Citizens Advice Bureau takes action against payday loan firms

BERWICKSHIRE residents who have taken out a payday loan since November last year are being asked to complete a Berwickshire Citizens Advice Bureau survey.

Roxburgh and Berwickshire Citizens Advice Bureau are backing the Office of Fair Trading’s latest action on payday loans, and are asking people who have taken out payday loans recently to help the campaign against unfair lending by reporting their experience.

Roxburgh and Berwickshire CAB’s Berwickshire manager, Rhona Calder said: “Here at the CAB we see the end result of what happens when people fall victim to payday lenders. Their slick adverts look great, but they hide a great deal of irresponsible lending behaviour, which has led many families here in Berwickshire into the misery of un-manageable debt.

“For families who are struggling to make ends meet, payday loans can seem very attractive. But they have interest rates as high as 4,000%, and these have a huge impact on people who are on low incomes. We also find that many lenders are not being clear about their terms and conditions, are offering loans to people without proper assessment of their income, and are then pursuing debts aggressively.

“Here at our offices in Duns and Eyemouth we are seeing an increasing number of people who had taken out a payday loan and were unable to keep up the repayments and have become stuck in a spiral of debt.

“In November the payday loans industry introduced its own ‘code of conduct’ that was supposed to improve the actions of payday lenders. Since then we have been actively monitoring the lenders to see if they are sticking to their own rules.

“So if you have taken out a payday loan since November 26, last year, or if you know someone who has, please complete our quick survey (http://www.cas.org.uk/payday-short-term-loans-survey) to find out if you have been treated fairly, and if not, we’ll help you take action against the company.”

Borders MP Michael Moore is also backing moves to tackle unscrupulous practices in the payday lending market, where lenders often prey on the most vulnerable people, and he said: “A number of my constituents have contacted me about problems they have had with payday lenders charging them extortionate interest rates which have made it extremely difficult for them to repay the loan.”