Complaints against payday lenders have soared to a five-year high, the industry watchdog has said. There were nearly 40,000 new complaints brought last year, up a "startling" 130% on the 17,000 the previous year, the Financial Ombudsman Service said. In too many cases people have been left to struggle with debt, it said. Short-term lender industry body the Consumer Finance Association (CFA) said most of the complaints dated back a number of years. Complaint flood

Most of the complaints were made about affordability. Some customers took out 20 to 30 loans in a short space of time, either to pay off other outstanding loans or for household bills.Many of the complaints came through claims management companies, the CFA said.