Advice Columns: Doorstep Loans

Thursday 20th June 2019

As part of the Citizens Advice Exeter and The Express and Echo advice column this week we focus on doorstep lenders.

I don’t think the company that sold me a doorstep loan carried out proper affordability checks and now I can’t afford to pay it back. Can I get a refund?

The Financial Conduct Authority – which regulates the doorstep loan market – says a loan is unaffordable if you cannot make repayments without borrowing again.

Lenders must check your finances and situation – including future income and spending – to make sure you can pay back the loan.

You might feel your agreement was unaffordable if you were given a loan that was more than you could manage to repay and it caused you problems.

If you think you are owed a refund, first complain to your lender. List the ways you think their affordability checks were not properly done, the problems this has caused, and what you would like to happen.

The lender must acknowledge your complaint promptly and has eight weeks to respond formally or resolve your problem.

If you are not happy with their response, or they don’t respond at all, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service using a form on its website – www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk

Should the lender agree with your complaint, they may agree to write off the balance left on the loan or refund some of the interest you have paid.

If they don’t, and you have to take your complaint further, the Ombudsman can force the lender to write off the interest or even the remainder of the loan, and possibly order them to pay a small amount of compensation for your distress if they uphold the complaint.

The Ombudsman’s decision is binding on your lender.

Look out for our column next week when we focus on council tax payments.

The information contained in these articles does not constitute advice. Citizens Advice Exeter and The Express and Echo accept no liability for the information published. Citizens Advice Exeter is unable to respond to individual requests for advice through these columns. Copyright Citizens Advice. For the most up-to-date information, please visit www.citizensadvice.org.uk