Grandfather took his own life after racking up £20k of debt with a dozen payday loan companies, inquest hears


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The Independent Online

Ian Jordan, a grandfather described by his daughter Samantha as the “life and soul of the party” was unable to cope with payday loan debts which spiraled out of control, and took his own life, an inquest has heard.

The 60-year-old, from Southampton, Hampshire, committed suicide last year. He owed around £20,000 to more than a dozen payday loan companies – one of which was charging him more than 5,000 per cent interest. Today his family attacked payday loan firms for lending money to people who cannot afford to pay them back. Mr Jordan’s daughter, Samantha Carr, said: "He was borrowing money to pay off debts [which was] to pay off debts. The interest rate is one thing, the fact that you have already got this debt was another. It just spiralled out of control."

The court heard that Mr Jordan had been unemployed for years due to poor health and suffered with a hiatus hernia. Loan firms continued to take money from him even after he had been taken off jobseekers allowance. “They were just taking it out of his bank account. He had no money in the last few days of his life,” his daughter told the Southern Daily Echo, Southampton. “Why do they still lend money to people when you have got debt? My main concern is to make sure that this doesn't happen to anybody else.”

Southampton Coroner Grahame Short recorded a verdict of suicide at the inquest which heard that Mr Jordan died after taking an overdose of painkillers.

And it emerged that loan companies bombarded Mr Jordan’s phone with texts after he died late last year. His ex-wife, who asked not to be named, said: "People receive calls after they are dead and Ian received 1,000 texts after his death. They pursued the family too.”

The tragic death of the 60-year-old is an extreme example of the misery of hundreds of thousands of Britons resorting to taking out payday loans to make ends meet. Last year 1.6 million people took out the short-term loans – with a total of £2.5 billion borrowed in this way. But there is mounting concern over the dangers of the loans, which can swiftly escalate far beyond the original amounts borrowed. And the news of Mr Jordan’s suicide comes just days after the Financial Conduct Authority announced new rules to curb the amounts payday lenders can charge. From next January, interest and fees charged by short-term lenders must not exceed 0.8 per cent of the amount borrowed per day. Fixed default fees will be capped at £15 and the total cost of a loan should never be more than double the amount borrowed.

Video: Wonga forced to pay £2.6 million compensation

Totally unrelated to Mr Jordan’s death, one of Britain’s best-known payday loan companies, Wonga – notorious for annual interest rates approaching 6,000 per cent – could yet face prosecution for lying to its borrowers. Police are considering evidence from a FCA investigation earlier this year which discovered the company had sent threatening legal letters from law firms which did not exist – something which has seen Wonga ordered to pay £2.6 million in compensation to the 45,000 people affected.

In a statement, a spokesperson for City of London police said: “In its role as the National Policing Lead for Fraud the City of London Police are now examining the large quantity of potential evidence gathered by the FCA in the course of their investigation to ascertain whether they should now begin its own criminal investigation into this matter.”

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