaid the loan and the took out another one, this suggests the loan was not affordable.
This also applies if you had an “instalment” loan from Pounds To Pocket, or a “flexi account”, as well as “normal” payday loans. See the main article (link above) for details and template letters you can use.
If you can log in to your online account, this may show all your previous loans. QQ are deleting these for some people. If you can see yours, take a copy in case it later vanishes! If you can’t see your loan history, QQ will send you a Statement of Account when you ask for one.
QQ ask you to send bank statements – what should you reply?
Something like the following is typical:
To help us with our investigation please can you provide us with any additional information which you would like us to consider in evaluating your irresponsible lending complaint. Such items could include:
• Bank statements from the time you held loans with us
• Pay Slips from the time you held loans with us
• Any additional information relating to your financial circumstances at the time you held loans with us”
You don’t have to give QQ your bank statements, payslips etc. Many people don’t want to give this sort of information to a payday lender.
If QuickQuid were better at making reasonable offers to people, it might be a good idea to send them. But they aren’t, as you can see from the examples below. So why send them piles of personal stuff they will ignore?
I suspect QQ is hoping that some people will give up when they are asked for this, because they don’t have it or because they are worried that gambling is showing on their statements. Don’t let them scare you into dropping your complaint! It is possible to get old bank statements, even from closed accounts, if the Ombudsman asks for them. And cases with gambling showing are getting refunds.
I suggest you reply to QQ saying:
- Thanks for your email. I don’t have my payslips, bank statements etc to hand. I will supply them to the Financial Ombudsman is necessary.
- if you have just been sent a list of your loans, now write a “Step Two Template letter” from the main article, link above, for this. You don’t have to talk about each loan, just say how many times you borrowed, whether loans were rolled, that sort of thing.
- if you have already put in a full Step Two complaint, just say I want you to continue to investigate my complaint as it stands.
If you get a rejection (one reader had one within 3 hours!) saying that your loans are more than six years old so QQ don’t have to consider your complaint, send it straight to the Financial Ombudsman. The FO is now looking at older loans, see Refunds for loans taken out more than six years ago for details.
Counting up the loans
One thing that puzzles many people is that QQ’s computer system allocates a new loan number for each loan extension or roll-over. But when QQ send you a letter or talk to the Ombudsman, they will only refer to the original loan. So you may think they are ignoring some of your loans when they say you had five but you can clearly see 12 loan numbers. It’s worth making this clear to the FO if they seem confused by it too.
Sit back and wait for the 8 week point
Lenders have 8 weeks in order to assess a complaint and very few QuickQuid or Pounds To Pocket complaints are getting any offers of refunds earlier than this. In fact, few complaints are getting reasonable offers at all from these two lenders! That’s why I’ve named them SlowQuid, because almost all cases have to go to the Ombudsman.
If you asked for a Statement of Account and QQ replied with the email above, the 8 week clock has started ticked from the time you asked for the Statement of Account.
If you don’t get any reply, or get a rejection, or get an inadequate offer, take your case to the Financial Ombudsman. The Ombudsman service is easy to use and most people find it pretty friendly. You don’t need help from a solicitor or a claims company, you just need to tell your own story. One reader whose QQ complaint was upheld by the Ombudsman commented: “My Adjudicator was amazing, I wish I could buy him a round“.
The fact that your case was rejected doesn’t mean that it is a poor case. We have seen many cases where the Ombudsman upholds a case that was rejected, including one where the refund was over £5,000. I have written a detailed history of one of these rejections if you want to look at the details.
Offered a low amount?
QQ often reject the suggestion that their loans were unaffordable but make a low “goodwill offer” instead. Many of these cases are being upheld by the Ombudsman with payouts that are 10 or even 20 times larger. The highest payout I have seen was more than £13,000 – that reader was originally offered only £400.
So you need to decide if an offer is enough. Add up all the interest and charges you paid on your loans – that is a good measure of how good – or bad – a “goodwill” offer is.
QQ often write a lot justifying why they think your loans were affordable. This may sound impressive but they can be using very carefully selected small points to try to make your complaint sound poor, and they are ignoring the bigger picture which is that you kept borrowing/rolling loans because they were unaffordable.
QQ often have a sentence saying something like “It was noted your monthly income was stated as £2200 per month. I compared your income to the average monthly repayment for each loan you took with us. From this I can see that the income you made during each loan with us was always more than enough to cover the amount you had to repay us for each loan and thus I cannot agree with you that your loans were unaffordable.”
This is nonsense. It isn’t possible to tell if a loan is affordable by just looking at your income and the loan repayments – your expenses should also be taken into account. QQ don’t usually mention these – I don’t think they used to ask borrowers pre 2014 for expenses at all.
You know what it felt like when you were borrowing. Could you have repaid a loan and not borrowed again from them or another lender? If the answer is No, then your loans were unaffordable and it’s worth going to the Ombudsman as you may get a lot more money back. If you aren’t sure, why not add a comment and see what other people think?
Although the extra time to go to the Ombudsman is irritating, the refunds being awarded are often very large, so it’s well worth doing this. Would you rather have £250 now or ten times as much in a few months time?
Things not to worry about:
- you won’t lose this offer if you go to the Ombudsman. So far as I am aware, in every case where someone was offered an amount by QQ the Ombudsman has increased the amount.
- the Ombudsman rejecting your case because you had a large income, were gambling, your partner kept bailing you out etc. Lots of people have won these cases. If you kept borrowing then QQ should have realised you were dependent on the loans and should have stopped lending to you.
“Dependent but not unaffordable”
In May 2017 some people’s responses have started to contain a mysterious bit saying something like “we uphold your complaint as it relates to dependency but do not uphold your complaint as it relates to affordability” followed by an offer of a refund on just one or two loans.
This is a strange argument. It is not an approach used by the Financial Ombudsman. What does it even mean to say you are dependent on borrowing from them if you can afford the repayments?
I suggest you ignore this. My best guess is that it is something else which they hope will confuse people into thinking they don’t have a good case so they will accept the poor offer.
The good part – QQ may increase their offer
QQ sometimes increase their offer even before your case gets a decision from an adjudicator. (The Adjudicator is the name for the first stage of an Ombudsman complaint. After that the second stage is when it is looked at by an Ombudsman.)
- QQ originally offered me £600 and a balance of £430 cleared. I rejected this. The adjudicator has contacted me with a QQ offer of £1,083 and my remaining balance cleared.
- QQ offered me £150 first. Once the FOS asked them for their file to investigate they offered £2,000.
- QQ originally offered me a very random £166 compensation. I forwarded the complaint to the FOS. I got an email today from the adjudicator stating that QQ have now increased their offer to £466 in relation to 2 of the loans. This is even before the adjudicator has looked through my file….
- they offered me £200 which I rejected and my case went to an adjudicator. After that it took about 3 weeks and they came back with an offer of £940 which I accepted.
- Today my adjudicator got in touch to say before he looks into the detail of my complaint with QuickQuid that the business has made an offer for £2800. QuickQuid initially point blank refused me any refund.
Sometimes these “second offers” are also not very good. But they start to sound like a lot of money… remember QQ are only offering these because they know you have a good case. Don’t worry that the adjudicator will decide on a lower amount – we have never seen this happen!
The offers may carry on going up after the adjudicator has made a decision:
- QQ offered me £150 as a goodwill gesture. I rejected this. The adjudicator found in my favour. QQ rejected the adjudicator’s view however they kept increasing the offers from £2000, to £3800 to £5900. I rejected them all and waited for an Ombudsman to review. The Ombudsman agreed with the adjudicator and I received just over £8500 back.
- adjudicator asked them to repay all interest bar one loan. They offer £600, reject and the day after they offer £900. As the adjudicators’ offer was more than twice this I rejected.
QQ do accept a lot of adjudicator offers without these games. They don’t take all the cases to the Ombudsman. It feels rather random, I can’t predict what they will do – pay, offer a lower amount, or reject and insist it is looked at by an Ombudsman.
An unfair way to handle complaints?
I hope most readers will be getting reasonable settlements in the end. But people under too much mental stress or who haven’t read this article may give up on a good complaint or accept a very low offer.
I don’t think a responsible lender should behave like this. QQ know what a typical ombudsman decision looks like. So why do they make absurdly low offers? If you agree, why not leave them a poor review?
You can also report this to their regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority, at firstname.lastname@example.org. The FCA’s rules say:
These procedures should … ensure that lessons learned as a result of determinations by the Ombudsman are effectively applied in future complaint handling
Emailing the FCA won’t get you any more money, but it’s simple and you may help someone else. You just get an acknowledgement back, not a request for more details. A reader had the following reply:
“Although we can’t look into individual complaints the information you’ve sent me is useful and will help us to build a picture of how [xxxxxx] deal with their customers. I have passed the information you have provided to my colleagues that supervise the firm. ”
So the more people who do this, the better picture the regulator will have of QQ’s poor complaints handling.
This article was updated in May 2017 to reflect readers’ experiences in the last few months.