Hi -have today received a reply to my preliminary request for payment - have tried to copy this word for word:-
We acknowledge receipt of your complaint about bank charges. we believe your complaint concerns the leve, fairness or lawfulness of the charges. If it concerns something else, such as an administrative error, please let us know.
We believe the charges are fair, transparent and lawful.
However, the bank (along with a nmber of other banks) has now become involved in legal proceedings with the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) in relation to bank charges which will resolve the legal issues regarding the fairness and legality of your bank charges. This has now become known as "the test case".
It would be our normal approach to resolve your complaint through our internal complaints process as quickly as possible. However, until the determination of the legal issues in the test case, we have asked the Financial Services Authority (FSA) to suspend the normal timetable for dealing with bank charges complaints. The FSA has agreed to this request subject to conditions that protect your rights.
We can assure you we have registered and stored your complaint. Please retain your bank records, as this will make it easier for you to support your complaint on resoluton of the test case.
Once the case between the OFT and the banks finishes, we will deal with your complaint as quickly as possible.
We are sorry we have not been able to respond in full to your complaint now, but we (together with the FSA and the OFT) think it is necessary to resolve the key legal issues before we decide how tho respond to your complaint.
The first phase of the test case was heard in January and February this year in the High Court in London. Judgment on this first phase was handed down on 24 April. On 22 and 23 May a procedural hearing took place. Various next steps in the case process were decided upon at that hearing.
Firstly, the Court dealt with the issue of appeals. The Court gave permission to the Banks to appeal one aspect of the April Court judgment that unarranged overdraft fees are assessable for fairness under UK legislation. The Banks are appealing on this issue as they continue to believe the legislation in this area does not apply to these circumstances and as the test case process is of considerable public interest, it is important for the issues to be fully tested.
The OFT confirmed it is not seeking permission to appeal the April judgment.
Secondly, it was confirmed there would be another hearing where the Court will be asked to consider whether terms and conditions previously used by the Banks are capable of being penalties. this hearing took place on 7 to 9 July 2008. We will update our website when the Court announces its judgment on this question.
While the Court oncluded in April that unarranged overdraft fees are assessable for fairness, the Judge was explicit in stating thids does not mean they are unfair. A further hearing is required for the Court to determine thi issue of fairness. It is not yet possible to confirm when this hearing will be but the Banks are workikng closely with the OFT and the Court to bring a conclusion to the test case process as soon as possilbe. If at that stage you do not agree with our conclusions you will of course be able to refer your case to the Financial Ombudsman Service ("FOS") (or to the courts).
Given the continuing court case we have asked both the FOS and the courts not to proceed with any other case they are hearing until the test case is resolved. FOS has indicated that as a general proposition it will not proceed with cases which rely on these legal issues being considered in the test case.
Similarly, you should be aware that if you choose to issue a claim in the County Courts, "the Master of the Rolls" (in England & Wales) or "The Lord Chief Justice" (in Norther Ireland) has, at our request, issued a notification to the County Courts suggesting they stay proceedings about bank charges. This means that until resolution of the test case, claims in the County Court will not be heard. Alternatively the bank will immediately apply to the Court for an order to stay your action until resolution of the bank's proceedings with the OFT.
We will keep you appropriately updated about the test case. You can also check the latest position on our website at http:Overdraft charges update- RBS - The Royal Bank of Scotland
The FSA requires us to ensure your complaint will not be adversley affected by the delay in dealing with it. Customers for whom Scotland is the most likely jurisdiction should be particularly aware of the following:
1. You may choose to take your complaint or claim agains us to either to FOS or the courts in Scotland
2. your right to refer your complaint to the FOS will not be affected. The FOS provides a convenient alternative to the courts, and is free for consumers. However, as already explained, you should be aware the FOS has, at our request, decided not to determine these complaints for the time being until the test case is resolved.
3. However, if you nonetheless wish to take your claim to the courts in Scotland, you should be asware that the timing of when you raise a claim against us may be important. As such, you may wish to seek independent advice on filing a claim now to protect your rights (although you will have to pay a court fee). If you do this, you should be aware that the bank will immediately apply to the court to put your action on hold until the resolution of the bank's legal proceedings with the OFT.
If you have any further questions or would like an update on the latest positon regarding proceedings please check our website or call us on 0845 3030 442. Lines are open 9.00am - 5.00pm Monday to Friday or 9.00am - 1.00pm Saturday
Can I please have some advice here, should I still send off my LBA after the 14 days are up, which will be 24th July? Or should I now sit on hold. It would appear from this letter that the OFT, the Courts and the FOS all seem to working with the Banks and if I put in a claim at court it will be stayed. If it does go to a court date and the banks are successful would I be able to drop the case before the date or would I then be liable to costs without ever having been to court.
As you can tell the hyperventilating has started again!!!