Learn from my nightmare and avoid the debt trap
NICK Ellis is warning others against taking out instant loans.
The 25-year-old went online for a £100 payday advance to cover a string of unexpected expenses at home.
A year later he was on loan number 12, off work through ill health and living in fear of bailiffs. The city's Citizens Advice Bureau eventually helped Nick secure a debt relief order, freeing him of the debt before it rocketed still further. But he said: "It got to the stage where I wasn't able to eat or drink.
"When you have debt hanging over you like that you just can't relax, you don't know what's going to happen next. I was off sick from work for a while. It got pretty bad."
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Nick's problems began shortly after he landed a job as an administrator for an organisation based in the city centre.
Six months into the role he moved out of his parents' house to rent his own home in Mutley.
Then, last year, Nick was hit with a series of unexpected bills and sudden household expenses.
"It all came along at once," he said. "I'd literally maxed out my overdraft and I was too embarrassed, or too proud, to ask my family or friends for help. I took it into my own hands."
Nick went online to look for payday credit companies in an attempt to clear his bills.
He said: "I thought they looked legit so I started applying for a couple of loans.
"It started off with little amounts like £100 and then I realised that I needed to take out another one just to keep myself going. I ended up applying for loans just to pay back other loans.
"It became a nasty circle then, just hijacked my finances for about a year until it got the better of me and I had to get a debt relief order. Over the course of a year it was literally 10 or 12 loans I took out. I ended up owing about £6,000."
But Nick said he did not feel he was mis-sold the loans. He added: "I knew what I was getting myself into. It was all high-interest – and I knew that. The pit was already there and I jumped into it, basically. Hopefully people will read this and realise how easy it is to get into trouble with them."