Citizens Advice launches national survey to hold payday lenders to account

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Published on Monday, 26 November 2012 09:20
Posted by Vicki Mitchem

As the new payday lending customer charter is launched, Citizens Advice Bureaux across the country are today releasing new figures demonstrating a worrying increase in the number of serious debt cases relating to payday loans.

The Citizens Advice service has seen a ten-fold increase in the proportion of clients receiving casework help with multiple debts which included a payday loan debt in the last four years. In the first quarter of 2009/10 only one per cent of CAB debt casework clients had at least one payday loan and in the same quarter last year this had risen to four per cent. In the same quarter this year, 10 per cent had at least one payday loan.

Advice given by bureaux includes which debts to prioritise, a client's right to stop payday lenders taking money straight out of their bank account and negotiating a manageable repayment plan with the lender on a client's behalf.

Citizens Advice is calling on people who have taken out pay day loans to take part in a national survey to monitor whether payday lenders are sticking to their self-regulating charter.  The year-long survey will ask payday loan customers questions including:

Q: Did the lender ask you to provide documents about your personal finances and general situation to check that you could afford to pay back the loan?

Q: Did the lender tell you that a payday loan should not be used for long term borrowing or if you are in financial difficulty?

Q: Did the lender offer to freeze interest and charges for you if you make payments under a reasonable repayment plan?

The survey will run on the Citizens Advice Advice guide website.

Participants will also be able to fill in template letters to inform the payday loan company of their situation and experience of taking out a payday loan. Citizens Advice will report initial findings from the survey in spring 2013.

Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, Gillian Guy said:

"Quick cash payouts can have damaging long-term consequences. Citizens Advice Bureaux up and down the country are seeing people who are already in long-term financial difficulty and are using payday loans as a desperate way to try to stay afloat. With the added costs of Christmas around the corner we're worried that even more people may see payday loans as away to get by, leading them intoa spiral of debt.

"Citizens Advice is calling on people to name and shame payday loan companies who aren't acting fairly.

"Anyone struggling to keep on top of their finances can get free, independent and impartial advice from their local Citizens Advice Bureaux or online at www.adviceguide.org.uk."

Source: ©CAB

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