Can you get a refund from Payday UK, Payday Express or The Money Shop? If you had loans from them that you struggled to repay, perhaps rolling the loans or having to borrow again every month, then you may be able to win an “affordability complaint”.
Read How to ask for a payday loan refund (with template letters) for details about what an affordability complaint is.
These three large payday lenders are brand names of the same company, Instant Cash Loans Ltd, and they all have the same approach to handling affordability complaints.
Refunds apply to the Money Shop’s cheque based lending from their stores in the same way as other payday loans – if you gave them a post-dated cheque for £100 and were given £85 in cash, then the £15 difference is the interest you paid on this loan.
In October 2017, Payday UK and Payday Express stopped lending. See One of the UK’s oldest and largest lenders gives up for details, but this should NOT affect complaints against them or the Money Shop. Indeed their complaint handling seems to have got rather faster since that point. The company is not in administration and it’s not in any danger of running out of money so far as I can see!
Getting a list of your loans
This used to be very difficult
Many people don’t have a list of the loans they took from a lender, so asking for a Statement of Account is usually a good first step.
Payday UK, Payday Express and the Money Shop didn’t seem to like sending these out. The Money Shop told one reader that it wasn’t company policy to send these.
If you are complaining about Money Shop lending, you could also go into your local branch and ask them to print your Customer Transaction History report (all records). This will only work for loans before the end of 2014, when they introduced a different system.
Now they send the list promptly but it’s difficult to understand!
From about November Payday Uk and Payday Express have been sending statements out promptly. this is good because before then they used to refuse or try to charge for this.
Now people have a different problem – how to work out what the statement means because they look complicated. This is what I suggest you do if you only had one loan at a time:
- go through the statement dividing it up into loans. A loan starts with a line labelled Principal Deposit and it ends when the balance is zero. Then another one begins. Draw a line between loans and label them Loan 1, Loan 2 etc.
- The amount you borrowed is the Principal Deposit number. Unless you topped a loan up, there will just be one at the start of the loan.
- The amount of interest you paid is the sum of the lines for that loan labelled Interest Repayment. They should show in the Amount column as being in brackets, ie you paid the money.
- Ignore all the other lines (unless there are any late payment fees.)
It’s harder if you had more than one loan at once or if the last loan wasn’t repaid. But the general approach – that you borrowed the Principal Deposit lines and the interest is the Interest Repayment lines – is still correct. It’s just difficult to be so clear that “This happened to loan one, this happened to loan 2.”
Searching your credit record
It’s fine for a lender to check your credit record when you make a complaint, but these should be recorded as “administration reviews” which don’t harm your credit score. In 2016 for a few months some people had Payday Uk and the Money Shop incorrectly record a credit application – these searched were deleted in November 2016 and in January 2018 the people affected were automatically sent redress of £75.
What do they usually reply to complaints
Asking for longer
You may get an email on the last day of the 8 week period they are supposed to respond to complaints in, saying that they haven’t completed their investigation. At this point you can send your complaint to the Ombudsman if you want – the lender will still carry on looking at your complaint even if you do this, so if they do make you a good offer you can then tell the Ombudsman you have settled the complaint.
If you are desperate to get your complaint settled as soon as possible, sending it to the Ombudsman and not waiting is the fastest approach. But these lenders sometimes make reasonable offers, so you may decide to wait a few weeks and hope you don’t have to bother with the ombudsman.
Although they are making some good offers, they also seem to turn down good cases, so deciding to wait is a bit of a lottery. One person was sent a big colour-coded spreadsheet with the rejection – case sent straight to the Ombudsman.
“We don’t know – please send bank statements”
Quite a few people complaining get a response towards the end of the 8 week period or after another few weeks from one of these lenders saying they aren’t sure if some of the loans were affordable or not and will you please send your bank statements so that they can look again at them.
Sometimes they offer a refund on some loans, reject others and list a few where they aren’t sure. Sometimes they reject most of them but say they will look at a few if you send statements.
It’s up to you if you want to send them the statements. Some readers have done this and then had those extra loans refunded. Others have had the extra loans rejected. But if they have only asked for details about a couple of loans and you wouldn’t be happy with a refund on just those, then you may as well send the case to the Ombudsman right away.
Here is one reader’s comment in December 2017:
I had a complaint with PDUK and Payday Express. I was told they needed longer and began to lose hope. I submitted to the FOS at 8 weeks. Before being picked up by the Ombudsman they came back with responses on both complaints. There were some loans that they were unable to determine and requested bank statements and credit report which I sent. I accepted on their initial offer (which they paid in 5 days) and sent them the extra information. They then found the other loans irresponsible and I am waiting for a payout for those.
Shhh… it’s a secret
In 2016 some customers reported being offered refunds from Payday UK and the Money Shop with a confidentiality clause attached – but they seem to have stopped doing this now.
Only reply about some of your loans
If you had loans from Payday Express and you notice some of the older loans aren’t referred to in Payday Express’s response to your complaint, tell PDE this. They may have been on an old system under a different account number – PDE will then look at your complaint again, taking all the loans into account.
They always add 8% interest
All three lenders routinely add 8% interest to their offers, no messing around with goodwill offers and no 8% element like some other lenders do.
Not fast at the Ombudsman level
Having taken 11-12 weeks to reply to many complaints, they are also slow at the Ombudsman level.
Many people have reported their adjudicator having to give two or three two week extensions. They do accept a reasonable number of adjudicator decisions though they also reject some very good cases.
They do pay out on loans over 6 years old
In March 2017, Payday UK, Payday Express and the Money Shop started paying out on affordability complaints about loans over 6 years old. They are the first of the big lenders to agree to do this after the Ombudsman said they could look at the older loans.
These older cases still take longer than complaints about loans under six years, but they are going through. And the 8% added interest can be very large for these older loans.
They aren’t agreeing to payout on all older cases – if you later had a DMP, PDUK is trying to argue that this means you should have made an affordability complaint then. It’s not a very good argument from them – after all, if you knew you could make an affordability complaint in 2012 (say) when your DMP started, why didn’t you do that? So these cases are having to go to the Ombudsman.
Good refunds in the end
My notes show many people getting refunds of a thousand pounds or more from their complaints. In August 2017 one reader received over £9,000 after going to the Ombudsman. So this may take some time, but it can be well worth it in the end! A few recent refunds:
- I have accepted an offer from PDExpress of £1,417 and PDUk of £3,276.
- I have just had a reply from Payday Express after 11 weeks with an offer of £1,036. I didn’t have to go the FOS.
- Payday UK have today finally paid up (albeit only £257 in interest & fees paid back to me) but crucially they have written off a £1,061 debt that’s been hanging over me for the last 4 years!
- Finally received my settlement on Tuesday, £2,600 refunded for loans over 6 years.
- PDUK replied 1 day before 8 week deadline and offered to fully refund all interest on all loans after the first 3 which I feel is fair, the first 3 were all very small. They have offered £3,878 + 8 % interest £1,432!
- I got a final response yesterday from the Money Shop after 15 weeks. They were not able to consider loans before 2007 which is fair enough but agreed to pay out on all the rest which were all between 2007 and 2010. No fuss, no ombudsman needed and with the 8% interest, I will be receiving just short of £4k after tax!
This article was rewritten in January 2018 to reflect the way these firms’ complaint handling changed in 2017.