Borrowing Complaints

If you have a complaint about, say, the way your loan is being handled, charges you're being asked to pay, and so on, first take your complaint to the lender who issued the loan - insist on seeing the manager if other staff can't help. If you're not happy with their response and they are part of a larger organisation, take your complaint to the head office - the address will usually be on any letter you've had or can be provided by your branch. If you don't know whom to contact there, you could phone up and ask, or you could address your letter to the Complaints Manager. Also, libraries keep company directories which will give you the name of the top executives of the company together with its head office address so you could write to one of them if you have no other contact.

If you still don't get a satisfactory response, you might be able to take your complaint further. If the lender is a bank, or Access or Barclaycard, you could try contacting the Banking Ombudsman ). If the lender is a building society, you could contact the Building Societies Ombudsman (seep. ). If the lender belongs to one of the lenders' trade associations which have a voluntary code of conduct for members, you could contact them as follows:

Finance Houses Association

18 Upper Grosvenor Street, London W1X 9PB Tel: 020-7491 2783

Consumer Credit Trade Association

Tennyson House, 159-163 Great Portland Street, London W1N 5FD Tel: 020-7636 7564

Consumer Credit Association (UK)

Queens House, Queens Road, Chester CH1 3BQ Tel: 0244 312044

National Consumer Credit Federation

98/100 Holme Lane, Sheffield S6 4JW Tel: 0742 348101

If you think that your complaint may involve a breach of the Consumer Credit Act, contact your local Trading Standards Department (address from the phone book, as above).

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Protection Against Excessively High Interest Rates

Under the Consumer Credit Act, a lender shouldn't charge an 'extortionate' amount for loans or credit, but the Act doesn't define 'extortionate' - it's up to the courts to decide, in individual cases. They'll take into account the particular circumstances of the loan - the creditworthiness of the borrower, the prevailing interest rate, whether the borrower was pressurised in any way, and so on.

All loans - even if they're over the £45,000 limit - can be reviewed in this way. But only the borrower can ask for such a review - not the local Trading Standards Department or a debt counsellor,... see: Protection Against Excessively High Interest Rates

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