A HOMELESS Lloyds Bank customer considered killing himself after being sent a text message on Christmas Day demanding he repay a loan.
The man, left homeless after losing his job in the pandemic, said the “heartless” text was the "final straw".
After complaining about the message he was offered £50 compensation – which he says made things worse.
He said: “In many ways that was worse then receiving a heartless text on Christmas Day reminding me I was facing financial ruin.
“It left me thinking – 'is that what the bank thinks my life is really worth?’
“In a year that has been shocking it is wrong that Lloyds can act in the way they do.”
The man, who asked to remain anonymous, lost his job in March. He took a Covid payment break from a Lloyds loan in April, which ended in September.
Despite sending out hundreds of applications he was unable to find work, so he contacted Lloyds again in October.
But they said there were no further options so they handed it over to their collections team to recover the money.
He added: “By October, with my savings exhausted, I found myself staying with friends in their spare room. I am still there and still searching for work.
"I claim universal credit and whilst trying to keep a brave face with those around me, I am ashamed to say as a grown man I cry with worry at night."
The man said he received a text while preparing to eat Christmas lunch at his friend's house. The meal was provided by the man's friend in exchange for him doing the cooking.
He said: "I checked the phone thinking it would be a relative.
“Unbelievably the message was from Lloyds to ask me to contact them to discuss the outstanding loan.
"At lunchtime on Christmas Day, in the middle of this living hell, when we are all looking for some hope in life, Lloyds send a text to remind people that they are financially going under. It is wrong.
“I spent the lunch and the day quietly reminded in my own head of the mess that I was in and of the fact there is no immediate sign of things improving."
The man said that on Christmas night, he went into a spare room at his friend's house and considered ending his life.
He said: “Their text was the last straw, the catalyst at such a sensitive time, a time which should be joyful, that made me think there was no point in carrying on.
"Let me be clear – I want to repay this debt. And as soon as I am able to I will. But to be chased on Christmas Day is just unacceptable.”
Lloyds has apologised and said they had launched an urgent investigation. They claimed the message was automated and had been sent out in error.
They were unable to confirm how many of their customers had received a similar message.
A spokesman said: “ We are really sorry that the customer received this text – it’s inappropriate and we are urgently investigating how this happened.
"We have apologised to him, both for sending the message and for how we initially responded to his contact with us.
"We have colleagues dedicated to supporting customers in these difficult times, and we will continue to discuss all available options with the customer.”
If you are affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can call The Samaritans for free any time, even on a mobile without credit, on 116123.
You Are Not Alone
EVERY 90 minutes in the UK a life is lost to suicide.
It doesn't discriminate, touching the lives of people in every corner of society – from the homeless and unemployed to builders and doctors, reality stars and footballers.
It's the biggest killer of people under the age of 35, more deadly than cancer and car crashes.
And men are three times more likely to take their own life than women.
Yet it's rarely spoken of, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage unless we all stop and take notice, now.
That is why The Sun launched the You're Not Alone campaign.
The aim is that by sharing practical advice, raising awareness and breaking down the barriers people face when talking about their mental health, we can all do our bit to help save lives.
Let's all vow to ask for help when we need it, and listen out for others… You're Not Alone.
If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:
- CALM, www.thecalmzone.net, 0800 585 858
- Heads Together,www.headstogether.org.uk
- Mind, www.mind.org.uk, 0300 123 3393
- Papyrus, www.papyrus-uk.org, 0800 068 41 41
- Samaritans,www.samaritans.org, 116 123
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