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.

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  1. #1
    Basic Account Holder Hollanda1 Novitiate

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    Unhappy fraud on my Halifax account - help please!

    Good evening all.

    I apologise if I have put this post on the wrong page. I just do not know what to do, I am in despair.

    I am already in the process of reclaiming my bank charges through hardship and have received all my bank statements free of charge. So that's one thing sorted...!

    However. I now have a new issue which is slightly more serious.

    A long time ago (2003?) I had my bag stolen from me in the street. It wasn't a mugging, I was not injured, some girl made off with my bag. I reported the theft, as my bag had my chequebook and my wallet which contained my cards etc. I reported to both halifaxicon AND the Police. I thought nothing of it, just put it down to bad luck.

    In February 2008 I was unfortunate enough to have my bag stolen whilst in the libraryicon of all places. Again, my bag held EVERYTHING including - you guessed it - my chequebook and my cards. Again, I followed all the procedures, cancelled all cards etc. I was shaken and upset, and reported the matter to the Police as well. I was under the impression that Halifax, as a precaution, had cancelled ALL chequebooks under my account and ALL cards under my account and sent me out a new one of each.

    Now. In March 2008 I noticed 2 individual card transactions which I KNEW I had not made. They were both to pizza places in areas of Nottingham that I had never been. In addition, they were both made on a night on which I had not used my card at all as I had been ill in bed that weekend. I was told that my concern had been passed to the Fraud department and they would get back to me. They did get back to me and my money was refunded, my card cancelled (again) and a new one sent out. This was fine by me as the agent I spoke to on the phone said it may have been that my card had been cloned and as a precaution I would need a new card. (I asked for this from the word go and was told this was "not the way they did things" and to "bear with them whilst they go through the process").

    Fast forward to last Wednesday. I had been in bed with suspected Swine Flu since Sunday night and therefore had not had chance to look at my bank details online as I usually do on a daily basis. Imagine my shock and disbelief when I find that a cheque for 110 has been cleared on my account. I immediately contacted them and was told that in order to find out if this is fraud, I would need to pay 5 for the copy cheque to be sent to me so I can verify it is not my signatureicon and then the fraud can be investigated. I agreed to this. I asked whether ALL Chequebooks bar my current one (the ONLY one I have in my possession which is very rarely used, particularly not for high sums of money and when I do use a cheque, I am very careful to whom I write it and when it goes out of my account). I was told brusquely that it is "my responsibility" to ensure that I cancel any lost/stolen chequebooks. Fair enough. I asked, with some temerity, what the cheque was for and all the lady could tell me was the cheque number. I said this was NOT from my chequebook as the number was far lower than my chequebook starts. I was told that cheques can be legally cashed up to 6 yearsicon later and it is my responsibility to take more care with my chequebooks. Anyway. I agreed the charge and await the copy cheque to be sent to me.

    This morning I received a letter from Halifax and nearly had an asthma attack (not good as I now suffer from respiratory complaints as a complication from H1N1) as it said that 2 cheques, one for 400 and one for 300 have been declined from my account due to insufficient funds. I have been charged 70 for this. I managed to ask the number of these cheques. I was told that these relate to cheques from 2007. Now I KNOW I did not write those cheques. I was again told that all I can do is accept copy cheques, take them into my branch etc etc. So now I am 15 out of pocket as we speak, and on 27 November I will be 70 out of pocket!!! I had to call 3 times on a mobile before I spoke to a girl who was sensible enough to talk me through my current chequebook serial number and put an IMMEDIATE halt on ANY other cheques going through in my name other than those of my current chequebook.

    So that is in total 810 that someone has tried to withdraw from my account! What I want to know is what Halifax are playing at. On their website they make a huge issue out of treating fraud seriously, and actually says that they will contact customers if "suspicious activity" is noted on their account. Why in the blue blazes did someone not contact me to let me know that 2 cheques, adding up to a heinous amount of money, were being processed nearly 2 years after I had apparently signed for them???? I am sorry...I am not big on this but as I understand it, cheques are valid for up to 6 years after they have been issued but few banks process them after 6 months. Why did someone not contact me to ask me about this activity????

    I am not in good health at the moment and this is not helping me. I would like to know my best course of action other than embarking on a full nervous breakdown, to which I feel perilously close.

    i thank you all for your help on this situation...:-?


  2. #2
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    Default Re: fraud on my Halifax account - help please!

    My gut feeling is that halifaxicon are not actually investigating the fraud properly. Two points really, (a) Why should you pay for a copy of a cheque YOU KNOW is not one you have written. They can get a copy of the cheque and look at your signatureicon on their records if they want a specimen signature.
    and (b) They should be checking the signature on the cheques being returned. They HAVE to refund the charges of 70.00 plus 5.00 and I think they are being very difficult indeed.
    I think you need to put it in writing and state that you expect refunds of charges on fraudulently written cheques plus refund of the 5.00 copy cheque fee.
    Ridiculous way to investigate a fraud case.


  3. #3
    Basic Account Holder Hollanda1 Novitiate

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    Default Re: fraud on my Halifax account - help please!

    Thanks. What about this for a templateicon letter (i can amend if necessary)

    Dear (name of Manager, which I can find out)

    Re Account Number: xxxxxxx

    I have been a loyal halifaxicon customer for well over 10 years and, until recently, have been happy with the service you have offered me.

    As you are already aware (following our telephone conversation of Tuesday November 10), I am currently issuing a claim for a refund on all bank charges issued to me since 2002. I was grateful to receive a copy of all my statements to date as well as a list of charges incurred.

    The reason for my current complaint is, however, far more serious as it relates to potential fraud on my account.

    Having been unfortunate enough to have had my bag (containing chequebook and debit card) stolen twice in 10 years, I believed at the time that I had done everything right - I reported the thefts to Halifax and the Police and was assured that everything in your power (ie the power of Halifax) had been done to prevent further thefts using either my chequebook or my cards. Further chequebooks were sent to me, as well as new debit cards.

    In March 2008, I became aware that fraudulent debit card activity had been happening on my account. I am extremely aware of transactions I have made, so when something unexpected comes out, I wish to know to whom the transaction was made and when. On this occasion, the complaint was dealt with swiftly and it was found, following investigation, that the activity was fraudulent. My money was refunded.

    Imagine my distress to find, last week, that a cheque had left my account, to the amount of 110. I immediately stated I did not write this cheque - I am, again, vigilant to the point of paranoia about cheques, and ensure that I keep a record of every cheque I write. I was told, amongst other things, that it was my responsibility, the cheque was in my account, in my name and that cheques can be cashed up to 6 yearsicon after they have been written. I was then told I would be charged 5 to receive a copy of the cheque, which I would then need to issue to my branch, in order to have it investigated by the Fraud Department.

    As if this was not bad enough, this morning I received a letter from Halifax, stating that two further cheques had been presented but had been declined due to insufficient funds. These two cheques amounted to 700. In addition to the first cheque, that is 810, which is approximately one months' pay for me! I called Halifax again and was again told I need to pay 5 per disputed cheque and take it into the branch.

    Fortunately, on this occasion I spoke to a lady called Michelle who very quickly agreed to do what I was under the impression would have been done from the beginning, ie put a stop on ALL chequebooks other than the one I have in my possession at the moment. Incredibly this had not been done.

    I have since been on the Halifax website and read up about the supposed attitude towards fraud. To paraphrase, I understand that the Halifax will contact any customer immediately if fraud or suspicious activity is suspected. If this is the case, why would Halifax allow cheques of over 2 years old to leave my account? Does that not strike you as rather suspicious? I appreciate that it is possible for an individual/business to mislay a cheque or have some other reason for not processing it immediately; a week or maybe two weeks is acceptable. But to process a cheque which is years out of date appears to me to be a little questionable. Surely someone must have noticed this rather odd pattern in activity.

    I do not agree with this rather peculiar way of investigating possible fraud and will be doing everything I can to ensure my money (the 810 cheques that were fraudulently signed in my name, as well as the 70 fees incurred and the 15 I have been charged for the copy cheques) is returned to me.

    As a long-standing customer of Halifax, I wish to express my disappointment. I feel that all trust I had built up with you has now been destroyed and I fear I will have to move my custom to another institution.

    Many thanks for your speedy response to my first letter, I look forward to an equally timeous reply on this occasion.

    Yours sincerely


    Miss xxxxx


  4. #4
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    Default Re: fraud on my Halifax account - help please!

    I think you need to simplify it. You need to mention that you have had fraudulent transactions on your account in 2003 and in 2008 and that you are careful with checking your account. Unfortunately there was a transaction of 110.00 which you are fully aware was not done by yourself and that two other cheques have subsequently been returned unpaid which you have not written. Explain the suspected swine flu and that you have been laid up in bed for a number of days(a few people I know have had very bad flu so I know that sleep is all you do).
    Simplify it and ask them to investigate it properly and refund the money taken and the charges that have been made as this is obviously a distressing time for you, etc,etc.
    I wouldn't mention the charges reclaim because it is irrelevant to the fraud claim itself.


  5. #5
    Basic Account Holder Hollanda1 Novitiate

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    Default Re: fraud on my Halifax account - help please!

    Thanks for your help yourbank. It appears to me that only by making loads of noise, am I likely to be taken seriously. The banks just seem interested in screwing us over in the bad times, when it is their fault we are in this situation.

    Maybe the only way we can make ourselves heard is collectively. Why do we not set up some kind of protest group and actually actively protest against these scandalous practices of behaviour outside the Head Offices of these institutions.

    It revolts me that halifaxicon appear to be making it so easy for fraudsters by making it so difficult for us innocent customers to actually act on the situation and nip it in the bud. They are supposed to HELP us, not hinder us at every turn.

    It makes me sick. Last week, all I did was sleep and lay on the sofa, unable to get up because I felt so bad. I now have, as I said, severe breathing difficulties and an ongoing cough due to the flu, and the worry of this situation is certainly exacerbating my illness.

    I would like to take this opportunity to remind EVERYONE to be vigilant on their accounts, because it appears that the eejits in this establishment are unable to carry out the simplest of checks on people's accounts.

    What sort of bank allows 3 cheques (presumably for 3 different companies/individuals) to leave someone's accounts when the cheques were 2 years past the issue date without checking with the customer that this is in their knowledge???????????????? ?????????????????? Someone should have flagged that up as slightly unusual!!! Especially within a week!!!!! Sheesh, is everyone lacking common sense here?????????!!!


  6. #6
    Basic Account Holder Hollanda1 Novitiate

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    Default Re: fraud on my Halifax account - help please!

    Update. I called the branch yesterday, have got a meeting with them today. Have also posted a letter to the Manager detailing my concerns. Will let you know!


  7. #7
    Basic Account Holder Hollanda1 Novitiate

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    Default Re: fraud on my Halifax account - help please!

    Well the Fraud team are looking into it!



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