The Financial Ombudsman Service has warned complaints about payday lenders have more than doubled in the last two years but says the increase is likely to be only the “tip of the iceberg”.
New statistics published today show that in the 2013/14 financial year the FOS tackled 794 new payday lending complaints, up from 542 in 2012/13 and 296 the year before.
The ombudsman says it has ruled in favour of the consumer in 63 per cent of cases, having received 5,395 enquiries about payday loans during the period.
The figures come after the FCA announced payday lender Wonga would pay £2.6m in client redress. The firm’s list of offences included sending out letters from fictitious law firms demanding debt repayment.
The FOS received 3,104 complaints about investment-linked products in 2013/14, down by 34 per cent from 4,697 the previous year.
Ombudsman principal Caroline Wayman says: “We often hear from people who took out a payday loan as a desperate last resort and blame themselves when the debt starts to spiral out of control. It’s important that people don’t feel trapped with nowhere to turn because of the stigma associated with short-term lending.
“Money problems can affect everyone – but the good news is that there is light at the end of the tunnel. If you have a problem with a payday loan, get in touch with the ombudsman straight away. We’ll contact the lender on your behalf and help to quickly get things sorted.”