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.


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)

  • Fair Treatment for Credit Card Holders and Borrowers - COBS

    The Banking:Conduct of Business Regulations (BCOBS) place a statutory duty on your bank to treat you fairly when conducting your retail current account business.
    BCOBS is hugely powerful because it gives you the right to take direct action in the courts to sue your bank if they treat you unfairly.

    But BCOBS seems only to apply to retail current account services. If you are simply a credit card customer or if you merely have a loan account, then you are not protected by BCOBS and it seems that as far as being entitled to fair treatment, the FSA has left you out in the cold.

    However, you may have a remedy against unfair treatment by another route.

    BCOBS is just one part of a larger set of FSA rules - the Conduct of Business Sourcebook - COBS. In particular, COBSicon contains a set of principles which are legally binding on all firms which are regulated by the FSA.

    The 11 principles are laid out here. The principles which seem to be of most relevance to ordinary retail customers in respect of loans or credit cards or other products not covered by BCOBS are:-

    6 Customers' interests A firm must pay due regard to the interests of its customers and treat them fairly.
    7 Communications with clients A firm must pay due regard to the information needs of its clients, and communicate information to them in a way which is clear, fair and not misleading.
    8 Conflicts of interest A firm must manage conflicts of interest fairly, both between itself and its customers and between a customer and another client.
    As with the fairness requirements in BCOBS, the fairness rules contained in the COBS principles are hugely powerful. They are capable of being applied to every conceivable kind of wrong-dealing meted out to you by your bank or lender.

    Schedule 5.4 of the COBS transitional provisions provides a direct right of action in the county courts for aggrieved customers.

    Right of action under section 138D
    Chapter/ Appendix Section/Annex Paragraph For private person? Removed? For other person?
    All rules in COBS with the status letter "E" No No No
    Any rule in COBS which prohibits an authorised person from seeking to make provision excluding or restricting any duty or liability Yes No Yes Any other person
    Any rule in COBS which is directed at ensuring that transactions in designated investments are not effected with the benefit of unpublished information that, if made public, would be likely to affect the price of that designated investment Yes No Yes Any other person
    The fair, clear and not misleading rule Yes In part (Note 1) No
    All other rules in COBS Yes No No

    1. COBS 4.2.6R provides that if, in relation to a particular communication or financial promotion, a firm takes reasonable steps to ensure it complies with the fair, clear and not misleading rule, a contravention of that rule does not give rise to a right of action under section 138D of the Act.

    This is in keeping with the direct right of action given in all the other COBS regs - BCOBS, ICOBSicon, mcobsicon

    The COBS obligations came in force in 2007

    For examples of unfair treatment, see here
    Comments 19 Comments
    1. coffeeangel's Avatar
      Thanks for this Bank Fodder, makes for very interesting reading.



    1. tifo's Avatar
      As discussed, it might be an idea to add that the breach of statutory duty (FSA rules) can be combined with s.140A of CCA 1974 to allege an Unfair Relationship.

      {i think it should say "You can SUE them in the county court"}.

    1. BankFodder's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by tifo View Post
      As discussed, it might be an idea to add that the breach of statutory duty (FSA rules) can be combined with s.140A of CCA 1974 to allege an Unfair Relationship.

      Yes, I've said that already somewhere but maybe it needs to be emphasised

    1. dreamseller's Avatar
      Thanks for this excellent writeup. Where should one send a complaint of this nature to Lloyds TSB (address wise)? Also, how should one word the complaint to include this sort of language with regards to a business loan? Any templates?


    1. firstship's Avatar
      Thanks for this guidance,it will take the wind out of the sails of numerous credit card companies/banks it would be very helpful if this was part of the CCA 1974


    1. BankFodder's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by dreamseller View Post
      Thanks for this excellent writeup. Where should one send a complaint of this nature to Lloyds TSB (address wise)? Also, how should one word the complaint to include this sort of language with regards to a business loan? Any templates?

      Don't imagine for a moment that these people will respond to a mere complaint. They will tell you that they have 8 weeks. The they will tell you to go to the Ombudsman which is a journey lasting up to two years or more.
      Only rapid court action will get their attention.
      If you don't believe me, then try it your way.

    1. BankFodder's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by firstship View Post
      Thanks for this guidance,it will take the wind out of the sails of numerous credit card companies/banks it would be very helpful if this was part of the CCA 1974

      It is part of the CCA - in that it can me made to be part of it.
      Once you establish unfairness under these regs, it is only a short hop to say that the unfairness is evidence of an unfair relationship under CCA s.140A
      It is really very straightforward. It only needs commitment and rapid assertive action from you.

    1. firstship's Avatar
      Thankyou BankFodder have recorded this in my Bookmark,very very helpful

      Regards FS

    1. tifo's Avatar
      Another problem is when accounts are sold to debt agencies and COB, BCOB etc no longer apply because DCAs are not regulated by the FSA (only the OFT). Thus the consumer loses the protection they previously had for the account. How can this be fair?

      Though COBS and PRINS don't give a right of private action by the consumer (but BCOB does), can breaches by the creditor still be used as part of an overall action if it is for something else (such as charges/PPI)?

    1. BankFodder's Avatar
      Although the debts are sold on, the duties remain with the original creditor.
      For instance, even if your debt is sold, the original creditor is still the party to sue if you want to recover charges
      Somewhere in the regs it specifically mentions that regulated firms remain responsible for third parties which act for them

    1. gregorious77's Avatar
      This is good news for me but time is of the essence!
      I have an allocation hearing on Weds for PPI claim and I have put a S140 in my POC which they deny and say they will use Harrison v Blackhorse in defending this.
      I did not ask for PPI but it was added to my account!!

    1. Mrs Hobbit's Avatar
      GE Money and an unlicensed broker when loan was tekan out in 2005.

      Saleman came to house with a pre-approved loan agreement to be signed and we weren't told a thing a about this. we thought were were signing an application for a loan. Loan is still not fully repaid under existing terms, because broker was unlicensed at the time, BUT I have repaid the principle borrowed and some interest when all payments made have been calculated, so what is the next forward? I am refusing to pay the next four years of interest

      oh GE Money claim broker was licensed, but broker did not apply for license until 2007.

      Have told GE I am not paying any more as what I am paying is interest and I haven't started on the old securitized issue. When I say securitized they borrowed money from an SPV using our loan..The old campaigners will understand what I am saying

      Rough figures here Original loan 13,000, repayments of 226.00 a month for 120 months. Have paid 72 months.

      I am on a state pension....have asked the lower the interest rate.

      oh the other bit, the loan is on variable interest. I learnt variable is not what it is thought to be.... sorry aboput hijacking this thread...if a mod feels it needs to be in another thread please feel free to move it.

      Thank BF for the info and it could be a way foward.

    1. BankFodder's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by phatram View Post
      Can you sue them even if they've taken you to court and got a CCJ against you?
      They did this after I refused to pay interest at over 30%.
      Yes you can.
      Start a new thread on the forum and tell us the whole story

    1. BankFodder's Avatar
      If anyone has any further comments or questions, please start a new thread on the forum.

    1. stochastic's Avatar
      You have answered a very important question, that is the reasons why they wanted to turn overdrafts into loans at such an drastic pace. We realise it was financial but this may be a really good reason as well

      Of course this now leaves the door wide open, if they have missold loans to stop the BCOBS aactions against them then this just leaves to door wide open to take action.

    1. kennyh's Avatar
      Hi Banky,
      The mediation service.
      Do you know if it's free (cos court fees are becoming extraordinarily expensive) and is it easy to set up. I did buy the original small claims book guide (and very useful it was too) but being a pensioner now these wee luxuries tend to be frowned upon by 'er indoors!

    1. davdel's Avatar
      Please help me,

      In 2003 I took out consolidation loan with the HSBC. I made most of payments on time through direct debit. On some occasions I was forced to cancel a payment, only to pay it later. This was fine and the bank always sought ways tohelp me, as I was a contractor and there were times I was out of work. However things drastically changed when the recession hit. I was out of work and no prospects in sight, I contacted the bank and explained the situation, I had sufficient funds in my account to clear my debt. I made an extra payment against the loan, this was returned to me informing me that I could not make extra payments under the loan agreement. I then offered to pay off the loan including the interest up to the term of the contract. This was also turned down. I made a further phone call, and explained to the bank, that I wanted to clear my loan debt to them, to prevent any form of default, as I was not able to find work. No matter how hard I explained it to them they refused. The consequence of the refusal, was that I eventually had no more funds to make the payments. They had also refused to pay on the PPI against unemployment. Since this my wife and I have parted company. The divorce settlement gave me 40% ofthe marital home. This however did not culminate in funds as the property is under a life time mortgage for equity.

      I was contacted by the metropolitan collections agency demanding full payment of the debt 12,000 plus costs. I had by this time employed a debt management agency to handle my affairs. The handling my debts by the DMA, was not very good, and they confused my accounts and failed to make the payments of off my loan account. When it was eventually sorted out, metropolitan had employed a firm of solicitors, who were taking me to court. I was eventually taken to county court. The court ruled that the debt be put against my share ofthe house, to be paid if the house was sold, or I was in receipt of a cash settlement from my ex wife.

      The bank put me in this situation on the grounds of their refusal to accept payment in full. I have since won a claim against them for the failure to honour my PPI cover. Metropolitan have said that they are keeping it to reduce my debt. If they keep this then they are only putting me further into debt andcreating a greater hardship for me, as I am only on a state pension. I have however made an offer for them to retain 1,500 of the settlement, as I have to pay the company who worked on my behalf, to make the refund claim. At this moment in time I have not heard from

    1. mar1kos's Avatar
      please any advice will be helpful my Bank admitted unfair tratement and relationships last year the sent me a letter of apology and 50.00 cheque compensation along with 1.00 per month reduced payment for 1 year but i cashed the 50 cheque.
      However mid way thru this new schedule my account was passed to DCA and threatening letters followed now the Bank solicitors are taken to court.
      Can i still use in my defence the unfair relations they admitted even though i accepted the 50 compensation?

    1. dx100uk's Avatar
      this thread is for ref only
      please start your own theads

      see video in my sig.


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