Scottish CAB advisers dealt with over 1,200 cases related to Payday Loans in the last three months, according to new figures revealed today by Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS).
The news comes as UK Ministers gather for a Payday Loans ‘summit’, to consider how to tackle rogue lending. Consumer Affairs Minister (and Scottish MP) Jo Swinson has said today that lenders are not sticking to ‘the spirit or the letter’ of the Code of Conduct they agreed at the end of last year.
Publishing the new CAB figures, Citizens Advice Scotland’s Chief Executive Margaret Lynch says,
“Payday Loans have become one of the biggest issues brought to the CAB service in Scotland, as more and more people get into levels of debt they simply can’t afford to repay. People tend to only come to the CAB when their situation gets really desperate, so the fact that over 1200 Scots have done so in just three months is a very worrying sign of just how widespread and how serious this problem has become.
“The Minister is right that the lending industry has not been sticking to the Code of Conduct they agreed last year. We know this because we have been actively monitoring the experience of borrowers since then, not just in CAB offices but also through our online survey. Our evidence shows that many lenders are still not offering consumers the fair deal they promised. We continue to gather that evidence, so we ask anyone who has taken out a payday loan this year to help us by completing our quick survey at www.surveymonkey.com/s/ScotlandPDLs.
“We have been in regular touch with Ministers about our concerns on this issue, and will continue to talk to them about the evidence we see. Our interest here is in protecting consumers from the misery of un-manageable debt. We need to stamp out irresponsible lending, and if the industry can’t do that voluntarily, then the answer will have to be tougher regulation.”
The CAB service also offers the following general advice on the issue of payday loans. Margaret Lynch says:
“Our message to anyone who is considering borrowing money is to take your time, shop around for the best deal and always read the small print. Before you sign anything, you should know exactly how much you will have to repay, and by when. To those who have already taken out a loan and are having problems re-paying it, you can get free, confidential advice from your local CAB or at our national advice website www.citizensadvice.org.uk. And also, please fill in our survey to tell us about your experience - www.surveymonkey.com/s/ScotlandPDLs. By doing that you can help us protect others from having the same problems you’ve had.”
For interviews etc., please contact Tony Hutson on 0131 550 1010 or 07774 751655.
Notes to editors - click to expand/collapse
- The Payday Loan companies’ Good Practice Charter, which they published in November 2012 (and which Jo Swinson has been referring to today) can be seen at /about-us/social-policy/payday-loans-your-rights-their-responsibilities/payday-loans-good-practice (link no longer available)
- The CAS response to that, which includes examples of case evidence from Scottish CABs, is at /publications/payday-loans-your-rights-their-responsibilities (link no longer available)