The repayments on many loans and car finance are too high to be manageable so people get deeper into debt trying to repay them.
This article describes how to complain, with templates. Many people have used them and got refunds – see the comments below.
If you win your complaint you will get the interest refunded or – if you still owe a balance – removed so you only have to repay what you borrowed. these complaints do not hurt your credit record.
The complaints here do not apply to mortgages.
You can also use this approach for logbook loans and car finance. But if you are still paying car finance, you may have a better option than an affordability complaint, so read HP/PCP car finance problems first. And then read Car finance affordability – what you get if you win a complaint.
If you have a guarantor loan, read Refunds from guarantor loans as it’s very different, and the guarantor may be able to complain as well.
Refunds from unaffordable loans – what is unaffordable?
A lender should have checked when you applied that a loan is affordable for you. The regulator says “affordable” means:
you can make the repayments without hardship or having to borrow elsewhere.
This applies to most forms of loans except mortgages, including large, long term loans, logbook loans and car finance.
It isn’t just for “bad credit” loans – you can win a complaint about an unaffordable loan from a high street bank. But as bad credit loans have very high interest rates, they are more often unaffordable.
For payday loans, it’s hard to get a refund if you only had one or two payday loans. That is because those loans are usually small so the lender doesn’t have to make good checks for the first few loans.
But the good news is that for larger and longer-term credit, the lender should have made better checks at the start!
Making a complaint and asking for a refund
Email addresses for lenders
It’s easiest if all communications are by email – free, instant and you have a copy with a date stamp to show the ombudsman.
For banks, see this list here: email complaint addresses for banks.
Here are the email addresses to use for some larger non-bank lenders. There are a lot of other lenders including Credit Unions. If your lender is not listed you can still complain, look at the lender’s website to find how.
Abound (used to be Fintern) email@example.com
Avant Credit firstname.lastname@example.org
Bamboo Loans email@example.com
Better Borrow firstname.lastname@example.org
Everyday Loans – a Scheme is being proposed for loans before 31 March 2021- see Everyday Loan Scheme for details. For loans after that date, a normal complaint can be made to email@example.com using the template in this article
Fair Finance firstname.lastname@example.org
Finio Loans (rebrand of Likely Loans) email@example.com
Fluro (used to be Lending Works) firstname.lastname@example.org
Future Finance email@example.com
JN Bank firstname.lastname@example.org
Koyo loans email@example.com
Lifestyle Loans firstname.lastname@example.org
Loans by Mal (Monthly Advance Loans) Complaints@loansbymal.co.uk
Loans 2 Go email@example.com – also read Loans2Go – how to complain
Novuna (used to be called Hitachi) ComplaintsTeam@NovunaPersonalFinance.co.uk
Progressive Money firstname.lastname@example.org
Quick Loans email@example.com
Salary Finance (Neyber) firstname.lastname@example.org (for loans, not “pay advance”)
Snap Finance email@example.com
TM Advances firstname.lastname@example.org
118 118 Money email@example.com
Here are some car finance lenders and logbook lenders, some of them also give normal unsecured loans. There are many more car finance lenders!
Black Horse firstname.lastname@example.org
Blue Motor email@example.com
CA Auto Finance firstname.lastname@example.org
Close Brothers email@example.com
First Response firstname.lastname@example.org
Mobile Money email@example.com
MotoNovo Finance firstname.lastname@example.org
Motor Kitty email@example.com
Oplo/1st Stop firstname.lastname@example.org
Ramsdens (logbook loans) email@example.com
Specialist Motor Finance firstname.lastname@example.org
Startline Motor Finance email@example.com
Vehicle Credit firstname.lastname@example.org
If your loan has been sold to a debt collector, you send your complaint to the original lender not the debt collector.
Start the complaint using this template
Email the lender to begin your complaint. Put AFFORDABILITY COMPLAINT as the subject of your email.
Template for you to adapt:
If you want an affordable payment arrangement now, add a sentence to the complaint saying this. A payment arrangement is often a good idea as these complaints can take a long while to sort out so a payment arrangement gets your finances into a safe place while this gets sorted:
- a payment arrangement shows on your credit record, but if you win the complaint all negative marks will be deleted
- talk to a debt adviser such as National Debtline if you want to know more about payments arrangements
- but a payment arrangement for car finance or a logbook loan puts your car at risk, so you probably have to keep paying the normal monthly payments for that sort of debt.
Other details you can add if you want
The template above is fine, you don’t have to add a lot more details. I am not even sure some lenders read what you write!
It is better to write a short complaint summarising your problems than send pages telling the lender stuff they already know. For example, the lender doesn’t need a list of your loans.
But if you want, you can include extra points in the initial complaint above. Or send the lender another email afterwards to add to your case.
Here are some points that may apply to your case:
- my bank statements and credit record (attached) show that I was unable to afford the loan repayments.
- this was a large loan, you knew I had poor credit and may have been in a difficult position so you should have tried to verify my income and expenses. If you had done this, you would have rejected my application.
- during a telephone call, your agent talked me into agreeing that some figures should be lower in order to get my application accepted.
- if the lender was your bank – you should have seen from my bank account that I was in financial difficulty – mention if you were using your overdraft a lot or also had a credit card from the bank that you were only making minimum payments to.
And some examples of points about top-ups:
- a credit check would have shown that my finances had got worse since the first loan
- you didn’t ask if my income or expenses had changed, and they had.
- you didn’t ask for bank statements so you could check if the new repayments were affordable.
- I had said the first loan was to consolidate debt, but you should have seen that this hadn’t happened.
- you increased my interest rate, showing you realised I was in a more difficult position but you did not check whether I could actually afford the new repayments.
Also read Lender says I lied. That looks at the various reasons why your application may not have been accurate. People have won complaints where they lied because they were desperate but there are other reasons too, so think what may have applied to you.
While you are waiting for a reply
While you are waiting for the lender’s reply, try to get copies of your bank statements from 3 months before a loan to three months afterwards. You can get statements from closed bank accounts, normally going back 6 years.
Also get a copy of your current credit report now and download it. You can get one from TransUnion. Do this as soon as possible as sometimes the details change, so you want a full one saved to show the Ombudsman later if necessary.
Do not wait until the Ombudsman asks you for credit records or bank statements – you want them ready to hand. They will really help your case as they prove your financial situation when you took the loan out.
You should get a response from the lender within 8 weeks. If you don’t, phone them up and ask when you will get it – a couple of days is worth waiting for but many responses are rejections, so don’t wait weeks for one, go to the Ombudsman straight away.
The lender replies – go to the Ombudsman if a poor offer
Don’t be put off by a rejection! Or if the lender saying it was your fault because your loan application wasn’t accurate.
Sometimes a lender will send a long, complicated reply designed to make you look as though you should give up.
Lenders are obliged to do checks. For one small payday loan, these checks could have been brief. But for a large loan, the lender should have made sure they knew enough to be confident you could afford it, even if was your first loan from them. If they didn’t, send your case to the Ombudsman.
I suggest you rely on your gut feel – if you know repaying the loan caused you a lot of problems then it is worth sending the case to be looked at by the Ombudsman.
If you aren’t sure, ask what other people think in the Comments below this article. You only have 6 months to send the complaint to FOS, so it’s best to do this as soon as possible.
It isn’t usually worth trying to negotiate with these lenders, you are just wasting your time. Though Bamboo and Loans2Go anr two exceptions who will often improve an offer.
Send to Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS)
It’s easy! I suggest you use the “do it online” option to send a complaint to the Ombudsman. It asks you for all the details they need.
The main part of your complaint can be a version of what you sent the lender in your complaint. Add any more details you want, including pointing out if you think there are errors in the lender’s reply. Also attach:
- the reply from the lender
- Trans Union statutory credit record
- bank statements starting 3 months before first loan.
Your complaint will first be looked at by an adjudicator. If either you or the lender rejects the adjudicator’s decision, it will then be looked at by an Ombudsman.
Are you missing information that may help your case?
You don’t have to tell a lender you are sending the case to the Ombudsman, but it’s polite.
This is also a good point to ask the lender for a Subject Access Request (SAR) if you are missing information that may come in useful at the Ombudsman. This could be your loan applications, all credit and other affordability checks and assessments, and a statement of account for the loans, and – if you think this may be relevant – a record of all phone calls.
Also if you don’t have the bank statements from the time of the loan application, get them now. You can get these going back at least 6 years even from closed accounts. And you can often go back a lot further with an account that you are still using.
“Is there a time limit?”
You can’t complain about a loan that started before April 2007 – that is when the law changed to allow these complaints. Older complaints can be harder to win as there may be less evidence about your financial situation when you took the loan. But with an older complaint, if the lender rejects it, you can send it to the ombudsman for a decision.
Lenders will often reject a complaint if the loan started more than 6 years ago.
The Ombudsman has a 6 year rule too – but it also has another rule that applies to older complaints.
The Ombudsman can look at any complaint made about something that happened less than 6 years ago or where you complained within 3 years of finding out you have a “cause to complain”. So if you have only just heard that a lender should have checked the affordability, you can take your complaint to the Ombudsman when the lender rejects it saying that it happened more than 6 years ago.
The ombudsman also has a 6 month rule. You have to send a complaint to the Ombudsman within 6 months of getting a rejection or a poor offer from a lender. So don’t delay!
Need some help?
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. And if you still owe money, then you may just get the interest removed so you owe less… which is great, but you don’t want to have to pay a claims company in cash when you never had a cash refund to pay it from.