Hi there, firstly hello everyone. It's my first post here - after trawling the web it looks like someone here might be able to help me. I really hope so!!
Here's my story, I hope it makes sense, if anything needs clarification just let me know.
I opened a student account with NatWest in 1998 which had a £2000 overdraft facility. When I started work in around 2003, this account was no longer interest free.
Just over 2 years ago I bought my first house and was having financial difficulties so I made an appointment with a financial advisor at my local NATWEST branch and it was agreed that I could pay £5 per month off the account with the £2000 overdraft. They advised I opened another account to use as my current account and close my previous student account. As the interest was higher than £5 per month, more debt was accrued to this closed student account.
In September 2007 I returned to university and went to my local branch to arrange student status. I had a £300 overdraft facility on my current account and the existing £2000 (plus £250 in charges) on my closed student account. I met with a different advisor who said I needed to pay the excess of £250 (above the agreed £2000 limit). After a number of weeks (October 2007), he contacted me and said he could extend my overdraft facility on my current account to £1250 (from £300), immediately take £250 from this to cover the excess on my closed student account and for me to continue to pay £5 per month to bring down the £2000 as both accounts would now be interest free (student status). I agreed.
This happened for a couple of months, the £2000 overdraft on my closed account was coming down (albeit rather slowly). But in December 2007, the interest was reapplied to this account and I started to accrue more charges/debt (around £40 interest plus £28 in bank charges).
I returned to the local branch and made an appointment to meet with a different advisor to discuss it (the man who I'd met with originally had left). She apparently made notes and promised someone would call me back within a week to discuss it. I didn't hear from anyone and after 2 weeks returned to the branch and the girl refused to see me. During this time I had emailed NATWEST about the issue but had no response.
I have since had letters from their collections department demanding I pay £350 immediately to stop me being referred to a credit agency. I called them this week to discuss it and went through the above. I was promised a manager would call me back and would do so the same day. No-one called me back so I called them the following day and again, was promised a manager would call me – no-one did. So I called again and registered a complaint.
A couple of days later I received the same threatening letter from the collections department and another letter from the complaints department saying I had to pay the money immediately and it was my fault for not dealing with it sooner (despite me having been into the branch on numerous occasions, emailing, etc). It also said that NATWEST will only award student (interest free) status to 1 account which was not what I was told or I wouldn't have agreed to raising my overdraft to £1250 and continuing to pay £5 per month, only to be in exactly the same situation 4 months down the line (incidentally the same advisor told me to take out NATWEST contents insurance and break my TV to get a new one from them, which I did not do!).
So I called them again and again I was promised a call back – no one called until 2 days later and this person had no knowledge of me needing a call back, and was just another person trying to recover the debt. Again I explained the situation and he put the phone down. So I called back and asked to speak to the person I was just speaking to and yet again, they had no record. This person said they would look at my notes and call me straight back but has not done so either.
They refuse to look into the situation, they say they have no record of any of my appointments with anyone. Despite the fact they state 'calls are recorded' on their letters they are not, as I have asked for them to look for the recording of my conversation with the advisor who misinformed me to get me into more debt with them, they can not provide this. They wont let me seek advice before they proceed to have me blacklisted and continue to threaten this. They refuse to locate this member of staff who misinformed me also, despite many requests from me.
What can I do? What are my options?
Has anyone had a similar experience?
I'd be so grateful for any advice.