The administration of WDFC, the legal company who operated the Wonga brand, was completed in August 2020.
The company was finally dissolved in December 2020.
See Companies House records for details.
Background to the administration – rising complaint numbers
A payday loan is “unaffordable” if repaying meant you had to get into more debt, by borrowing again or getting behind on bills or other debts. So you may have repaid all your loans but still have a good claim for a refund of the interest you paid.
When Wonga went under there were over 200,000 people with current loans from Wonga – many of them had a good case for the interest to be removed from their balance so they only repay what they borrowed.
The Administrators proposals set out the reasons why Wonga went into administration. These were the increasing number of affordability complaints, especially from Claims Companies, and the decision by the Financial Ombudsman that FOS could look at loans over 6 years old, going back to 2007.
There were 24,000 affordability complaints awaiting a decision by Wonga and 9,500 complaints against Wonga with the Financial Ombudsman when Wonga ceased trading on 30 August 2018.
Details on the Administration
The Administrators have made various progress reports (available from Companies House) and statements during 2018-20:
- in October 2018, the Administrators published their Proposals, detailing how they planned to handle the administration. Creditors voted to approve these Proposals.
- progress report to end February 2019;
- Witness Statement in April 2019;
- progress report to end August 2019.
An online claim page was set up in April 2019 for Wonga customers to submit claims for refunds. The deadline for sending in a claim was 30 September 2019.
The Administrators assessed all claims using an automated tool. This took account of:
- all loans, including those over 6 years old
- how large a loan was compared to a customer’s income;
- how often someone borrowed without significant gaps;
- whether there were indications of hardship such as missed payments;
- if there is a balance outstanding for the right of set-off.
Where it decided one or more loans were unaffordable, it calculated how much interest should be refunded and added statutory interest at 8%.
In August 2019 the Administrators starting sending emails to people saying whether their claims have been successful or rejected.
In September, the Administrators sent an update on progress up to end August 2019. Key points include:
- at end August, 389,621 claims for unaffordable payday lending have been accepted by the administrators;
- the total value of these claims is c £460million – an average of c £1,200 a claim.
- £23m of outstanding loans have been collected. The Administrators say that outstanding loans are being taken into account and given the right of set-off where the customer has a claim for unaffordable loans.
- The remaining loan book will not be sold to a debt collector.
At this point the Administrators were saying that payments would be made by 30 January 2020.
29 January 2020 – administrators announce 4.3p in the pound
On 29 January 2020, the Wonga administrators announced that they will be paying 4.3p in the pound to unsecured creditors, including all the 400,000 people who are owed a refund for unaffordable lending.
The administrators have now given the final numbers:
- they assessed 401,202 claims as being valid;
- of these 358,129 are being paid 4.3% of their assessed compensation value;
- the remaining 43,073 also owed a balance on a loan to wonga, so their compensation has been used to clear or reduce that balance.
What happens next:
- the money should be paid within the next 4 weeks. This has come as a surprise as people had been told it would be paid by the end of January;
- the loans that are being refunded should be removed from your credit record in the next 6 weeks.
My comment – ripped off by Wonga and now let down by the regulators
The administrators told people they would get “significantly less” than that amount as there would not be enough money to pay the claims in full.
But many people will have been hoping for more than 4.3% and are very upset.
It is not the administrators’ fault there is so little money to be divided between so many people. It is the fault of the regulators – first the OFT and then the FCA – that they allowed Wonga to break the rules saying that affordability should be checked
And now the regulators have failed to ensure that these Wonga victims get the compensation they should have. When a PPI firm went under, the Financial Services Compensation Scheme stepped in and people with PPI claims got paid in full. But the FCA has not extended the FSCS to cover payday lenders.
This isn’t just a problem for the hundreds of thousands of Wonga victims. Borrowers from many payday lenders have been unable to get proper compensation after the lender has had to close. This will apply to QuickQuid, the money shop, Payday UK and Payday Express borrowers as well.
The FCA needs to rethink this and provide a safety net for people who were mis-sold unaffordable loans.
Readers comments – Shock and disappointment
This a brief overview of the hundreds of comments below this article.
Some people are happy to be getting anything:
- “I am only getting just shy of £25 but for the sake of completing a 30 second form it’s not too bad.”
- “I will be getting £79.93 of the £1854.17 I was owed. Better than nothing!”
- “£35 out of a possible £800. I wasn’t expecting much anyway. I’m more interested in having the 25 wonga loans removed from my credit file.”
The administrators had said people would get “significantly less” than the claim, but many people were hoping for at least 10%:
- “I got mine £88.67 – claim was £2057.05 – I was expecting at least a couple hundred.”
- “Claim was 3034, getting 130. By considerably less I didn’t think it would be over 95% of it. That is ridiculous.”
- “To receive £44.10 from a claim of £1023.00 is insulting to be honest.”
- “Owed £1499, getting £63…what an absolute joke!”
- “4.3% is an absolute disgrace. Although people are trying to be positive they shouldn’t have to. The people who made all the profit here would spend the biggest payout anyone has received on an evening out and not think twice about it.”
- “Gutted…. was hoping for at least the 10% speculated.”
This reader blamed not just Wonga but the regulators:
- “Over £11k accepted reduced down to £480 – my job, my marriage and 4 years of desperation followed by years of rebuilding my life – that’s what the regulators consider that to be worth! Shame on everyone involved in Wonga and the lack of regulation of lenders like them !”
Some are just are delighted that Wonga has gone under:
- “Heads up everyone…We have won in the end! They can no longer be a hindrance to any of us any more!”
- “Mines going to charity. Best thing to have happened is for them to have gone bust”
- ”Thank you Wonga you paid me to continue gambling, I lost everything. Good riddance.”
Many people are also disappointed and shocked that they aren’t being paid by the end of January. Some people getting these refunds are still in difficult financial circumstances and had planned to use the money to pay a bill or some debts.
February 2020 – some clarifications from the administrators
The remaining loans
The administrators have confirmed that no further payments are being accepted and the debts will not be sold to a debt collector. So you don’t have to worry about being taken to court or bailiffs.
But the debts are not technically being written off. They will remain on your credit record for 6 years from the default date on your credit record. If you don’t know what this date is, I suggest you check it now.
In practice, now the company in liquidation, if you contact a credit reference agency and say your Wonga debt is incorrect, you can ask the credit reference agency to “suppress” the record as Wonga can no longer say what the right entry should be. See How to correct credit records if the lender has gone under for details.
No deductions are being made for tax
The Administrators have said:
“the Joint Administrators have agreed with HMRC that the payment may be treated for tax purposes as set wholly against the interest and fees element first, and statutory interest second. As a result, where the distribution paid by the administrators to each customer does not exceed the interest and fees claimed by them, no withholding tax will be required to be deducted at source from payments made by the administrators in such cases.”
The simple version of this is:
- the administrators are not taking off any tax.
- there will, therefore, be no tax to have to reclaim.
- the vast majority of people will not have to pay any tax on any part of of the refund even if you are a higher rate taxpayer. The amounts don’t have to be declared if you complete an annual tax return eg if you are self-employed.
A small number of extra payments
A small number of customers were owed money by Wonga for a different reason, for example they may have overpaid on a loan. These extra amounts are also being paid out and you will get 4.3% of them too.
If you were not using a claims company, you should have received a single email at the end of January which mentions both amounts.
If you were using a claims company you should have received two emails, each about one of the amounts. If you have only received one email and it mentions a claim which is smaller than the amount you expected, you can contact the administrators, it may be this is the “extra” payment.
Bank account issues
I asked the Administrators why some people are still getting emails asking them to update their bank details. They say:
These emails will be in response to customers’ requests received by the Customer Care team prior to 29 January 2020 providing a secure method by which customers can update their bank account details. Customers should respond to these emails.
I asked the Administrators what will happen if they make a payment and it bounces back to them because the account is no longer open. They say:
Where updated information is available from customers we will attempt to reprocess bounced dividend payments via electronic transfer. Alternatively, we will issue a cheque to the address held on file.
A blogger contacted the Administrators on the 14th February to ask why she hadn’t been paid and was told:
“I can confirm that the joint administrators have commenced distribution of dividend payments to unsecured creditors, including those with redress claims. Given the volume of transactions that need to now take place, the administrators cannot guarantee an exact date when individuals will receive payment but are aiming to complete transactions within the next two weeks.”
February and March – payments started but with problems
I was told by the Administrators on Friday 28th February that 90%+ of payments have been made and they expect to make the rest of payments over the next two weeks by BACS. About 22,000 the following week, about 13,000 the week after. It looks as though the 22,000 group got their money. It’s not clear to me how many of the 13,000 group have.
Many people in the comments below this article were reporting probems. These included people whose bank accounts had never changes. Problems included:
- confusion over whether a claims company has been paid or they will be;
- Wongasaid payment was sent to a claims firm that hadn’t been used;
- Wonga said a cheque was sent to a house you no longer live it;
- Wonga said a payment has been made to your bank account but it hasn’t arrived ;
- Wonga has said a payment was sent to an old bank account despite new bank account details having been given and co0nfirmed as having been received.
On 2 March the Administrators said the payment process was taking longer than expected and payments would continue to about 40,000 people over the next 2 weeks:
The Joint Administrators have now attempted to make dividend payments to over 410,000 creditors… In addition to the payments that were not made we have had approximately 40,000 payments returned to us due to incorrect customer bank details recorded on file with Wonga. We will now begin contacting these customers whose payments were returned, by email, to obtain correct and up-to-date bank account details.
The dividend payment process is taking longer than anticipated and payments will continue to be paid during the next two weeks.
On 19 March the Admistrator’s announced:
The Joint Administrators have now attempted to make dividend payments to over 443,000 creditors representing 98% of the creditor population. This includes payments to creditors whose payments were briefly held back from the initial payment phase whilst additional validation checks were completed to new bank account and/or address details that were provided. The Joint Administrators now continue to focus on the remaining small population of unpaid dividends in order to complete the payment process.
From here on progress was very slow, impeded by lockdown.
End August 2020 – administration ends – do you still have a problem?
The Administrators final report blames the payment problems of Wonga’s poor systems and on creditors who did not update their bank details when requested to. But as many comments below detail, people who had never changed their bank account or who had updated their bank details several times and had each confirmed also experienced prolonged delays.
At 28 Auguest when the administration ended, there were still c 49,000 payments with a total value of £632,000 that had not been made – an average about of £13 per payment. About 70% of these were for amounts owed before the administration, so not affordability complaints.
The Administrators have passed the £632,000 to the Insolvency Service. If any creditors want to claim an unpaid amount, they should email CustomerServicesEAS@Insolvency.gov.uk.
If there is a problem with your credit record (for example the administrators did not delete a loan they said they would) then you now need to contact the Credit Reference Agency where the problem is showing – Experian, Equifax or TransUnion. Say you can no longer get an answer from the administrators so you would like the CRA to “suppress” the following credit records as they are innaccurate. If they refuse send the CRA a formal complaint and this can be sent to the Financial Ombudsman.