High-cost loans will make Christmas a misery for Brits

Borrowers have more than double the chance of being forced to forgo presents due to lack of funds than those without, according to research from Debt Hacker

High-cost loan users are facing an austere Christmas, according to new research that discovered borrowers are twice as likely to be forced to forgo buying presents.

The Debt Hacker study, carried out by ICM Unlimited, found that financial hardship prevents a quarter of Brits from buying presents for loved ones.

But when it comes to high-cost lender customers, just over half – 52 per cent – face the same festive season quandary. In fact, 44 per cent are left with no option but to miss out on meeting up with family altogether because they simply cannot afford to go.

Financial difficulties also stand in the way of the festive feasts with high-cost loans making it more than twice as likely for borrowers to skip a meal while a quarter will be reliant on foodbanks compared to just seven per cent without a loan.

The stigma around problem debt can also play a role at Christmas, leading to isolation and loneliness with one in five people who’ve taken out a high-cost loan have no one to talk to about their financial woes. Add to it the pressure to create the perfect Christmas – again double the amount of high-cost loan users feel pushed to spend more than they can afford – and life on the bread line is increasingly tough over the holidays.

This situation would be shocking at any time of year, but at Christmas it’s simply tragic

Debt Hacker is an online campaign that aims to help borrowers fight back against exploitative lending by using free tools to make a complaint and recoup interest and fees from mis-sold loans. Importantly, these loans are also removed from the borrower’s credit file, ensuring that they do not get trapped in a never-ending spiral of debt and poverty.

“This situation would be shocking at any time of year, but at Christmas it’s simply tragic,” said Debt Hacker founder Alan Campbell. “We don’t want anyone to find themselves in this lonely position this festive season. If you’re struggling, talk to someone – be that friends, family, debt advice services – whatever you do, don’t feel pressure to spend more than you can afford.”