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

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  • BCOBS and Unfair Treatment - Common examples of Banks Behaving Badly

    The FSA Conduct of Business Sourcebook rules make it illegal for your bank or your credit card issuer or your lender to treat you unfairly.
    Banking:Conduct of Business Regs - (BCOB or BCOBS) gives you the right to sue your bank in the county court in respect of unfair treatment received in connection with the provision of retail current account services.

    Unfairness in connection with the provision of credit card services or a loan is a breach of an implied term in your contract and you can sue for breach of contract

    If you sue your bank for breaking the law under BCOBS, you are suing them for Breach of Statutory Duty.
    If you sue your bank for breaking the law in respect of unfairness in a credit card or loan contract, you are suing them for breach of contract.

    Here are some examples of unfair treatment.

    Some of these are actually identified in the FSA guide or the BBA guide.

    However, as has been pointed out elsewhere, these guides are rather restricted in their treatment of BCOB and are limited in their description of unfair scenarios.

    You should check out BCOB rule 5.1.1 which creates a general duty to treat you fairly.

    The list below includes common complaints on this forum which think would probably be a breach of the BCOB rules.
    You can probably come up with more examples.

    It should be noted that banks cannot act illegally either by treating you unfairly directly - or through their agents.

    In no particular order:-

    • Refusing to discuss financial difficulties and to suggest positive solutions
    • Unexplained peremptory closure of accounts - the longer the account has been held, the greater the requirement of an explanation and of tolerance to difficulties
    • Unexplained peremptory withdrawal of overdraft facilities - once again, the length of time that the account or overdraft has been in place is highly relevant - especially in respect of small businesses
    • Refusal to accept reasonable repayment proposals on the evidence of an income expenditure schedule
    • Ignoring a letter of appropriationicon
    • Harassment of debtor on the phone
    • Charges on bounced DDs or cheques
    • Imposing an overdraft on a basic account
    • Charges on paid DDs or cheques
    • Treating bank-imposed charges as unauthorised - (RBS has already conceded as a "gesture of goodwill" on this BCOBS point)
    • Levying charges upon charges - (RBS has already conceded as a "gesture of goodwill" on this BCOBS point)
    • Failure to accept instructions not to make further payments on a credit card/debit card number
    • Refusal to cancel DDicon instruction
    • Refusal to offer basic bank account without good reason
    • Charging more than cost for duplicate bank statements - 5 fee is probably unfair
    • Failing to supply bank statements on accounts in difficulty where account fee is still paid
    • Reneging on an instalments agreement by, for instance, by beginning recovery measures directly or through an agent while the agreement is in place.
    • Insisting on payments being made only in some particular form such as by direct debiticon - and refusing to accept payments made by some other method, for instance Standing order.

    Suing your bank in these circumstances is usually a relatively straightforward County Court action

    If you really want to teach your bank a lesson that unfairness doesn't pay, then prove a breach of FSA regulations and then use that to challenge the fairness of the relationship under s.140A Consumer Credit Act. The effect of this could be to have the entire loan declared unenforceable.
    We don't advocate that people should avoid their legitimate debts, but on the other hand if it takes some debt avoidance to persuade the banks to start behaving themselves and to stop bullying their customers - then so be it.
    Comments 11 Comments
    1. intend's Avatar
      intend -
      Ecellent article - I became aware of BCOBS last year courtesy of Bankfodder and think they are a powerful weapon for debtors trying to meet their obligations.

    1. BankFodder's Avatar
      BankFodder -
      Quote Originally Posted by keyboard_junkie1978 View Post
      I'll make this short and sweet but would like advise please. I had a debt of 7000 with RBS. They hassled me so much i ended up selling my house. i gave them there 7000 back as i promised but RBS decided to freeze my account without any notice and not let me accsess any money from the sale of my house. i had to fight RBS for my money from the benefits as i am aware they could not with hold them. i had days on the phone trying to release it but got no-where. they held it for a just over a month then sent me a cheque which took longer to clear.....can they do that? and can i sue for compensation. this caused so many problems as i had no-where to live and couldnt get anywhere to live as they with held it.
      Please post this on the forum. We can't deal with particular problems here

    1. rita777's Avatar
      rita777 -
      Hello Everyone, I ve' been an HSBC customer for years , i just got a mortgage through Halifax, and my new home needs some refurbishments here and there so i decided to apply to hsbc which is my main and monthly salary fed account, i went in to the branch for the application, to my utmost surprise the staff took my Passport and told me that i haven't got a British Passport. ok I' ve had a 5year leave to remain, which expired last year and has been renewed for another 5 years.

      The annoying part is that i've a loan with them within the 1st 5years , there was no question about this then. Their website says to be eligible you must be a ''UK RESIDENT'' Not BRITISH CITIZEN .... I am a uk Resident .. my two kids were born here, i have even just bought a property .... I left the branch and decided to make my appllication over the phone, obviously i do not know what the branch lady must have logged on my file, i mean they credit scored me over the phone , it was fine, The affordability was calculated ok, they could even see that i paid close to 30,000 deposit towards my morgage and this amount was NOT borrowed ! they then asked me to take my passport to the branch again, suspending my application....

      My question is how do i present my case when i visit the Branch again , cos i know they would refer to this excuse again , i feel i am being treated unfairly here! This has been my main acccount for years , i have a credit card with them, i even got a letter last week that they would increase my limit by anothe 1000.00 next month....

      I am an hsbc advance customer, which means i pay 12.99 monthly.. my salary fed acccout for years, i mean why didn't they say NO when i opened the account, or when i've been making credits all this while .....

      I am so annoyed and ****ed! pls ADVICE ......

    1. Mybankhatesme11's Avatar
      Mybankhatesme11 -
      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......


      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...


      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.


      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????? Then to make matters more interesting, i found out that the sale proceeds were used to reduce a mortgage i have with the bank...Yet they were so concerned and made it a priority that my overdrafts and the arrears of the overdrafts were to be cleared....Now logic would say that if the best interest of the consumer is to be considered? Then why did the bank not use the proceeds to clear the overdrafts???? THE OVERDRAFTS ARE THE REASON WHY THEY HAVE CALLED IN THE RECEIVERS ON MY PROPERTIES..THEY HAD THE MONEY TO CLEAR THE OVERDRAFTS WHY DID THEY TAKE IT UPON THEMSELVES TO USE THE PROCEEDS TO JUST "REDUCE" MY MORTGAGE AND NOT CLEAR OVERDRAFTS??????????

      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

    1. JUSS's Avatar
      JUSS -
      Need advice please!!!!!

      16 March 2012 approximately at 13.20pm I deposited 2k into my basic card cash account at Halifax, this cash is for my builder who is currently working in my property and agreed with my ex partner for exchange of cash for cheques for the builder's bill. later that evening my 9 year old told me that I had a call from the PPI claims on my mobile, out of curiosity I called this number 08453512293 as i never received any calls from ppi claims on my mobile phone. The automated machine advised me that it did not hold my account information, at this point I was panicking, i immediately called the halifax and asked if they called me, their response was no, so i asked for my balance. I cannot remember if i sat down on the floor or the sofa after hearing the balance. the customer service advisor told me my account had 117. I asked about the 2k that i deposited earlier that day, the kind gentleman told me maybe i had done shopping earlier and the 2k was paid off! I screamed at him saying no way I would know if I had spent the 2k and btw it is for my builder. So I was told to call the following morning and then the bank would able to inform me where that money went.

      17 March 2012, Called the bank early, explained what had happened and was transferred to the Halifax Fraud department. The gentleman dealing with my call was very sympathetic and told me someone had used my 2k at Paddy power online. I asked what were they, I was told it is a gambling company, I was also told it was the fraud department had called me on my mobile as two earlier transaction of the same amount was declined by the bank. I was then told that since this transaction was still pending this would be overturned and reinstated into my account. I asked if the bank had declined first two transactions why was the third one allowed to go through. The gentleman explained that this transaction went out in error and I had nothing to worry about. Shortly after checking my online statement I transferred the 2k over to my ex.

      18 March 2012, later that evening I was explaining to my family what had happened with my account and my 13 year old son started to get agitated. My motherly instinct told me he had something to with it, took him aside asked him if he had anything to do with this he denied this and after emotional blackmail he came out with the truth. He told me that paddy power were offering 50 to new customers and he wanted to claim this for his go karting trip that he was dying to go with his friends, he was also adamant that he had entered 20.00 and not 2k, after deliberating I asked how he had entered the 20 into the pc, what my wally of a son did was enter the 20 without the comma or full stop and he had added 3 zero's. This was obviously was read as 2k. this dear child of mine had used my debit card details which was stored by himself in google chrome autofill, for ease of access for me. I am not a computer user, and it can take up to an hour for me to order something, but for my son it takes only few minutes. so now I have established that this is not a fraud but it was done by my 13 year old.

      19/03/2012 called the bank and informed them that it was my son and not a fraud as assumed earlier and explained the whole saga to them. I was told by the customer services that they would inform the fraud department and also told me to delete the card info from the pc and also never put the new card details into the pc. Also contacted paddy power explained to them that it was my son who had opened an account and used the 2k. I was promised a refund by paddy power as soon as the money came into their account.

      21/03/2012 received a call from the fraud department of halifax informing me of the 2k refund from paddy power, the gentleman had called had a very strong irish accent (no offence to anyone) and i thought paddy power has taken a further 2k from my account, and i became hysterical. The gentleman from the fraud depart disconnected the call. I desperatetly called back and explained to the customer services what had happened. The kind lady put me through to the fraud department and I was confirmed that the gentleman had called to inform me of the refund and that is all. I started to cry with relief and asked several times if I owed any money to paddy power or the bank, the kind gentleman replied no.

      26/03/2012 received another call from the fraud department, questioning my whereabouts on that day, I told them where I was, then asked me why did i not inform the bank that it was my son who had spent 2k at paddy power, I told him that I did and to listen to the phone I made on 19/03/2012 to the bank. He totally dismissed what I was telling him and said well you allowed and encouraged your son to gamble your 2k and now you are liable so now I would withdraw your account by 2k and forward the payment back to paddy power. I asked how could he do this as paddy power are already aware of this situation and they had agreed to refund the money back. the kind gentleman told me it is not fair on paddy power to lose out on business since i had allowed my son to do this. I started to cry and plead that I had no other money coming in apart from the benefit he told me that was not his problem, he also told me that you do have another choice, take your son to the police, report him and then come back to us with a crime reference number and then may be we would reinstate your account back to credit. Of course I cannot take my son to the police as this would destroy him and his future.

      The bank had frozen my account, i was not even allowed to take out my benefit from this account, after a couple visits and numerous teary phone calls the bank agreed to arrange a payment plan, and had also opened a new account for me for my benefit to come in. Now the bank are denying any refund from paddy power and had informed me that the bank actually paid that 2k into my account of 21/03/2012. I contacted paddy power, at first they admitted about the refund from them and I asked if I could have this in writing, they agreed, after several days of waiting for paddy power response, I again contacted them and now they are telling me that they had told me once but they won't confirm this in writing. I am going round and round the bank and paddy power, had enough of this and now i want to take this further with the bank as I feel the bank had also the responsability towards me as a customer who had never gone overdrawn, or take up any loans or overdraft or any credit cards. The bank had declined two earlier transactions then why did they not decline this one as it was unusual transaction. please give some advice.

    1. davdel's Avatar
      davdel -
      Please help me,

      In 2003 I took out consolidation loan with the HSBC. I made most of paymentson time through direct debit. On some occasions I was forced to cancel apayment, 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. Howeverthings drastically changed when the recession hit. I was out of work and noprospects in sight, I contacted the bank and explained the situation, I hadsufficient funds in my account to clear my debt. I made an extra paymentagainst the loan, this was returned to me informing me that I could not makeextra payments under the loan agreement. I then offered to pay off the loanincluding the interest up to the term of the contract. This was also turneddown. I made a further phone call, and explained to the bank, that I wanted toclear my loan debt to them, to prevent any form of default, as I was not ableto find work. No matter how hard I explained it to them they refused. Theconsequence of the refusal, was that I eventually had no more funds to make thepayments. They had also refused to pay on the PPI against unemployment. Sincethis 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 isunder a life time mortgage for equity.

      I was contacted by the metropolitan collections agency demanding fullpayment of the debt 12,000 plus costs. I had by this time employed a debtmanagement agency to handle my affairs. The handling my debts by the DMA, wasnot very good, and they confused my accounts and failed to make the payments ofoff my loan account. When it was eventually sorted out, metropolitan hademployed a firm of solicitors, who were taking me to court. I was eventuallytaken 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 cashsettlement from my ex wife.

      The bank put me in this situation on the grounds of their refusal to acceptpayment in full. I have since won a claim against them for the failure tohonour my PPI cover. Metropolitan have said that they are keeping it to reducemy 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 havehowever made an offer for them to retain 1,500 of the settlement, as I have topay the company who worked on my behalf, to make the refund claim. At thismoment in time I have not heard from metropolitan on this matter. Please how doI stand on this matter under BCOB.

    1. riz96's Avatar
      riz96 -
      I need advise please.

      I took out a 6 year repayment loan in April 2008 with ASDA Loans (GE Capital Bank Ltd) and it stated in the terms and condition that I could repay the balance at any time with out any penalty charge or early payment interest charge.

      However, during the course of the loan Santander took over the loan from GE Capital without my knowledge. The payments going out of my account were the same so I had no reason to believe any change had occured.

      It was only when I called them to clear the balance that I realised the loan had been taken over. They said that a letter had gone out to all former GE Capital customers offering them to either clear the balance or to continue the loan with them. The terms had also changed, in that if I wanted to clear the balance early I would have to pay early payment charge. After complaining to serveral members of staff I was finally put through to the complaints department. They said that although a letter had been sent out they did not have a copy on their system and offered 122 off the balance. Despite their offer they would still be charging me an early payment charge.

      My question is that due to the fact that I never received any corespondence from Santander and they have no record of sending it out, are they in breach of statutory duty. Should I not have had the opportunity to read the terms and condition and the opportunity to settle the loan early by finding another loan company with a more favorable terms. If I do have a case what should I do and what am I entitled to?

      Any advise would be greatly appreciated.

    1. letsmakeamark's Avatar
      letsmakeamark -
      This has just given me a idea.

    1. Johntynycoed's Avatar
      Johntynycoed -
      Quote Originally Posted by letsmakeamark View Post
      This has just given me a idea.
      Maybe You're sorted by now but my advice would be, that since they have owned up to not notifying you of the change, they should go whistle. Pay them what you think you owe them, tell them why there will be no more and see if they want to pursue it. If so then see them in court where they will have to prove the debt.

      This will be difficult for them as firstly they have altered the original agreement which might not stand up and secondly they failed to notify you.

    1. Lilythepink's Avatar
      Lilythepink -
      Can HMRC get my tax credits, which were paid into an old account, that I am in negotiations with, paying back an overdraft.
      Should I write a letter of appropriation, or let the tax office do it?

    1. pmml05's Avatar
      pmml05 -
      Fab article,,
      Is there anywhere to get free legal representation to take a bank to court on this principle.

      Barclays closed all linked accounts business and personal, rendering all finaince and debt payable immediately, some years ago..lumped everything togther and sent to severla agencies no agreements and ignored all comms until they day everything closed.. devistating effects. still adamamt to this day they acted irresponsibly.

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