Couldn’t they have just been more responsible with money?
It’s fair to say that we often get a mixed reception to our campaign against unaffordable payday loans. Some read the stories of those sent into a spiral of debt by high-interest lending and empathise.
Others just don’t see why they should care.
This may seem like a cruel response, but it is not unusual. Nor is it entirely impossible to understand.
These people got themselves in a hole, didn’t they?
The difference between irresponsible and unaffordable loans
It can be hard to imagine how you might end up taking out a payday loan, and even harder to see how that could get out of control.
But the people who struggle are usually being sold loans that they could never afford in the first place, simply because they have nowhere else to turn to.
When you can’t get a loan from your bank, then you can bet your social media feed is full of lenders offering to solve all your problems, today.
People end up borrowing from one payday lender to pay another. Just to stay afloat. They start the month with a pay cheque that goes straight to the lender, who they borrow from again to pay rent, to eat and heat their home.
Loans that cause people to miss rent, cut back on food or turn the heat off are unaffordable. As are those that force people to borrow elsewhere to pay them off.
And that’s not us saying that. It’s the Financial Ombudsman Service.
Being sold a dream and waking up in a nightmare
The adverts for payday loans show an emergency for a stable working family with no other cares in the world. But it isn’t usually like that.
When you are being offered a payday loan that is 150% of your monthly salary, when you work on a zero-hours contract or when you fall ill before you can make payments, then things can and do go wrong.
As they used to say on the lottery ads, it could be you.
People with addiction issues, whether that be to drink, drugs or gambling, are also being offered high-interest loans that fuel their habits and become a habit in themselves. But lenders are not checking on anything bar a perceived ability to pay a loan back.
If you’ve paid a loan back once in the past then new checks are rarely made. No one asks how you are, how work is or whether you are about to be made redundant.
Applying on an app and getting instant money provides an endorphin rush. The comedown is served with late-payment fees, more interest and a credit score in tatters.
Debt Hacker is helping people to make complaints about unaffordable payday loans that have been mis-sold.
That doesn’t mean that we don’t think people make mistakes with money and personal choices.
They undoubtedly do.
But choices around money are so much harder when you can’t get an overdraft, a bank loan or a credit card. We need better education around finance for all, and an end to high-interest payday loans.
Join us in our campaign to stop rip-off loans.
Make a complaint and get money back.