I was in a car accident and now I’m worried because I can’t make my loan payments

Consumer Credit

Catherine contacted her lender to say she’d been in hospital the day her loan was due, and that she’d need more time.

What happened

Not long after Catherine took out her loan, she crashed her car. She had serious injuries, including her hearing being permanently damaged. She contacted the lender to say she’d been in hospital the day the loan was due, and that she’d need more time.

Catherine didn’t hear anything from her lender for a couple of weeks. Then she got a reply asking her to phone them. But she couldn’t call because of her hearing.

Catherine had to give up work and her disability benefit wasn’t enough to pay back the loan. As soon as she got home, she emailed the lender to try to work things out. But the lender responded by telling her that she needed to call them. They finally sent her an income and expenditure form, but this asked her to pay amounts that she couldn’t afford.

Catherine was worried about the negative impact on her credit file. She was also concerned about whether she’d be able to get credit in the future. She contacted the ombudsman to help.

How we helped

We asked Catherine to send us the emails she’d sent to the lender. The lender should've taken Catherine seriously when she said she couldn’t call. Catherine couldn’t hear anything, so the lender should’ve found another way to communicate with her.

We also looked at her income and expenditure and agreed that she couldn’t have paid her bills if she’d given the lender what they’d asked for.

Our decision

We asked the lender to:

  • take off all the interest and charges they’d applied after Catherine told them she wasn’t working
  • email Catherine to help her work out a monthly payment she could afford
  • pay her £100 compensation to make up for the unnecessary stress
  • remove the negative judgement from her credit file