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)


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  1. #1

    Default Hostilities Commenced with the Bank of Scotland

    I have sent my frst letter to the Bank of Scotland about their charges, and am awaiting a reply.

    To add some background, a few years ago my wife got herself into serious financial difficulties through personal loans and both the Bank of Scotland and the Royal Bank offering further loans to "help". The upshot is that we are now seperated and I have signed over my half of the matrimonial home to allow her to remortgage and clear at least some of her debt. Because so much of my income at that time was needed to cover her payments, other things were delayed and the charges on my account built up.

    I can identify about £1100 in charges from my on-line statements and archived documents but there is much more.

    I will be writing to ask for a full schedule of charges but in the meantime I intend to take what I can idfentify and split it into smaller amounts, then raise an action for each of the smaller amounts on a regular basis. I am in the fortunate position of not being desperate for the money, so I'm thinking about something along the lines of £200 every 2 weeks.

    I wonder how they'll react to that??

    J

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  2. #2

    Default

    This is the text of my initial letter to the Bank of Scotland. The text of a BoS overdraft charge letter can be found elsewhere in this thread.

    *************

    Bank of Scotland
    XXXXXXX
    XXXXXXX
    XXXXXXX

    2 February 2006

    Dear Sirs,

    ACCOUNT NO XXXXXXXX SORT CODE XX-XX-XX

    Attached herewith is a copy of a letter I recently received through your Internet Banking service. This letter raises some issues which I would be grateful if you would clarify for me.

    First of all, I note the author of the letter states that charge has been levied on my account “To cover our costs”. I have no issue at all with the bank recovering the actual costs of this transaction, provided these costs can be justified. I would therefore be grateful if you could supply me with a detailed breakdown of the costs to the bank generated by this transaction which justify a charge of £30. I’m sure that, as a banking professional, you do not need me to define the differences between liquidated damages and penalty charges. At the moment, I am of the opinion that this charge is in fact a penalty charge and look forward to seeing your detailed response.

    My second point concerns the phrase “We will take this money from your account seven days from the date of this letter”. This appears to be a breach of the Banking Codeicon, section 5.5 of the March 2005 edition of which states:

    Before we take interest or charges for standard
    account services from your current or savings
    account, we will give you at least 14 days’ notice of
    how much we will take.

    I am aware that the code is voluntary but I am also aware that you subscribe to it. I would therefore be grateful if you could clarify the bank’s position on this.

    My final question concerns the phrase “If this causes you to have an unauthorised overdraft, we will also charge you interest at the unauthorised rate, and a monthly unauthorised overdraft fee of £28*.” I would be grateful if you could tell me if this is also a charge to cover costs and, if it is, how these charges are calculated. Once again I am of the opinion that this charge is in fact a penalty charge and look forward to seeing your detailed rebuttal of my view.

    I am sure I cannot be the first person to raise these questions with you, so I look forward to your swift response.

    Yours faithfully,


  3. #3
    stephen
    Guest

    Default

    As to you asking for a break down of cost


    Here is the reply you will get

    Sorry that is commercially sensitive information!


  4. #4

    Default

    they will not say that, they will answer all your other question by circling about t&c s etc...... However please put a letter up if they say they do not want to disclose the amount it costs them.


  5. #5

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by stephen
    As to you asking for a break down of cost


    Here is the reply you will get

    Sorry that is commercially sensitive information!
    That's why I asked the question!

    I'll then tell them that if we get as far as the Sheriff, I'll insist they reveal it anyway. Just another way of keeping the pressure up.

    J


  6. #6

    Default

    Well, no response at all from the bank, so this follow up letter will be hand delivered to my branch tomorrow. Any comments?

    John

    ********

    Bank of Scotland
    *******
    *******
    *******

    16th February 2006

    Dear Sirs,

    ACCOUNT NO ******* SORT CODE *******

    It is with regret that I note you have not replied to my letter of 2nd February, a copy of which is attached.

    In light of your reluctance to address the points I raised in that letter, it is my intention to challenge the various charges levied on this account, beginning with those noted below:

    1. Charge of £28.00 notified in letter dated ******* and deducted on *******
    2. Charge of £28.00 notified in letter dated ******* and deducted on *******
    3. Charge of £28.00 notified in letter dated ******* and deducted on *******
    4. Charge of £28.00 notified in letter dated ******* and deducted on *******
    5. Charge of £28.00 notified in letter dated ******* and deducted on *******
    6. Charge of £28.00 notified in letter dated ******* and deducted on *******
    7. Charge of £28.00 notified in letter dated ******* and deducted on *******

    This represents a total of £196.

    I have identified these charges in particular as they appear to be nothing more than charges for having had charges, and I am of the view that your charges represent a penalty and are therefore irrecoverable at common law. In the Scottish case of Castaneda and Others v. Clydebank Engineering and Shipbuilding Co., Ltd. (1904) 12 SLT 498, the House of Lords held that a contractual party can only recover damages for actual or liquidated losses incurred from a breach of contract. This is also the position in English law: Dunlop Pneumatic Tyre Co Ltd v New Garage and Motor Co Ltd [1915] AC 79.

    In addition, I would note that these charges appear to represent an unfair term of contract which is contrary to the Unfair termsicon in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999 (SI. 1999/2083). My account falls within the ambit of Regulation 5 of the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999 as I am a consumer. Your charges constitute an unfair penalty under reference to paragraph 1(e) of schedule 2 of the said regulations:

    ‘Indicative and non-exhaustive list of terms which may be regarded as unfair -
    1. Terms which have the object of effect of - (e) requiring any consumer who
    fails his obligation to pay a disproportionately high sum in compensation’.

    0n 26 July 2005 the OFT stated that 'a charge is likely to be disproportionately high if it is more than a court would be likely to award if the lender sued for breach of contract'. I believe that your charges require me to pay a disproportionately high sum in compensation for being overdrawn without mutual agreement.

    I am aware that these charges are detailed in your Terms and Conditions. However I would point out that these Terms and Conditions are in turn bound by law, and it is my contention that, for the reasons detailed above, your current charges breach the laws outlined above.

    I therefore ask that the identified charges be repaid to my account within 5 working days from the date of this letter. Should they not be repaid, I will launch a small claimsicon action to recover these charges without further notice. The further charge of £28, notified in the letter dated ******* and due for deduction on ******* will also be met by a small claimsicon summons if it is in fact deducted.

    It is my intention to challenge all such charges levied on this account since it was opened. I therefore request that I be supplied with all information relating to charges deducted from this account under the terms of the 1998 Data Protection Act. I authorise you to deduct the £10 DPA fee from this account. As you may be aware, bank account information was deemed to come under the DPA by the Court of Appeal in the case of Durant v Financial Services Authority [2003] EWCA Civ 1746.

    Please note that I am not questioning the bank’s right to make some charge for transgressions, and for this reason I am making no claim on the interest added to unauthorised overdrafts. However, I understand that I would be entitled to add 8% APR to each charge should this dispute reach the Small Claims Court. That would add an extra £7.35.

    I would also ask you to note that I make no criticism, either implicit or explicit, of the bank’s branch or customer servicesicon staff who I have always found to be excellent people. My dispute is with much higher levels of bank management, who appear to be operating a very cynical, legally and ethically questionable profit maximisation scheme at the expense of their customers.

    Yours Faithfully,


  7. #7
    Site Team The Consumer Action Group BankFodder's Avatar



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    Default

    Far too nice but it will do :twisted:

    However, I do think that where the charges have put you into overdraft then you should be recovering the interest that they levied on that overdraft as well particularly if has been charged at the unautorised borrowing rate. This feature is in fact an aggravated penalty and quite unacceptable.

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  8. #8

    Default Re: Hostilities Commenced with the Bank of Scotland

    Been a bit disengaged recently for domestic reasons, but time for an update!

    received a lettericon from the BoS apologising for not having replied to my letter of 2nd February and saying they will look into my complaint. However, they did deduct the 28 charge at the end of February which I told them would result in a claim against them if they proceeded with it, so on March 22 I sent the following to them:

    Further to my letters dated 2nd February and 16th February, I am writing to inform you that it is my intention to raise a small claimsicon action at ***** Sheriff Court to recover the amounts outlined in the attached spreadsheet. The amount includes the charge of 28 notified in your letter to me dated 19th January and deducted from my account on 28th February, which I made clear in my letter of 16th February would be met with a small claimsicon summons. I assume that, since the charge was deducted, you are content for this small claims action to go ahead. My grounds for taking this action are outlined in my previous letters.

    I also note with regret that you have thus far failed to respond to my enquiry concerning the levying of charges and the Banking Codeicon, which was contained in my letter of 2nd February.

    Please note that, once again, I make no criticism either implicit or explicit of the banks branch or customer servicesicon staff who I have always found to be very good indeed. My dispute is with much higher levels of bank management

    Total claim is 224 plus interest. There will be more to follow!


  9. #9

    Default Re: Hostilities Commenced with the Bank of Scotland

    I've had a response to the letter qouted in the post above:

    "Bank of Scotland
    Customer Relations
    PO Box 548
    Leeds
    LS1 1WU

    Tel 01422 333 456
    Fax 0845 1281385


    Dear *****

    Thank you for your letter

    I am sorry to learn of your concerns regarding charges that have been applied to your account.

    We're keen to deal with your concerns as quickly as possible. A Customer Relations Manager will investigate the points you have raised and you will recieve a reply shortyly, but certainly no later than 4 weeks.

    You will find enclosed a copy of our leaflet, which tells you how we will handle your complaint.

    Your concerns will be dealt with as quickly as possible, but to help us deal more efficiently with your enquiry, please quote ************* when writing or telephoning the number at the top of this letter.

    Yours sincerely,

    Lindsay Gibson
    customer servicesicon Manager
    customer servicesicon"

    Thats as far as we've got since the 2nd of February, a computer generated letter!


  10. #10

    Default Re: Hostilities Commenced with the Bank of Scotland

    Not realloy part of my bigger claim but on Wednesday I checked my internet banking, and was horrified to discover that the BoS had bounced a cheque, in spite of me making sure there was enough cash in the account to cover the amount.

    I phoned them up.

    "There wasn't enough money in you account, Mr Falkirk."

    "Yes there was, and I can prove it because it says here on the screen in front of me that the balance was almost double what was needed to cover the cheque."

    "Yes, but there were pending debit card transactions which would have put you over the limit."

    "Rubbish, and I even deposited extra cash to make sure we wouldn't be here."

    "I'ts your responsbility to ensure there's enough cash in you account."

    "I did, and there was."

    Eventually I got the 39 refunded, "because I hadn't had any charges refunded recently."

    Not yet, brothers, not yet!



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