Complaints about payday lenders more than tripled in the last year, according to the latest Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) annual report.
The ombudsman received 10,529 complaints between April 2016 and the end of March 2017, relating to the payday lenders which charge high interest rates for short term loans. It upheld 59% of these complaints. This compares to 3,216 complaints in the previous financial year, of which 66% were upheld.
The latest figures show many who complained had taken out more than one loan. There was also a 318% increase in complaints about installment loans which are normally paid over a longer period and often provided by the same companies who offer payday loans.
The FOS said the reason for the steep rise in payday loan complaints was partly due to consumers having more access to credit which is fuelling a rise in debt, and consumers being more aware of their rights.
We aren't fans of these loans, and most people who get them shouldn't, but if you're considering one anyway read our Payday loans best buys? guide for all the information on the pitfalls.
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'Tougher new rules'
The Financial Conduct Authority introduced new rules in January 2015 following a market review by the Competitions and Markets Authority. It means lenders can’t charge borrowers more than double the amount they lent, plus there are now caps on charges and fees and stricter affordability criteria must be applied.
A spokesperson for the ombudsman said: "Although a lot of the complaints we see about payday loans are about borrowing that pre-dates the FCA’s tougher rules on payday lending, it’s clear that financial difficulties and financial exclusion – and the vulnerability they can both bring and result from – remain very current issues."
How to complain about a payday lender
In the first instance, you should make an official complaint to the lender. If you're unsure if you have grounds for complaint check out the Citizens Advice Payday loans: know your rights video and information pages.
The lender then has eight weeks to reply. If you get no response or are unhappy with the outcome you can escalate the case to FOS who will assess your case and provide an independent decision about your issue.
For step-by-step help, see our guide on Financial Ombudsman complaints.
PPI complaints drop 11%
The annual report also shows FOS received 168,769 new complaints about PPI, down 11% from 188,712 between April 2015 and the end of March 2016.
The overall fall was due to a drop in complaints about current accounts and packaged bank accounts.