In debt to Cash4Unow? Here’s what to do

If you’re struggling with debt from CASH4UNOW you’re not alone. Dealing with debt is a really stressful experience, but there are many sources of help available, and lots of ways to get debt-free, for good.

CASH4UNOW are a payday loans company, offering what they call short-term instalment loans. Sometimes, it just takes a small thing to push us over the edge financially. Maybe you took out a CASH4UNOW loan because your boiler broke at home and you couldn’t afford to fix, or you didn’t have enough cash to stretch to payday.

However, payday loans are a really expensive way to borrow, and if you’re already struggling financially, these companies can make things worse. CASH4UNOW gives the example of a 1306% APR (interest rate) on its loans. if you borrow £200, you’ll be paying back £332, which is a huge amount more. Risks that CASH4UNOW lists on its own website, include the fact that missed payments will damage your credit score, and evidence of high-cost short term credit (HCSTC) could put off other lenders.

In this article, we’re going to explore exactly how to deal with debt from CASH4UNOW, your rights against debt collectors working for CASH4UNOW, and how become debt free, and avoid having to use payday loans.

How do I deal with debt from CASH4UNOW?

You can deal with debt from CASH4UNOW finding out your rights against CASH4UNOW debt collectors, finding out if you’re entitled to a Payday Loan refund and refusing to take out more loans to deal with the debt.

You should also access support from a debt charity, revamp your budget to pay off more of your debt, see if you can increase your income, pay off your debts using the debt avalanche method, and talk to CASH4UNOW about support for repayment difficulties.

9 Steps to deal with debt from CASH4UNOW

Know your rights against debt collectors

CASH4UNOW is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which means it has to abide by certain rules when lending you money and collecting it. If you persistently fail to repay debts that you owe, they may pass your debt on to a debt collector, who will try to collect it on their behalf. If debt collectors break any FCA rules, you can report them to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), who will intervene and often force the company to make things right, if they think your case is serious enough. In the UK, lenders and debt collectors are not allowed to:

  • Charge you more than 0.8% interest per day of the amount you borrowed, In the past, payday lenders increased interest indefinitely, leading to spiralling debts and the inability to ever repay. The FCA has brought in these laws to protect you as a borrower. Lenders and debt collectors are also banned from charging you more than same amount you borrowed in late fees and interest.
  • Call you at work. Unless your debt is a business loan, calling you at your place of work, and letting anyone at your workplace know – implicitly or explicitly – that you have a debt and that they are a debt collector, is strictly against Office of Fair Trading (OFT) Laws. The only exception is if you have given a debt collector express permission to contact you at work (we advise that you don’t do this!)
  • Contact you on any social media platform. Lenders and debt collectors must not use your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. to communicate with you. If they do, keep a copy of the communication and report them.
  • Contact you outside of 8am-9pm on working days, or at all on weekends and holidays
  • Reveal the details of your debt to family members or friends, or even suggest – implicitly or explicitly – that you owe a debt and that they’re a debt collector. If a lender or debt collector does this, they are breaching privacy laws, as well as OFT laws.
  • Make false allegations or give misleading information. A debt collector or lender is not allowed to pretend that they have powers which they don’t or suggest that things can happen as a result of not paying your debts which can’t, for example, pretending that they can send you to prison (they can’t). The same goes for impersonating a bailiff, for example, or falsifying documents to make them look like legal documents in order to scare you into paying.
  • Behave in a physically, verbally or emotionally abusive manner.
  • Send or threaten to send bailiffs to your house (bailiffs can only be court-ordered, and there are many, many steps debt collectors or lenders have to go through before they can take you to court)
  • Enter your home without your permission.

Check the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) handbook for the full list of what lenders or debt collectors are not allowed to do in the UK.

Find out if you’re entitled to a refund

If you were mis-sold a CASH4UNOW payday loan or you feel you were treated unfairly, you can complain to the FOS and potentially get a refund, up to 1000s of pounds.

Being mis-sold a payday loan means that the lender hasn’t properly assessed your financial situation. For example, if you already have several payday loans on the go, as well as an obvious gambling addiction, or you only earn £500 a month but the loan is £1,000, it would be irresponsible of the company to lend you the money, as there are clear warning signs that you will struggle to pay it back. If your lender failed to:

  • let you know how much your loan repayments would cost in total
  • let you know how and when to pay back your loan
  • check your personal and financial situation to see if you’d be able to pay back the loan in full
  • didn’t warn you that a payday loan shouldn’t be used as a long-term solution for financial difficulty
  • include risk warnings about what would happen if you couldn’t repay in its advertising
  • inform you of how to complain

You may be entitled to a refund of the interest and late fees on your loan. However, you won’t get refunded the cost of the original loan, and will still have to pay that back. You can also get any negative reports, for example, of late or poor payment history, lifted from your credit file, if your loan is deemed to have been unaffordable (irresponsibly lent to you).

Avoid paying a claims firm to get your refund, as they can take up to 25% of your refund. You can use Resolver’s free online tool to calculate how much you may be due from a payday loan.


Tell them you’re experiencing problems

It’s important to talk to your creditor (in this case, CASH4UNOW) to see how they can support you with your debt. CASH4UNOW are a legal money lender, and because they are authorised by the FCA there are measures they must take – including referring you to debt support charities – if you’re struggling to repay a loan.

CASH4UNOW invite you to get in touch, if your ability to pay back a loan has been affected by Coronavirus. They may be able to grant you a payment deferral of up to 30 days, in which they will not charge additional interest or late payment fees. This can help you sort out your financial situation, without the worry of interest accruing.

CASH4UNOW between 8am to 5:30pm on Fridays (excluding bank holidays. You can telephone them on 0113 887 3434 or email at info@cash4unow.co.uk.

Refuse to take out more loans

We understand how easy it is to get into a debt spiral. You take out a loan that you can’t pay back, and you feel you have no other choice but to take out another loan to afford the necessities. However, there is free support available out there which you can access, rather than taking out another expensive loan.

Check if you’re eligible for government benefits to top up your finances. If you earn below a certain amount or are unemployed, you could be entitled to benefits like Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit or Universal Credit. Your local Citizens Advice Bureau can direct you to support including:

  • A Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) from your council, to help you pay rent if you’re struggling financially.
  • Getting your benefits paid early.
  • Welfare assistance from your local council in the form of vouchers to pay for things like furniture or household appliances. This could be a lifesaver if, say, your washing machine breaks and your only other option for getting one would be taking out a loan.
  • Grants to help with different expenses. Make sure you check out the charity Turn2Us which has a Grant calculator, and shows what grants you could be entitled to in your local area.

Budget

Knowing your budget inside out is a really useful way to pay off debt, and work towards a debt-free future. One of the best ways to budget is the Three Accounts System, developed by debt charity Christians Against Poverty.

The Three Accounts Systems encourages you to take out three separate accounts for your money (before you baulk at this idea, you probably already have two: a current account and a savings account).

The first account is for your direct debits (rent, car insurance, debt repayments), the second is for your weekly spending and the third is for saving. Each month you work out your income (salary, benefits, child benefit, child maintenance payments etc.) and your outgoings (how much money is leaving your account for debt repayments, mortgage, rent etc.).

You then separate the amount of money you need that month for your direct debits and put that in the first account. In the second account, you put the money you’ve budgeted for your weekly spend, for example, on groceries or any other expenses you’ve planned that week. Any money leftover is for your savings account, and it’s a good idea to plan regular amounts to put aside each month, for example, for birthdays, Christmas, school trips or emergencies.

This way, you know exactly what you have to spend each month, while also knowing that your rent or mortgage and debt repayments are covered. Make sure your weekly spending account is a simple cash account with no overdraft, so that you can’t accidentally overspend.

Look at your expenses, and see where you can save money to pay off your debt faster. Use sites like Uswitch.com to see whether you can find a cheaper electricity, phone or broadband company than the one you’re currently using, and buy non-branded items in supermarkets.

Pay your priority bills first

Make sure you prioritise bills and debts according to which are most important, and will have the most significant effect on your life if you don’t pay them. Even if you owe several hundreds to CASH4UNOW, don’t pay them before first making sure your priority debts and bills are paid. Priority bills include:

  • Mortgage, rent and any loans which are secured against your home (meaning you could lose your home if you don’t pay them). Paying these debts keeps a roof over your head.
  • Council Tax. Make sure you pay your Council Tax, as it is one of the few debts that can result in imprisonment (of up to 3 months) if you deliberately refuse to pay when you have the funds.
  • Child Maintenance
  • Gas and electricity bills
  • Income Tax, National Insurance and VAT
  • Hire purchase agreements, if you need to use the equipment you’ve bought on hire purchase for the everyday necessities of life, for example, driving your children to school or yourself to work.

Increase your income

As well as budgeting, increasing your income is a useful way to kick that CASH4UNOW debt for good. It’s a simple equation – higher income = more money to pay off debts, meaning the joy of a debt-free existence sooner rather than later. Can you do some hours in a cafe, tutor, find freelance work or pick up some extra shifts at work? As soon as you set the ball rolling on repaying your debt, you’ll get a burst of enthusiasm as you see the figure going down, knowing that you made it happen with your own hard work.

Debt avalanche

When it comes to payday loan companies like CASH4UNOW, the debt avalanche method is one of the best psychological tactics to pay off your debt, especially if you have multiple loans. As payday loans are almost always very high interest, focus on paying off the debt which has the highest interest, first. This will stop you from accumulating more interest over weeks and months, therefore saving you money in the long run.

Talk to a debt charity

“Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up” (Proverbs 12:25).

You can get free, expert support with your CASH4UNOW debt (and any other debt) with debt charities in the UK. Charities like StepChange, Christians Against Poverty and National Debtline have debt advisors who can help communicate with creditors and debt collectors on your behalf and even arrange free debt management plans where they can get interest and late charges frozen on your debt.

What if I still can’t pay my debt to Cash4UNow?

We know that there are situations where you simply can’t pay off your debt without falling into financial hardship. The UK government offers insolvency solutions, which help you write off some or all of your debt when you’re in a state of financial distress. These include

Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA)

An IVA is a government approved debt help scheme. An IVA is a legal agreement between you and your creditors, and it is managed by an Insolvency Practitioner (IP). An IVA allows you to pay back a small percentage of your total debt, and get the rest of it cleared. At the end of the IVA (which runs for 5-6 years), no matter how much money you have left to pay back, the debt is written off, and the IVA will drop off your credit record after it is discharged (ended). You will make small, monthly payments towards your debt, based only on what you can afford. Your IP will organise a budget with you, and look at how much you can afford to pay to your IVA after you’ve paid for your basic necessities. However, an IVA will affect your credit score for the duration that it lasts. At IVA Advice, we offer free, expert advice on IVAs, so if you think an IVA might be the right solution, give us a call.

Debt Relief Order (DRO)

A Debt Relief Order (DRO) is available if you don’t own any valuable assets, for example, your own home, and you have less than £50 in disposable income. A DRO gives you legal protection against your creditors (they are no longer allowed to contact you about the debt) and writes off your debt after around 12 months. If you have a CCJ, it can be included in a DRO. Like with an IVA, a DRO will affect your credit score until it is discharged.

Bankruptcy

Going bankrupt should be a last resort. While bankruptcy does write off most of your debts, it has a serious effect on your life and credit rating. You can’t be the director of a limited company during your bankruptcy, so it can affect your career if you manage a business. and you may have trouble applying for permanent residency or a Visa. Bankruptcy will clear your debt after around 12 months, although you may have to sell assets such as your home to pay off your creditors. You should always seek free debt advice before deciding to go bankrupt.

Can Cash4Unow take me to court?

If you continue to ignore contact from CASH4UNOW and fail to make any repayments or come to an agreement, they won’t just go away. CASH4UNOW may up taking you to court and getting a County Court Judgement (CCJ) order against you, which demands that you repay the debt. This will arrive in the form of a letter, and will detail:

  • how much you owe
  • how to pay (in full or in instalments)
  • the deadline for paying
  • who you have to pay

How can I defend against a CCJ?

Before CASH4UNOW can take you to court, they must follow certain procedures. Before any court action, you should get a Letter Before Claim with a Reply Form. If you don’t get these documents, your creditor can’t take you to court, so make sure you check whether you’ve received these documents before attending court.

If your payday loan is covered by the Credit Consumer Act (CCA), you should have signed a credit agreement when you took out the loan. If your creditor can’t produce the credit agreement or statements detailing the balance of the debt and how much you have or haven’t repaid, you may not get a CCJ. However, this usually only applies if your debt has been sold from your original creditor to a debt collection company. So, if CASH4UNOW ended up selling on your debt to a debt collector and they can’t produce the original credit agreement, you can’t get a CCJ for the debt and you can even decide to stop paying the debt after a couple of months, as it is no longer enforceable.

When you receive a Letter Before Claim, the Reply Form that should come with it will ask if you owe the debt. There are four boxes:

  • Box A – I agree I owe the debt
  • Box B – I owe some of the debt, but not all of it
  • Box C – I don’t know whether I owe the debt
  • Box D – I dispute the debt

Don’t rush into ticking anything, because even if you owe the money, your creditor may not be able to win a legal defence against you. Tick Box C if you’re not sure whether you owe the debt and may have a defence against it (see our section on defences below)

Possible defences against a CCJ
  • You never owed the money in the first place. Sometimes, loan companies make a mistake, and chase the wrong person for a debt because they have a similar name or lived at the previous address of the debtor. It goes without saying that you do not have to pay these debts.
  • The debt is already paid. Obviously, if you’ve already paid the debt, then a creditor or debt collector won’t have a case against you. Still respond using the Reply Form though, as you’ll need to prove that you’ve already paid the debt.
  • The creditor doesn’t have the original credit agreement. As mentioned before, if your debt is covered by the Credit Consumer Act (CCA) and your creditor can’t provide a copy of the original credit agreement, you may not be able to get a CCJ.
  • You couldn’t afford the original credit. Remember what we said earlier, about potentially getting a refund for your payday loan? If your payday loan was unaffordable, which means the creditor didn’t do proper checks to see if you could afford it, they may not have a case against you in court.
  • The debt is old, and the creditor delayed court action for too long. If your debt is older than six years and your creditor hasn’t taken action before now, you may not have to pay it. This is called a ‘statute barred debt’. The debt will technically still exist, but CASH4UNOW can’t take you to court over it. CASH4UNOW can technically still contact you about the debt, but if there’s nothing they can do to legally force you to pay it, this would be a waste of their resources.

How can I stop a CCJ?

If you receive notification of a CCJ and you don’t agree with it, you can apply to cancel it with an N244 form. This is known as setting aside a CCJ.

In some situations, if you weren’t properly notified about the CCJ or your creditor didn’t follow the correct process when they started the claim against you, you may be able to get the CCJ set aside and removed from your credit history.

Some debt solutions in the UK can overturn or minimise the effects of a CCJ. IVAs will usually reverse a CCJ, unless you have a Charging Order against your valuable assets (where, if you don’t make the demanded repayments, your creditor can sell your assets). With DROs and Bankruptcy, the CCJ will still technically go ahead, but it can be included in your DRO or Bankruptcy, which means you won’t face legal action or have to pay the amount demanded in the CCJ.


Can Cash4Unow take money from my bank account?

Some credit brokers and loan companies use something called a Continuous Payment Authority (CPA) to take debt repayments from your bank. CPAs are most frequently used by Payday loan lenders like CASH4UNOW, but popular subscription services from gym memberships to Netflix also use them.

You may have signed a Credit Agreement without realising that you’ve agreed to a CPA. You can cancel the CPA by contacting your bank and asking them to stop further payments, or by telling your credit broker to cancel the arrangement. You can also ask for a refund from your bank if a payment has been taken without your permission.

According to the Financial Conduct Authority, a firm is not allowed to take money from your bank account unless they’ve explained to you that they’re going to do this, and you agree to it in your Credit Agreement.

If you have a CCJ against you, creditors like CASH4UNOW could take money from you or your bank account in the following ways:

  • Third Party Debt Order. If you don’t make repayments ordered by the court, CASH4UNOW could apply for a Third Party Debt Order. This orders the person who holds your money (usually your bank) to pay it straight to the person you owe, i.e. CASH4UNOW. With a Third Party Debt Order, CASH4UNOW would apply to the court for the order first. This order tells your bank or building society to freeze your account. You’ll then get a form called an N349 Interim third party debt order which will inform you that the money in your account has been frozen. This order will also tell you to attend your local County Court hearing centre. Here, the judge will decide whether to make a Final Third Party Debt Order. If the judge does this, your bank or building society pays the creditor the frozen amount of money. Your bank is only allowed to freeze the amount of money in your account at the time of the Third Party Debt Order. Any money paid into your account after this cannot be frozen, and you can withdraw it.
  • Attachment of Earnings. This is a court order which tells your employer to deduct money straight from your salary to pay off your debt. This money goes straight to the court.

Will a CCJ affect my credit rating?

Yes, a CCJ will affect your credit history significantly. It will remain on your credit history for six years, even if you pay off the amount you owe, although it will be removed after that time. A CCJ is not a criminal judgement, and won’t go on a criminal record.

Can Cash4Unow send bailiffs to my home, or remove goods from my home?

CASH4UNOW have no right to enter your home or remove goods without your permission. In theory, CASH4UNOW can send agents directly to your discuss repayment of the debt. However, you’re under no obligation to let them in, or even answer the door. If a debt collector or creditor tries to force entry into your home, they are breaking the law.

Bailiffs are not the same as debt collectors or creditors, and they can only ever be ordered by a court. So, CASH4UNOW can only send bailiffs to your home once they have a CCJ against you, if they even take you to court in the first place, which is unlikely. You’ll have several opportunities before it gets to this stage to repay your debt in a manageable way.

Even if bailiffs do visit after a court order, they are not allowed to take essential household goods, tools or vehicles you need for work (unless they can reasonably be replaced with cheaper versions) and children’s toys and belongings.

Can CASH4Unow send me to prison?

CASH4UNOW have no power to send you to prison. You cannot go to prison in the UK for being unable to pay your debts. The only situation where you could conceivably face prison time is if you refuse to pay council tax in England or criminal fines, and you do so when it’s clear you actually have the funds to pay them.

How can I stop Cash4Unow contacting me?

The only way to stop creditor contact for good is to find a solution to pay off your debt, whether that’s through an arrangement you can come to with them, support from a debt charity or an insolvency solution like an IVA. However, there are ways to temporarily stop creditor contact and change the way they contact you. These include:

  • Breathing space. You can request a 30 day ‘breathing space’ from creditors and debt collectors, in which they legally can’t contact you. In May 2021, this will increase to 60 days, given the impact of Covid-19. If you’re receiving mental health crisis treatment, you can request a special mental health crisis breathing space, where your creditors are not allowed to contact you for the duration of your treatment, no matter how long this is.
  • Asking a creditor or debt collection company to only contact you by letter. This should put a stop to phone calls and other types of contact if you find them too stressful.
  • A Debt and Mental Health Evidence Form (DMHEF). This is a form which helps creditors understand any mental health issues you may be experiencing, so that they can be more considerate of your personal circumstances when communicating with you.

These approaches won’t remove a creditor’s right to pursue the debt eventually. However, if you agree a plan with your creditors to repay your debt. even if it’s in small amounts every month, they are unlikely to keep chasing you.

What do I do if I’m being harassed by CASH4Unow debt collectors?

If debt collectors or loan companies are doing anything against FCA regulations (see our section above: ‘know your rights against debt collectors’), here’s how you should complain and report them.

  • First contact the company in writing, with a complaint about the company’s behaviour. Save a copy and send the letter via recorded delivery, so that you can prove your creditor received it. The Financial Ombudsman won’t be able to take action on your complaint, unless you contact the creditor or debt collection company first.
  • In the letter, state that you’re aware of Financial Conduct Authority regulations against unfair collections, and explain how their behaviour breaches these. Use the Financial Conduct Authority Consumer Credit sourcebook to list specific examples.
  • Let them know how they should contact you in the future. For example, if they’ve been making visits and phone calls, request that they only contact you by letter (contact via letter also has to obey FCA regulations, so they’re in breach of regulations if they harass you by letter)
  • Say that if they continue to communicate with you in a way which is against FCA regulations, you’ll be making a complaint to Trading Standards or the Financial Ombudsman Service.

You can also complain to:

  • Trading Standards, who can investigate whether your creditor or debt collector has committed and offence, and see if they should be prosecuted.
  • Financial Conduct Authority. While the FCA doesn’t take action on individual complaints, it will take information on creditors. The FCA has the power to suspend a firm for up to 12 months, withdraw a company’s authorisation, give the company a financial penalty, and make public what the company has done wrong.

Now that we’ve gone through exactly how to deal with debt from CASH4UNOW, what your rights are against debt collectors and what to do if you get a CCJ, we hope you’ve found this a useful read. Remember that there are lots of things you can do to sort out your debt and pay off a manageable amount per month, without having to get to the court stage at all.

Ethan Combes