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Viva Loans

Do you feel like Viva Loans UK are harassing you over an outstanding loan? Are you feeling stressed as you are unable to pay back the loan? Are they making dreadful threats and saying they will take you to court? Should you never have been lent the money in the first place? If you are having problems like this with Viva Loans, this article is designed to help you. You might be able to cancel your loan and even obtain a refund.

It’s not your fault. Complaints to the Financial Ombudsman have risen this year from 830 to 2,006, so it’s safe to say that you’re not alone.

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Who are Viva Loans?

Viva Loans assists consumers in the UK to apply for short-term loans. The company is a credit broker and offer assistance in applying for payday loans, personal loans and doorstep loans, among others. Viva Loans offers consumers the ability to apply online and get quick estimates for various short-term loans, ranging from £100 to £2,000.

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Is all this information starting to feel overwhelming? Don’t panic! I’ve put together a 4 question debt calculator so you can quickly and easily find the best solution for you. If you’re eligible for the new government scheme, you could write off up to 85% of your debt! Answer the four questions now.

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Why is it so easy to borrow money?

The internet is crying out with companies who want to lend money, but unfortunately they are often lending to people who can’t afford to pay the loan back. In desperation, they will often be lured into taking loans which will be ‘in their account in seconds’ or ‘are offered to those with bad credit.’ You can understand that, for people who are at rock bottom and in despair, the lure of a loan can be too tempting to resist, and this is where the problems arise.

What causes debt problems and what the government are doing

With all these tempting statements, it is no wonder that people get lured in, and end up with even bigger debt problems. Although the situation is still worrying, it is much better than it was before the new regulations came into play. This was necessary, as the loan industry was becoming chaotic, and people were getting themselves into all kinds of debt. The loan market toppled £2 billion at one point, as a resort of loan companies lending to people who a) couldn’t afford it and b) who certainly couldn’t afford the extortionate interest rates.

As a result of identifying unfair practices, the Financial Conduct Authority took severe action, and starting imposing fines on some of the biggest players out there. Wonga were fined a staggering £220 million, and The Money Shop received a fine of £15.4 million, to name but a few. Unsurprisingly, this actually put Wonga out of business, and a few others went bust too. The harsh reality worked though, and there are no where near as many lenders on the market today, as there were a few years ago. The number of loans issued has fallen from 10 million to 1.8 million, and lenders have also drastically decreased.

Are you due a refund? Read through the next section in which we look at these new rules in some detail. If Viva Loans UK is in breach YOU MAY BE DUE A REFUND EVEN IF YOU HAVE PAID OFF THE LOAN.

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Loan interest and charges – the government cap

Price caps were introduced by the Financial Conduct Authority and these were designed to protect borrowers from receiving inflated rates of interest and fees. These caps are as follows:

  • A cost cap of 0.8% per day – this is on the value of the loan borrowed and is a combination of both interest and fees.
  • A cap on default fees of £15 – a default interest may still be charged, but it cannot exceed the rate of 0.8% per day.
  • A complete cost cap of 100% – you should not be asked to repay more than 100% of the money you have borrowed.

The limits apply to all credit agreements with an interest rate of 100% or more a year and are those who will be due to be fully or substantially repaid within a year.

There were also additional regulations which came into force in May 2017. This meant that lenders must provide details of any products on a price comparison website which is authorised by the FCA and borrowers should also be provided with a summary of the cost of borrowing.

If Viva Loans UK are found to be in breach of these regulations and they are attempting to charge you more than they should be paying, they cannot continue to enforce the agreement, and they will not be able to make you repay the loan.

How do you know if Viva Loans UK is authorised?

If you are going to be paying back money for a loan, you want to make sure the money ends up in the right hands! The best way to ensure this is to check if Viva Loans UK is authorised. If they are not authorised, they have no legal right to make credit agreements, they can also not force you to make repayments. This means that if you just stop paying them, there is nothing they can do.

To find out if Viva Loans UK is authorised, you can just enter the name of the company on this Interim Permission Consumer Credit Register search page. You may also want to search the financial services register here. If there is no valid up to date entry on at least one of these registers, you may stop paying them, and if you do, they have no right to enforce it.

There are some other indicators that Viva Loans UK might not be operating in a legal way. If there is a lack of information on the company website, or out of date information, or even different information appearing on the two directories, this should raise some alarm bells. Non-disclosure of true APR is another tell-tale sign that they may not be authorised.

Do you want to make a complaint about Viva Loans UK?

You have the right to make a complaint about Viva Loans UK, if you believe that they are breaching the regulations, and treating you unfairly. You can make your complaint formally, and if they refuse to take it seriously or just simply disregard it, you can escalate the complaint to the Financial Ombudsman.

In order to make a complaint, it is important that you gather your evidence carefully. If you have received excessive amounts of phone calls, for example, you may wish to take a screen shot of these as evidence to support your complaint. Furthermore, you may have received letters or emails which are of a threatening nature, and these could also help to back up your case.

If Viva Loans UK do not provide you with a satisfactory conclusion, you have the right to take your complaint further to the financial ombudsman. You can reach them by phone on 0800 023 4567 or 0300 123 9123

If Viva Loans UK are found to have treated you unfairly, you might be able to get a refund, if you the loan has been paid off within the last six years. If approved, you may be refunded all the interest you have paid on the loan, as well as any additional charges. You may also receive 8% interest on any payments you have made.

If it is deemed that your loan was unaffordable in the first place, and you should never have received it, Viva Loans UK may not be able to enforce payments, and it could be completely wiped from your credit record.

If you feel you have a case against Viva Loans UK, the first step is to speak to them and ask for compensation.

If there is no satisfactory response within 8 weeks, you may want to follow up with the Financial Ombudsman by phone on 0800 023 4567 or 0300 123 9123.

Continuous Payment Authority – the new rules

In most cases, loan companies will try to get you to repay the debt via a Continuous Payment Authority. With a CPA, the company can take payments whenever they want, to clear the debt. They should, in theory, let you know when they are planning to take the payment, but many don’t, and this is why there has been stricter rules placed on the CPA and what lenders can and can’t do.

As a result of borrowers being left with no money to pay their rent, mortgage etc, there have been changes to the CPA regulations, in an attempt to protect borrowers. The new rules state that if the CPA fails twice, no further requests can be issued for the payment. If it fails, it fails.

In addition to this, loan companies cannot try to take partial payments to get the repayments back, they must take the full amount from your account, or nothing at all. Of course, you can give them permission to take partial payments if you want, but it is completely at your own discretion. If they are falling foul of the new regulations, you can take action and report them for such behaviour.

If the loan company attempts more than two requests or they take a partial payment, and you have not given them permission to do so, they are in breach of regulations. You can report them to the financial ombudsman for this behaviour on 0800 023 4567 or 0300 123 9123.

Can’t afford to pay back your loan?

If Viva Loans UK are following the legislation, but you are not able to repay the loan, you can take some steps to protect yourself.

You may already have a repayment plan set up, either via CPA, direct debit or standing order. If you can no longer afford to pay the loan back and you want to cancel these, you can speak your bank and ask them to cancel it, or do it yourself via online banking. It is a good idea to let them know you are planning to cancel the payments, however, you are under no obligation with this.

This, unfortunately, doesn’t mean the debt is suddenly wiped from your account. In an ideal world, it would be, but we don’t live in an ideal world, and you are still liable to pay the loan back. In the first instance, contact Viva Loans UK, and explain your situation. They should always treat you fairly, and come to an arrangement which works for them – and you. Don’t be forced into making payments that you can’t afford.

The law and what lenders must do:

  • They should advise you on some suitable places to obtain free independent debt advice.
  • They should give you a reasonable time to pay back your debt and support you in developing a suitable repayment plan.
  • If applicable, they can freeze interest and additional charges to make it more affordable.

Is it worth rolling the loan over?

It is appealing for Viva Loans UK that you roll the loan over, as it means it will gather more interest and charges. It is, however, not favourable for you. If they suggest doing this, you may want to think twice, as the last thing you want is to owe even more money. A much more affordable option is to pay the loan back in installments.

Getting help with your debt

If you are seeking free independent advice on debt, there are some organisations you can turn to. These are a few of them:

  • Citizens Advice – will provide you with advice on taking care of your finances, and getting out of debt.
  • StepChange Debt Charity – a charity who will help support you with getting out of debt and taking control of your finances.
  • National Debtline – free debt help and support, whenever you need it.

Are loan companies all out to get you?

It may seem that all loan companies are the work of the devil, as they do receive quite a bad press! However, they can provide a service which many people need, and perhaps cannot get elsewhere. Some loan companies exploit their customers, but they are not all like this. It is just important to be aware of what these companies can be like, and keep your wits about you. Thankfully, the new regulations have went a long way to helping to support customers, but many people still face debt problems.

Although loan companies are not all bad, you should be aware of bad practices. If Viva Loans UK are breaching the regulations, you may want to make a complaint, and refrain from making payments. If you cannot afford to pay the money back, speak to one of the free debt advice organisations for help and assistance. They are there to help you.

If you can’t pay back your loan do check out my other article here.

Good luck!

References

CONC 2.1 Application

CONC 5.2A Creditworthiness assessment

CONC 13.1 Application

Read More…

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About the author

Scott Nelson

Scott Nelson is a financial services expert, with over 10 years’ experience in the industry, including 6 years in FCA regulated companies. Read more
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