Payday lenders charging ‘unlawful’ default charges

Consumer watchdog Which? calls on payday lenders to lower “extreme” default costs


Payday lenders are exploiting borrowers who default on loans by charging extreme charges that enhance the threat of them tipping into a debt spiral, buyer watchdog Which? has alleged.

The consumer group looked at the default fees charged by 17 lenders and found that Wonga, the online payday loan supplier, topped the table by charging buyers £30.

Wonga defended the charge, saying it reflected the extra value of someone defaulting.

Ten out of 17 payday lenders looked at by Which? had default costs of £20 or far more, while 4 charged £25 and above. was found to charge consumers a £29 fee for failing to repay the loan on the due date, even though other lenders, such as kingdom, charged £12.

Which? has written to lenders to challenge the degree of their default costs, which the consumer group believes must be no larger than the administrative fees arising from a borrower defaulting.

The consumer group explained that, in its legal opinion, extreme default costs are unlawful below the Unfair Terms in Client Contracts Rules 1999, which state that it is unfair for lenders to charge a disproportionately higher charge if borrowers default on a loan.

Wonga mentioned its a single-off £30 charge for late repayments “reflects the extra charges we incur in collecting these loans” and this has been independently assessed by a organization advisory services.

A statement from Wonga said: “As with all our fees, we are completely transparent about our default fee and it truly is clear to customers when they apply for a loan, and at least three further instances prior to their repayment date.

“On the rare occasions the place people cannot repay, we often encourage them to get in touch with us so we can do every little thing we can to agree an reasonably priced repayment program, which includes freezing curiosity and fees.”

Richard Lloyd, executive director at Which? said: “We believe payday lenders are exploiting borrowers with extreme fees which can push them even additional into debt.”

From April, the Economic Conduct Authority (FCA) will commence to oversee payday companies. Which? desires the FCA introduce a cap on the level that firms can charge in default fees, as portion of a cap on the complete value of credit planned for January 2015.

A spokesman for the FCA stated: “We welcome Which?’s curiosity in this spot and we are already taking into consideration default costs as element of our function on capping the total value of credit score.”

The FCA just lately announced strategies to crack down on the sector, incorporate limiting the number of instances payday lenders are allowed to roll above loans twice, forcing them to place “danger warnings” on their advertising and limiting the variety of attempts lenders can make to claw back cash if there is insufficient funds in a borrower’s financial institution account to two.

The Competitors Commission will generate a report into the payday sector later this yr.