A reader left a couple of long comments on Payday Loan compensation – Can you Claim? Many people may be interested in what she wrote, so I’ve put them together into this article. Here is TL’s story:
After having seen the Debt Camel article I gained the confidence to look into the case I have for a refund. Going through four years of bank statements I realised that I had taken out over £22k of payday loans with four lenders and paid back over £9k in interest alone. Having hidden my financial difficulties from everyone, I was borrowing from one lender to pay back another and quickly became embroiled in a dark spiral of debt.
After four years of hiding what I saw as my dirty secret, I admitted what had happened to my family and was able to pay off the remaining two balances with the help of my partner who I am now paying back in small monthly payments. The December 2014 case quoted in the above article, where someone got redress for payday loans that they had repaid, gave me hope that I could perhaps take back control of my life and seek reimbursement for the four years of financial struggles that I endured in the form of a refund of all interest paid.
It was a really tough decision to let my family know the severity of what I’d done as I felt ashamed and guilty that it had gone on for four whole years and not even my partner knew about it. My partner and I aren’t yet married, I’m 24, still living with parents, (haven’t been able to save for a wedding or house, surprisingly enough!) and don’t have any dependents yet, so although I felt guilty at hiding this massive secret, it was easy to hide because my actions weren’t affecting anyone else’s finances but my own.
The day I decided to tell him, I had spent all afternoon going through my budget for the next month and working out how much I needed to borrow in order to pay back what I borrowed the previous month and also cover my car, petrol, insurance, phone bill etc. I realised that I couldn’t cover all of it and something snapped whereby I thought “enough is enough, I can’t do this on my own anymore!”
Telling him was the best decision I’ve ever made and although the whole conversation was extremely emotional for me as it was just a massive outpouring of the stress and hopelessness I carried around alone for four years, he was very understanding and didn’t get angry or frustrated or blame me for my own ‘stupid mistakes’ like I had told myself he would.
I contacted all four payday lenders yesterday evening by email and have already heard back from one well-known lender who was actually extremely nice, making sure that they understood all of the points of my claim before they begun their investigations. They have said that I should hear back with their final decision within 8 weeks and also provided me a copy of their complaints procedure booklet which told me the next steps to take if I wasn’t happy with the investigation outcome.
I received a second reply from another well-known lender who responded with a generic ‘we followed our processes and made the necessary checks’ type of email and stated that my request for a refund had been denied. I expected this but I am not taking no for an answer and sent them a strongly worded response stating the facts and telling them that I would refer it to the Financial Ombudsman should we not be able to reach an amicable solution. I now await their reply!
In a society where we’re so often afraid to speak openly about money struggles, I think a lot of people who are having issues with payday loans try to hide their difficulties and convince themselves that it must stay hidden, when in actual fact that just makes it worse. Developing a dependency on these loans makes you feel stupid for having fallen into such an open trap and that in turn makes you feel worthless and then completely hopeless because the longer you try to hide what’s happening, the longer you are holding the stress on your own.
It’s been an extremely stressful and emotional four years and while all of my friends are getting married and settling down in their nice new houses, I’m working hard 9-5 but not really getting anywhere financially because of my debt load. When I see a payday loan advert on the TV now I flip the channel as it makes me so angry that they are able to advertise on national TV to potentially vulnerable people who are in the same situation I was four years ago.
I feel it’s going to be a long journey ahead, but one that I’m excited to take now that I’ve realised I don’t have to be ashamed anymore!
Good luck to anyone who reads this who is in a similar situation. Also, don’t forget that a problem shared is a problem halved. Although it seems like a completely daunting prospect, telling someone you trust about the issues you are facing won’t solve your problems but will take a huge weight off you.
UPDATE January 2016 TL has received £3,800 back from Wonga. Sunny rejected her complaint, QuickQuid and PaydayUK didn’t reply in the 8 week timescale, so she is taking these three complaints to the Financial Ombudsman.