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How do I make a complaint about a payday loan company?

Work with the company first, documenting everything. Then, file a formal complaint.

The following steps are listed here to help you get your complaint resolved. We aren't lawyers or consumer advocates, but from experience we can recommend these steps as a good practice.

1. Call and E-mail the payday loan company.

You should try to resolve any issues you have with them first. Rememeber that regular call center workers usually have no ability to fix your problems--you will need to speak with a call center manager. For every call you make write down the time, date, and the name (or names) of people you spoke with about your problem. (You will need this information later if you have to send a certified letter.) Complaints most managers can address are:

  • Billing errors. (You have been charged a fee. You don't think the fee should have been charged.)
  • Collections phone calls or E-mails. (You're receiving collection department calls when you don't owe the company money.)
  • Sales calls and E-mails. (You're receiving phone calls or E-mails from a company that has given you a payday loan and you want these calls or E-mails to stop.)

Calls and E-mails to companies fix most problems. But in some cases you need to do more. The steps below are what you have to do if calls and E-mails don't work. You should send certified letters (and keep copies) like we recommend. This is more complicated that we like. But, if sending letters doesn't get action and later you have to make a formal complaint to a State or Federal Agency (or secure a lawyer) these people will be better able to help you.

2. Send a certified letter to the payday loan company.

Do this after you have made every effort to call or E-mail the payday loan company about your complaint and the company has not been responsive. Your letter should include a detailed description of the complaint. Make sure you list dates, times, and names of people at the company you've already contacted--or how you've been unable to contact the company. Also mention you are requesting a written response from the payday loan company within seven (7) working days. Address the letter to the payday loan company and then write the words "Complaint Department" as part of the address. (For example: "Payday Loan Company Inc., Complaint Department.") Pay a few dollars to send your letter by certified U.S. mail so you get a confirmation that the letter was delivered. (Of course, keep a photocopy of the letter for your records.) You should give the payday loan company up to fourteen (14) days to respond to your written complaint in writing--the fourteen (14) day period begins when they receive the letter. (The certified letter receipt delivered to you by the U.S. Postal Service will tell you when the letter was received by the company.)

3. Send a second certified letter to the payday loan company.

You've called, E-mailed, and sent a certified letter. You've waited fourteen (14) days and nothing has happened. Now what? Send another certified letter. This letter should contain: (1) a photocopy of your original complaint letter, (2) a photocopy of the certified mail receipt from the first letter (to prove you sent it and that they received it), and (3) a new, short letter indicating that this is the payday loan company's second notice. This new letter should state that you will take official action against the payday loan company if they do not work with you to resolve the problem within five (5) working days. Send this letter by certified U.S. mail and wait another fourteen (14) days for a response.

4. File a formal complaint--or get a lawyer--and then let us know.

You've sent two certified letters, called, and E-mailed the payday loan company. Nothing has happened. At this point you have several options:

  • Contact the State that regulates the payday loan company and lodge a complaint with them.
  • Contact the Federal government and lodge a complaint with them.
  • Or, find a local lawyer that will represent you. Your lawyer will advise you what the next steps are.

When you're making a formal complaint (or getting a lawyer), please send E-mail to William Stotler at PLIWatch.org about your complaint--including dates and information about the letters you've sent. We can't help you directly but we do read complaint E-mails from consumers like you and will take this into consideration when reviewing payday loan companies for PLIWatch.org.

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How are payday loan companies regulated? | How are payday loan companies different from other lenders? | What are the consequences of not paying off a payday loan? | Can I dispute payday loan charges and fees?

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