Aneeqa was struggling to cover some of her bills, so she decided to take out a small loan.
Aneeqa searched online and found a website that offered a loan within two hours. She filled in a short form online, giving her bank details as instructed.
When Aneeqa checked her bank balance the next morning, there was no sign of the loan in her account. But looking at her recent transactions, she found two payments had been taken from her account by a company she didn’t recognise with 'loan' in its name.
Aneeqa looked up the name online and found a phone number. Although she couldn’t get through to anyone, she was able to leave a message. When she hadn’t heard anything by the next day, she sent the company an email. She still couldn’t get a response.
By this point, Aneeqa’s bank account was further in the red. Worried about her bills and confused about what she’d been charged for, she phoned us to talk things through.
Aneeqa was confused about what she’d been charged for. We explained that it isn’t always obvious whether a website is run by a loan company – who provide a loan – or whether it belongs to a broker, who search for loans and charge a fee.
It seemed that Aneeqa applied for a loan through a credit broker. When we checked the website that Aneeqa had used, we found that it said '99% of loans' were approved – but it didn’t mention that there was a cost for finding a loan.
Aneeqa’s bank statements showed that she hadn’t received a loan – but £50 had been taken from her account. It was clear to us that Aneeqa didn’t know she’d be charged – as she’d immediately tried to sort things out when she’d noticed the fees. And she hadn’t authorised the credit broker to take any money.
We told the credit broker to refund the money they’d taken from Aneeqa’s account and pay 8% interest on it. We also told them to pay her £150 to recognise the stress they’d caused – and the fact they hadn’t responded to her concerns.