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I have foolishly taken out several loans from 'payday lenders' which escalated into me paying off loans with other loans and I am now trying to dig myself out of that hole. I am in Scotland.

I have contacted all of my creditors to try and arrange a repayment scheme and all but one of them have responded with a schedule I can keep to.

However, one of the companies has completely ignored my requests and, today, took around £600 from my bank account. The charges are currently pending.

I have contacted my bank and asked them to cancel the continuous payment authority and they have done so, but they cannot cancel the pending transactions, though I may be able to dispute them - but I find it unlikely that'll work since it's more for charges that were made without my permission?

This unexpected charge has left me with £20 to survive for the rest of the month so I definitely need to do something, but I'm not sure what my best course of action is. Can anyone advise?

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I can't find the underlying legislation, but a few online resources suggest that if you contact a lender about a payment plan, they should put repayments on hold temporarily:

http://www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk/keeps-you-awake/payday-rights.html

We don’t think it’s fair if your lender: [...]

Doesn’t help you get on top of things if you ask for help or “breathing space” to sort things out.

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/debt-and-money/borrowing-money/types-of-borrowing/loans/payday-loans/payday-loans-reasons-to-complain-about-your-lender/

If you've had problems repaying the loan, you can complain if your payday lender: [...]

did not offer to freeze interest and charges if you are able to make payments under a reasonable repayment plan

https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/problems-paying-back-payday-loans

By law, they must: [...]

Suspend recovery of the debt for a reasonable period if you’re developing a repayment plan with a debt adviser or on your own

I'd start by making an immediate complaint to the lender. Make them aware that you're unable to meet basic living expenses because of the money they took, and ask for them to suspend collection temporarily and for the money to be returned.

I would also dispute the charge with your bank on the grounds that it should not have been taken given the circumstances, and ask for them to credit your account while they investigate the dispute. They may not be too keen given it'll leave you overdrawn if they later reject the dispute, but it's worth asking.

In parallel with that, contact Citizens Advice and/or the Financial Ombudsman (details in the links) and see if there's anything they can do or suggest.

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