Marc Gander - The Consumer Survival Handbook


A 220 page introduction to all things consumer related by our own BankFodder.

Includes energy companies, mobile phone providers, retailers, banks, insurance companies,debt collection agencies, reclaim companies, secondhand car sellers, cowboy garages, cowboy builders and all the rest who put their own profits before you.

£6.99



Patricia Pearl - Small Claims Procedure - A Practical Guide


An excellent guide for the layperson in how to use the County Court - a must if you are intending to start a claim.

£19.99 + £1.50 (P&P)


  • Does your bank play fair? You can force your bank to play Fair with you

    Yes you can.
    The Banking: Conduct of Business Regulations (BCOBicon) came into force on 1 November 2009.
    They are hugely powerful regulations and are capable of being used to force banks to act fairly in relation to their customers in every respect -- yet they seem to be largely unknown and one wonders whether they haven't somehow been hidden away from view.
    Summarised, it can be said that the BCOBicon provisions require that
    • banks treat their customers fairly
    • banks communicate with their customers fairly
    • banks have regard to their customers interests when making decisions

    The BCOB regulations replaced the Banking Codeicon of Practice which was abolished in November 2009.

    BCOB is extremely powerful for four reasons: --
    • Unlike the Banking Code, it has the force of law. BCOB has been produced by the FSA under regulatory powers contained in the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (FMSA). This means that any bank which disobeys the BCOB regulations is acting illegally and can be subject to punitive sanctions by the FSA. A bank which breaches its BCOB obligations is in effect, in breach of statutory duty -- a very serious matter.


    • The statutory duties created by BCOB are very wide. This is unusual because statutory duties are normally very precisely defined by the legislation which creates them. BCOB is exceptional in this regard because it creates almost open ended duties - merely to act fairly in respect of customers. The requirement of fairness is not something that can be subject to a system of binding precedent. Fairness is something which must be decided on a case-by-case basis. Briefly, it is possible to say that unfairness is what ever any reasonable person in the same circumstances would consider it to be.


    • The most powerful aspect of BCOB is that unlike most of the other rules which are meant to control the banking industry, and which can only be enforced by the OFT or the FSA -- when they can be bothered, -- is that BCOB contains a direct right of private action in the ordinary courts for any bank customer who suffers the breach of statutory duty. This right to take your own court action is generally not referred to in the BBA or FSA guides. It is tucked away as a suggested last resort in the FSA's separate guide - How to Complain. We suggest that if you want a quick effective and properly fair remedy, that you should consider Court Action rather than making a complaint to the Ombudsmanicon


    • Finally, BCOB not only applies to private individuals. It also applies to small businesses. It is this sector of the Banks' clientele which have for so long had such a difficult time. Small businesses have been excluded from all consumer protection legislation. But for the first time, BCOB not only offers them protection from their banks but gives them their direct right of civil action as well. And about time.
    This is really quite exceptional. It means that you do not have to simply satisfy yourself by writing a letter to the OFT or to the FSA and receive either -- no reply whatsoever -- or a reply which simply thanks you for your letter and is added to the pile of similar letters until some anonymous official decides that maybe there needs to be a market study.

    If you suffer unfair treatment at the hands of your bank, you can now begin your own county courticon action against your bank for compensation further damage caused by the unfair treatment.
    Comments 26 Comments
    1. mark1arby's Avatar
      Out of interest and maybe a little naively. Can any of these rules be used or adapted for use against Lone Companies who have acted Unfairly toward customers?

    1. BankFodder's Avatar
      No. They have to be "Firms" within the meaning of the FSA rules

    1. Nikkib's Avatar
      How do I go about putting the wheels in motion going down this road with Lloyds TSB?

    1. BankFodder's Avatar
      Post your story on the forum and you will get help in the normal way. If it is a BCOBS case then we'll show you what to do

    1. means2anend's Avatar
      Could this be used as a a supplement to CPUTR

    1. tifo's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by BankFodder View Post
      No. They have to be "Firms" within the meaning of the FSA rules
      do BCOBs apply to credit card companies?

      I ask because they seem to apply to 'deposit taking services' which would be retail bank accounts only. If so, how can it apply to ALL firms regulated by the FSA?

      thanks.

    1. BankFodder's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by tifo View Post
      do BCOBs apply to credit card companies?

      I ask because they seem to apply to 'deposit taking services' which would be retail bank accounts only. If so, how can it apply to ALL firms regulated by the FSA?

      thanks.
      Yes, you are right. They only apply to firms in the activity of deposit taking - retail current account banking

    1. BankFodder's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by means2anend View Post
      Could this be used as a a supplement to CPUTR
      CPUT is not enforceable by individuals.
      When CPUT came out, I had high hopes but frankly it has turned out to be pretty useless - mainly because of the lack of will on the part of the OFT

    1. tifo's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by BankFodder View Post
      Yes, you are right. They only apply to firms in the activity of deposit taking - retail current account banking
      That's a pity .... they would have been good to use with credit card companies who 'deposit' money from consumers and 'lend' it out thereby earning further money (interest/charges/fees).

    1. BankFodder's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by tifo View Post
      The need to pay due regard to customers and treat them fairly is taken from Principle 6 whilst Principal 7 makes it clear firms must communicate in clear, fair and not misleading manner.

      The Principles apply to every firm regulated by the FSA (credit card companies included) so can they be used as effectively as BCOBs?

      Section 150 of FSMA 2000 gives a right of action for a breach of any rule which the FSA publishes.
      They could be except that a right of direct action in the courts is expressly excluded. This means that you have to wait until the FSA or OFT can be bothered to take action.

      The only way round that I see would be to say that these requirements form part of the contract and to sue for breach of contract.
      This is a longish way round but the legal principles are sound. If I had a problem with a credit card or loan, I would use the implied contractual term argument.
      I think that in the face of obvious unfairness, a judge would feel quite prepared to accept the argument.
      Also - and very powerfully - in the face of an obvious breach of the FSA principles, I think that there are good grounds for raising s.140A CCA.

      Now see this article:- http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk...-and-Borrowers

    1. tifo's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by BankFodder View Post
      They could be except that a right of direct action in the courts is expressly excluded.

      Also - and very powerfully - in the face of an obvious breach of the FSA principles, I think that there are good grounds for raising s.140A CCA.
      Yes, i note that s.150 is excluded.

      As for using s.140A of CCA, this is a sound idea, i.e. that a breach of an FSA rule, especially one on unfairness, results in an Unfair Relationship as the bank is the dominant party.

    1. jamesbond's Avatar
      is bcobs applicable now to events happening pre 2009 when the banking code of conduct was in force?

    1. tifo's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by jamesbond View Post
      is bcobs applicable now to events happening pre 2009 when the banking code of conduct was in force?
      I doubt it ..... at that time it would have been the voluntary banking code.

    1. BankFodder's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by tifo View Post
      I doubt it ..... at that time it would have been the voluntary banking code.
      ... and COBS

    1. sutton6344's Avatar

      ... and COBS
      The way I understand it when there are charges on charges pre 2009 the bank could be sued under COBS , however I believe it would be worth mentioning BCOBS in the particulars of claim.

      does the same also apply for mortgages?

    1. tifo's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by sutton6344 View Post
      The way I understand it when there are charges on charges pre 2009 the bank could be sued under COBS , however I believe it would be worth mentioning BCOBS in the particulars of claim.

      does the same also apply for mortgages?
      It can't be sued for breaching specific COB rules (that right is only given in BCOBs) but you can use it with UTCCR and s.140 CCA as part of the claim.

      MCOBs can be used for mortgages and 12.4.1R states that their charges must reflect a costs estimate. The problem is that it doesn't say "actual" costs, only an estimate, and banks will provide an estimate equal to the charge.

    1. BankFodder's Avatar
      You can say that COBS is incorporated into the account contract and then sue them for breach of that implied term

    1. builderboy's Avatar
      i have been with abbey national/sanntander for many years, i have a mortgage with them also,,,,,,,,, under abbey national i had a agreed o/d limit of 4800-00, this i upheld held for years keeping within my limit,,,,,,, in July 2011 my wife went to buy some food only to be turned away at the till, I rang sanntander and they informed me that they had blocked my account and have called in my agreed o/d/ at the time my o/d was
      3200-00,,,,,,,,,1600-00 under the agreed limit,,,,,,,,this has caused many problems and they have now sold the debt to wescot finance,,,,,,,, I had no notice whatsoever from santander that thier was a problem,,,,,,, can anyone help please

    1. Mybankhatesme11's Avatar
      Hello all, i would just like to say a warm thank you for everyone on this forum...I have been reading peoples comments on certain scenarios with banks and im grateful for everyones participation to responses on certain questions. So thank you for paying attention to any posts that are added on this site daily......

      PLEASE READ MY STORY, WHAT CAN THE BANKING CONDUCT OF BUSINESS REALLY DO?

      I am experiencing probably one of the most challenging circumstances in my life. I am being taken in to receivership by my bank. The Bank being the "bank of Cyprus uk" i Live in england.

      I have a mortgage with this bank. During the recession, i was experiencing great difficulty keeping to contractual payments. i contacted my bank daily, with letters, phone calls and gave them proposals on my ways of trying to generate more of an income to keep to the payments. However, with disregard, i was told by the bank that i signed to make contractual payments and i was obliged to keep to them. I did keep to the payments however not the amounts they were asking for...

      So on the 27th January 2012 i receive a letter, from a receiver claiming that i must cease contact with my tenants and that all monies should go to him. He has been appointed by the bank...28th January the receiver comes into my property...

      During that time i was so distraught...30 years of work to be taken from me in an instance? All because i signed? Surely, the bureaucratic society we live in cant be so vague?

      The bank says i owe them 353,000.00...??????????? ???

      I only agreed to mortgages that came to the amount of 250,000.00...i was also making payments to this account...Where have my payments gone? i took the loan out in 2009...

      Now i do not debate i do not owe the bank money, however i do debate the banks assumption of the amount i owe above...

      RESTRUCTURED LOANS (INTEREST ACCOUNTS OVERDRAFTS)

      To the best of my knowledge, my husband and i have are aware that the bank restructured our loans, overdrafts. We assumed it was to our benefit. So is this 353,000.00 a computation of my mortgage, loans and overdrafts?

      I contacted my bank asking if they could provide to me the information of a break down as to how they justify the amount they say i owe them. What was presented was the amount i signed for, and then to my surprise a loan for 165,000.00 was provided? Now i was led to believe that the restructuring was to my benefit, i was not aware that when you restructure accounts you actually borrow money to do this??? My bank did not state this. AS a consumer i was not aware that this is the process of restructuring.

      The information also stated that A BRIDGING LOAN WAS CREATED (165,000.00) TO RESTRUCTURE EXISTING DEBT FROM ARREARS AND OVERDRAFT CHARGES???????

      IS this common for a bank to do? Could they not see that by doing this my Financial circumstance would inevitably lead to chaos???? Not to forget, the bank did charge me 5,000 to do this restructuring to my accounts.

      So my bank is masterminding Profit by tuning my accounts to be detrimental.

      NOW, the bank have called in the loan?????????????

      I signed the agreement that said the bank can come in at any given time and reclaim any security they have on the loan???? If this was the case i would not have signed the document clause.

      The bank refuse to contact me or reply to any of my messages.
      My account manager, With evidence i have saved, tells me "no one wants to speak to you here, do not call again"

      This is a bank regulated by the FSA?????

      What do i do guys? i have contacted the financial services ombudsman, i am waiting for an adjudicator. I have been told by the ombudsman that they can stop the banks claim however during the wait i am incurring interest and the bank is still adamant that i raise funds to repay the loan i have with them...

      Also i sold a property that was to generate around 46,000.00 to repay my mortgage, Where has this money gone??? the bank is not telling me where the money has gone, Why is the balance owed still so high?????

      I found this website legalseagulls and thought for an inspired element of hope,

      Based on the banking conduct code, the bank i believe is breaking laws within this code. I am so frustrated that they believe due to a signature, they have control over me. What do i do to stop the receiver from taking my properties. How do i go about taking the bank to the county court. i have been treated like a criminal, its not my fault the nature of my business requires consumers to enter the premises and purchase products, i have been working within this environment for over 45 years, i understand the trends of consumers, it is a quite time without a doubt....

      I just need help guys, im being treated so unfairly, The receiver will not allow me to sell my properties because he wants to get his commission, if he sells them at auction there may be a shortfall, so im then left with no work...How do i stop this, the bank did not contact me in any way, i was led to believe that recovery was not so serious and that it was a means to arrange my accounts to make it favourable for myself to make payments...Why was this dissmissed? i presented them with proposals? but no one would talk to me at the bank...What is happening here????

      i am doing all i can.. Under the banking conduct of business, how do i challenge the bank?

      I sincerely thank all those that have taken the time to read this thread

      Please feel free to reply on any grounds of assistance that i can attmept to stall off the receiver so that the bank can be investigated on the handling of my account?

      My regards

      Read more at: Receiver Comes To My Property With No Warning:need Advice - Legal seagulls Consumer Forum

    1. Mybankhatesme11's Avatar
      My bank have taken my proceeds from a sale of a property and instead of using those proceeds to clear oustanding overdrafts and arrears on the overdrafts, they used the money to reduce the mortgage????????/ what i dont understand is, the bank was making it statutory that i repay the overdrafts and arrear...When presented with the proceeds they simply placed the proceeds upon the mortgage when the agreement was to clear the overdrafts. Now because of this, they have taken the opportunity to take my account into receivership??? WHy did they do this, IS this allowed. Did the bank not consider my benefit as a consumer that they are obliged by law to do, to clear my overdrafts...My properties are now being taken to auction,, can anyone provide any insight on this/ this is a very stressful time...

      Many thanks

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