Discretionary Commission Arrangements - Compaints and refunds


Loans at Home, registered in the UK, was established in 1955 under the trading name S.D. Taylor Limited. They are based in Leeds and have more than 60 years’ experience in the lending industry. They offer Doorstep Loans, also known as Home Collected or Home Credit Loans. These loans are also known as unsecured High-Cost Short Term Credit (HCSTC).

What is a Doorstep/Home Collected/Home Credit Loan?


As the name suggests, this type of loan is a type of unsecured (so no asset involved as security, such as a house or car) cash loan (literal cash) arranged at the borrower’s home. The loan amounts are typically small, usually around £100 to £600, and repayments are customarily spread out over a few months.

Repayments are generally made weekly, and an agent from the lending company visits the borrower’s home to collect the repayment. So, loans like this operate in a similar way to Payday Loans - short loans devised to bridge the financial gap between paydays.


What is a High-Cost Short Term Loan, and who might need one?


According to the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) high-cost short term credit loans are regulated credit agreements/loans which are unsecured, have an APR equal to or exceeding 100%, and are typically repaid in full within a twelve-month period.

High-cost short term credit should ideally be used for one-off, unanticipated expenses, or to help alleviate cashflow difficulties due to an unforeseen reduction in income, or an unplanned increase in outgoings. Those with a good credit history can of course just put a payment on a low interest credit card, but if someone has a poor credit history/score, then generally they are financially excluded from having access to the same credit solutions. Research shows that the majority of short-term loans are taken out by those aged between 25 to 30; being single and employed but with a low income (less than £1500 per month) are also factors.


Are Doorstep Loans/ Home Credit/Home Collected Credit a good thing?

While a lot of us might do virtually everything online, from banking to shopping to finding a soul mate, there are still those who prefer the traditional, some might say old-fashioned way of doing business, especially when it involves money. Doorstep lenders, via their agents, build personal relationships with borrowers “in the comfort of their home” and many customers find that a much easier and comfortable approach when trying to get to grips with the lending process, such as the terminology and interest/APR/repayment terms etc. In addition, there are some people who do not have a bank account, or if they do, they do not have access to online banking, and so the option to have cash delivered and then write out a check for a repayment and hand it over is a lifeline for some.

The downside to this method of lending, and one that has led to many complaints from customers, is that these agents have historically been tasked with meeting targets and are rewarded by commission on their sign-up/sales and collections. This has often led to customers being locked into these relationships for years on end – obviously a very damaging relationship from the customer’s point of view as high-cost loans are designed and priced to be for short term use; as a result, distressing and excessive interest and fees have been paid out by borrowers on these high-cost products.

More about Loans at Home

Loans at Home Loans claim on their website that it takes just two minutes to complete their online application process. Once this is done, within 24 hours, the potential customer is contacted to arrange a home visit with a local agent. Loans from between £100 and £600 are offered, with repayment periods of up to 34 weeks.

Unlike many lenders. Loans at Home do not require the borrower to be employed to qualify for a loan from them, and they are very keen to lend even if the borrower has a low/bad credit score, and as mentioned before, no bank account, as loans are given as cash. From this aspect, it is possible to infer that Loans at Home probably lend to some of the most impoverished members of society in the UK.

Below is the representative example that is given on their website:

  • Representative APR: 466.4% APR.
  • Loan amount: £300
  • Interest rate: 107.05% (fixed) p.a.
  • Term: 34 weeks
  • Weekly repayment: £15
  • Total amount repayable: £510
  • Total cost: £210

The APR includes the cost of a weekly collection visit to your home by their representative for the period of the contract.

The APR for the loan is advertised at 466.4%, but this is a best-case scenario, as we know that this means that, while 51% of borrowers could get this rate, the other 49% will almost definitely pay more.

Due to COVID-19 circumstances, Loans at Home have launched an app for customers, as obviously agents were unable for some time to visit homes due to lockdowns.  I do wonder how many people who relied on the face-to-face aspect of this lender, got into difficulty with having to go online to make payments etc.

Problems/Complaints with Loans at Home

Customers have complained about repeat borrowing; “The agent kept offering me loans which were in turn paying off previous loans and adding more interest” said one customer in a review.

Another said: “My partner has a LAH loan. He is a recovering addict and a vulnerable adult. Thankfully we have almost paid of our LAH loan. Keep getting texts and emails saying that he is able to get another loan. We don't want another loan, we don't want to pay the ridiculous interest rate. Its wrong that they prey on the vulnerable and desperate. They want to keep you in perpetual debt. They will keep giving you loans to pay of the remains of your previous loan plus extra. As soon as you owe a low amount, they bombard you with offers to lend you more and more money”.

So much for all the friendly advice from Loans at Home to only use them for short term borrowing – it is quite sickening to hear about these tactics used, especially as The FCA, the UK’s financial watchdog said in its review of the HCSTC industry, that it had “significant concerns” over repeat borrowing, which is cheaper for firms than recruiting new clients, and accounts for about 80% of high-cost credit customers.

Other complaints have been that the borrower’s financial circumstances have changed, they can no longer afford to make the repayments, but the lender isn’t treating them fairly, or that the amount the lender says is owing is incorrect.

How can Redbridge Finance help with my complaint?

There are several reasons why you may be entitled to a refund and or compensation – one of the main reasons for a claim is that the loan was unaffordable. Redbridge Finance will look at any indications that Loans at Home did not perform sufficient affordability checks and was irresponsible to lend to you. For example, the amount borrowed increased loan by loan or was extended each month without a genuine reassessment of your financial circumstances. Another example is that you were unable to pay for essentials like food or rent or had to borrow from another lender to cover these essentials or make repayments on another loan. The Financial Ombudsman Service has ruled that all lenders are obliged to undertake full due diligence when assessing if a potential borrower should be offered a line of credit; this is at the heart of our investigations, and our successful claims for our customers. One customer said in her review of Loans at Home: “Couldn't really afford it was told just put this and that down and the woman got me accepted so basically couldn't afford but was desperate to get car fixed and got accepted when I shouldn't have”.

How can Redbridge Finance help if I think I was mis-sold a Loans at Home loan?

If you feel that Loans at Home lent you money when it was clear that they did not make proper in-depth checks to see if you could afford the loan, then we can help by assessing your claim to see if you were mis-sold the service they offer.

Our claims experts can take on your case and make a claim for a full refund of all the interest and charges that Loans at Home has levied. If you want to make a complaint against Loans at Home, the process is very simple. Just sign up on our site and let us know which lender or lenders you want to make a claim against. We then evaluate the information you have provided and take your claim forward by making a complaint on your behalf. We deal with the responses from Loans at Home, and of course, will keep you informed every step of the way.

If you have had problems repaying your loan or think you might have been mis-sold a loan, then you could be entitled to a refund and compensation. Contact us today by going to www.redbridgefinance.co.uk and signing up, and we can assess if you have a claim.