More than three quarters of payday loan complaints are justified

payday-loansAccording to new research by the Citizens Advice, at least 76 per cent of people who have lodged cases with them in relation to payday loan companies in the first six months of this year, have grounds for an official complaint to the Financial Ombudsman.

There were a number of different reasons cited for customers’ complaints to Citizen Advice, including potential fraud cases. A whopping 20 per cent of the complainants were reportedly being chased for payments on money they had not actually borrowed.

Read the full story on uSwitch.com.

Premium rates on customer service helplines to be banned

premium rate phone linesIf you’ve ever found yourself cursing at the hold music on a customer service helpline, as your hard-earned cash silently ticks away thanks to the number’s high call charges, this will be welcome news to you.

The Government has revealed a draft proposal to ban premium rates on most such helpline numbers,  meaning companies such as PC World, Argos, Royal Mail, Phones4U and energy suppliers will have to change their rates to ‘geographical’ (or normal land line number) rates.

According to The Telegraph, consumers spend nearly £2 billion a year on calls to premium rate numbers – yes, you read that right; TWO BILLION pounds!

Airlines, train line operators and banks will be exempt from the premium rates ban, though, so bear that in mind.

Read the whole story on Telegrapgh.co.uk.

The latest debt statistics from Credit Action

Credit Action has released debt statistics for August, and although outstanding personal debt is up, it’s not all bad news as unemployment figures are down.

The August installment of debt stats include:

  • £5,986: average household debt (excluding mortgages) in June, up from £5,978 in May
  • £164 million of interest was paid every day on personal debt in June
  • £1.421 billion: daily value of all plastic card purchases in May
  • 915,000 people had been unemployed for over a year between March and May
  • Every 5 minutes 7 seconds someone was declared bankrupt or insolvent during Q2 2013
  • £1.425 trillion was the value of outstanding personal debt at the end of June, up from the same period last year

For more details, go to: www.creditaction.org.uk

If you’re going to take out a payday loan, do it right!

Payday loan approved stampIt’s probably fair to say that very few people would relish the thought of taking out a payday loan to make ends meet for that last, pesky week of the month.

Infamous for the sky high interest rates, payday loans can easily lead to a downward spiral of increasing debt, so approach with caution!

If you need some fast cash, the first things to do is consider all the potential alternatives – and if you do go ahead with a payday loan, make sure you will be able to pay it back on time, as per the original agreement.

Money Saving Expert has pulled together a great little guide, listing all the things to think about before taking out a payday loan – check it out here.

Happy Fringe Friday, folks!

EastEnd Cabaret opening the Underbelly launch event at the 2012 Fringe Festival

EastEnd Cabaret opening the Underbelly launch event at the 2012 Fringe Festival

If you are currently in Edinburgh, you will hardly have been able to escape the fact that the Edinburgh Festival Fringe kicks off today.

Why would you want to escape it, for that matter? For a month a year, we are treated to the biggest open access arts festival in the world, with its seemingly endless stream of top class entertainment, right on our doorstep!

Sure, it gets busy. Between the sea of street performers, the doubling of the city population, and the 24-7 festival revelers, you could be forgiven for occasionally getting the impulse to lock yourself in a dark room during the month of August.

But that’s what the rest of the year is for.

August is for arts, comedy, cabaret, late licenses and lots of laughs! And if you are strapped for cash, there is always the Free Fringe, with loads of fun, free shows to choose from.

So, hope you all have a fantastic Friday evening and a great start to the 2013 Fringe – we think it’s going to be a good’un!

For more information about the festivities, visit:

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe website – www.edfringe.com

The Edinburgh Free Fringe website – www.freefringe.org.uk

Where can you afford to live?

Rental property

Where can you afford to live?

A new report from the Resolution Foundation, published earlier in July, has found that the cost of renting is ‘unaffordable’ for low-income families in a third of the UK.

The Home Truths report identifies 125 local authorities – 33 per cent of the 376 local authorities in Britain – that were classed as unaffordable to “less affluent working families”. Here, ‘affordable rent’ is defined as not taking up more than 35 per cent of a household’s net income.

The BBC has released a BBC housing calculator, to help families and individuals figure out where in Britain they could afford to live.

Read the full story on BBC News website.

Keeping the bailiffs at bay – what you can (and can’t) do!

Bailiff badge

Bailiff badge

If you find yourself in a situation where you owe the council unpaid council tax, and a subsequent liability order is raised, you could get an unpleasant house call by a bailiff.

Needless to say, this is never going to be a pleasant experience – but as with all things in life, it’s better to be prepared and know your rights (and those of the bailiff).

If you are uncertain, the Guardian has pulled together this useful Q&A, to help you prepare if you think there is a chance a bailiff might come knocking:

the Guardian – What can you do if a bailiff comes to your home?