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richandgem

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About richandgem

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  1. Evening all, I was hoping for some opinions on a recent complaint to HSBC over mistakes they have made with reporting incorrect information to the CRA's. I took out this loan (£60,000) in 2008 to pursue my dream job as a commercial pilot and despite passing all the training, the economic downturn in 2009-2010 led to my redundancy in 2013. The loan was set up based on my expected salary with the company I was sponsored by and the monthly repayments were £939/mnth. Since the redundancy it has been difficult to keep up with payments and i've tried my best to communicate with the bank and request help but to no avail. In August 2014 the balance of the loan was just over £30,000 and after trying to grow our business for some time, payments were getting tight. My resolution was to finish the refurbishment of a property we had bought and refinance it to release enough equity to clear the loan. The figures made sense and there was no reason we wouldn't be able to do it. I contacted HSBC and explained the situation and that I need some assistance to get through the few months it would take to refinance the property. After several heated conversations they finally agreed to put in place a reduced payment plan but I was advised that I would have to let the loan fall into arrears by 2 payments in order to implement it. The agreement was for 12 months and providing I made the reduced payment, my credit file would be frozen at 2 missed payments throughout. I discussed this with our mortgage broker and he in turn approached the lender to explain my circumstances. They advised that because there was a history to the situation and I was in this position due to the economic downturn and not through irresponsible spending, they would consider an application with the 2 missed payments on my file and didn't see that this would prevent a mortgage being agreed especially since the property was very comfortably covering the expected mortgage payments. We applied in December 2014 and early into January 2015 I was advised that it had been declined at the initial stag due to credit. I queried this with the broker but the underwriting department would not clarify why the sudden U-turn. Now under time pressures to refinance the property (we had a private investor to pay back too) we were told that our only hope was for me to gift my equity to my father and for him and my partner to apply for the mortgage whilst I resolved whatever was happening with my credit file. We did this but due to my fathers limited experience as a landlord, we were only offered a sub-prime product which we had no option but to take. This allowed us to repay the investor but didn't leave anything to pay off my loan. I downloaded a copy of my credit file to make sure everything was as agreed and to my surprise, I found that HSBC had not honoured their end of the agreement. My credit it file had continued to accrue arrears and was now showing as borderline default. No wonder the mortgage company wouldn't even look at my application, it made me look an idiot after explaining that it wouldn't get any worse than 2 missed payments. I complained to the bank and explained that not only was I now unable to pay off the loan but it had cost me around £15,000. This was made up from a capital gains bill from transferring equity to my father, increased fees and interest on the sub-prime mortgage and astronomical early redemption penalties to get out of the mortgage down the line. After many weeks they eventually agreed they were at fault but then tried to wriggle out of it by saying that I didn't give them adequate time to resolve the issue before going ahead with the equity transfer and sub-prime mortgage. They offered £3,000 in compensation to be taken from the arrears that had accrued. I politely declined and explained that I would refer to the Ombudsman, which I did. Whilst this was happening, they again reported incorrect information to the CRA's and this was picked up when we were declined a bank account for our Ltd company. I immediately notified HSBC and they apologised, promising to fix it. This has meant we cannot begin trading as a ltd company and we are therefore at increased personal risk until this is resolved. Added to all of this, the payment plan which was agreed for a period of 12 months was removed early and with no warning or communication. I received a call on 18th September advising that it the bank had decided to remove it at the end of August (conveniently as I had taken my complaint to the Ombudsman). I was advised that as of that date I was 2.7 payments in arrears. I never received any letters or warning that this was going to happen. I frantically tried to raise enough to make a full payment before it jumped to 3.7 missed on the 24th Sep. I couldn't manage a full payment so managed to keep it at 2.9 by paying 0.8 of a payment and in October as things became tighter still, I only managed 0.2 of a payment leaving me at 3.7.... or so I thought. I then received a default notice stating that I was over 4.5 payments in arrears. I immediately contacted the bank who explained that it had been sent in error and they would look into the arrears and let me know. They then reported that 4.5 was correct which means that the payment plan had to have been removed earlier than they told me it was. To keep this as short as I can, I today received a letter from the Ombudsman explaining that they have found the bank at fault on several things over the period of the loan. They have suggested a further £200 to compensate me for the inconvenience, financial loss and stress over the past 12 months!! I find this a joke considering that I am now over £15,000 out of pocket and it's almost certainly down to the string of mistakes made by HSBC. I have thought about small claims court but i'm aware of the risk if I don't win. Is there any other avenue I could go down? Thanks in advance if anyone reads this far, your advice or thoughts are much appreciated. Best wishes Richard
  2. My loan account used to be looked after by the underwriting department but I have noticed that this particular team has been disbanded and my loan sort code has reverted back to the Oxford branch where I initially signed for it. I'm not sure who I would need to speak to regarding this matter, the branch bank manager? my local branch manager? someone senior in the underwriting department? I'm not willing to go through all of this again at a low level where i'm going to get fobbed off with someone who doesn't understand the situation, nor has the capacity to help me. I understand that modern banking is all done by computer systems but there has go to be a human being somewhere in the chain who has the authority to look at this on an individual basis and realise that they are making life very difficult through no fault of my own. If they extend the terms, we both win. They make more in interest over the term and I have manageable payments. It just doesn't make sense.
  3. I'm not sure what more evidence could be provided.... they have had: - 1) bank statements dating back 3 years showing every unusual transaction with an explanation of where it came from, where it went, why and the proof to back it up. 2) a copy of the last will and testament - plus a full breakdown of expenses etc. with receipts 3) a letter from my Dad confirming that I do not own nor benefit from any money in his account 4) A copy of my training loan, payments, arrears accrued and evidence to show they have been brought up to date. 5) Current statements to show what debts we still have and what is in our accounts. I don't know what else I could possibly provide. It has taken me many, many hours to get all of the above together and if I had been the kind of person to be playing the system, do they honestly think i'm going to have all this money pass through my account in full view of their checks?! Also, if I had benefited from everything they are referring to, there would be circa £40,000-£50,000 come my way.... would I go to all this extent for a couple of grand in repayments?
  4. I haven't had a formal decision yet, there have been two letters so far: - 1) We can see that the money in the joint account is your fathers and have a letter to confirm. But the payments through your personal account take you over the threshold therefore you must pay the benefit back with a fine. This was appealed and I made reference to the fact that none of the information provided at the interview seems to have been taken into account. I then received: - 2) Ok, we can see that those payments through your personal account were for beneficiaries and not yours, however your Dad has loaned you some money out of his account therefore we are now going to assume you have benefited from 50% of the money in his account which we had previously discounted. I have appealed this too stating that he hasn't "invested in our business" but merely loaned us some money in order to help us get our heads above water and out of needing assistance from housing benefit. I am awaiting a reply to this letter. If I haven't heard by the end of this week then I may write a complaint to the head of revenue and copy the local MP into it. We know that there has been a new team of 4 people set up to reclaim overpaid housing benefit and in their first year they have recovered £12,500 which wouldn't even cover one team members salary. I understand that there are people who play the system and must be regular claimers but I think from the information we have provided so far it is obvious we are not trying to do this. Thanks Rich
  5. Good evening, I am hoping someone may be able to advise me on what is becoming a very difficult situation. I apologise in advance for the long post but I need to explain the background for it to make sense. I have always wanted to be a pilot and following many years of hard work, I was offered a conditional job as a private jet pilot with NetJets Europe in 2008 on their cadet pilot programme. The condition was that i successfully completed the pilot training course at Oxford Aviation Academy. I would then be taken on full-time within 3 months of finishing the course on a salary of around £50k. At the time, the only bank offering budding pilots a loan to do this course was HSBC and they worked closely with the flying school to ensure that all the successful applicants (who were not fortunate enough to have a spare £68,000) - were directed through their doors in order to take out a loan. There were two products offered by HSBC- self sponsored and sponsored. If you applied to the flying school with no job offer and with the intention of finishing the course and then sending out your CV you were classed as self-sponsored and you could borrow £50,000 over 10 years with no payments until 3 months after finishing the training. If you had a job offer from NetJets like I did then you were classed as sponsored and they tailored a product specifically for this. You could borrow £60,000 but only over 6 years as the salary was high in comparison to the mainstream pilot jobs with RyanAir for example. So £60,000 over 6 years it was and my business plan was submitted. This business plan contained three outcomes.... 1) I complete the course successfully, get the job and repay the loan. 2) I suffer a medical condition out of my control and lose my medical - Insurance was in place to cover this. 3) I fail the course and cannot take the job - I would return to the world of sales until I could afford to successfully finish the failed sections and apply for a mainstream pilot job. What actually happened could not have been planned for... Half way through our training course in May 2009 (and after the recession hit), we were told that NetJets could not honour their initial commitment of taking us on within 3 months of finishing the course as business had dipped. Instead they would give us two options, leave with small lump sum and continue the training course as a "self-sponsored" student or they would put us on a long term leave contract where we would be paid a stepped down salary and we would be taken on within 3 years. During this time we did not have to keep our flying licenses current as they would provide re-training and we had to seek written permission to work elsewhere in another flying job. I opted for long term leave and immediately contacted HSBC to notify them. Despite telling me (at the time they were selling me the loan) that they had a good understanding of the aviation market and could be flexible to accommodate unforeseen circumstances, they said it was far too early to do anything about it and to contact them 1-month prior to payments starting!! Payments were due to start in June 2010 at £979 per month and my first contact was made in May 2009 to notify them of what was happening. Not wanting to leave it until the last minute, I contacted them again in November 2009 and February 2010 to be told the same - wait until 1 month prior. I had requested that they stretch the terms of the loan from 6 years to 10 years like the self sponsored students which would make the payments manageable and was told this should be fine but couldn't be looked at until 1 month prior. When I contacted them in May 2010 as requested, they decided they needed time to look into it and suggested that I defer my payments for a further 6 months to start in December 2010! - it was again mentioned that extending the terms shouldn't be an issue. despite agreeing to defer for another 6 months, they tried to take the first payment in June and then admitted an error followed by a refund which left a yellow mark on my credit file that remains to this day. I then heard nothing until October when a lady called to check I was ready to start making payments at £979 in December. I told her that I was awaiting them to look into extending the terms and no, I wouldn't be in a position to start payments as my salary was only a fraction of what it was meant to be had I been working full-time. She advised me that there was no way the bank could extend terms, it would never have been an option and the bank have helped as much as they can by agreeing to defer payments for a further 6 months!!! - This was their request not mine! The debate went on for several months, I started payments at the full amount but continued to explain that I would end up in financial hardship should they not help me. In the end I was advised by the bank to fall into arrears by 1 month in order for collections team to get involved as they had more power to assist me. This seemed ridiculous so I contacted the Ombudsman. They agreed with the bank and advised me to do the same.. . fall behind 1 month and let the collections team help me. Collections agreed to freeze my arrears and let me pay a reduced amount for 12 months but this didn't help as my reduced salary would be for up to 3 years. This was the most they could do apparently. I was now a month in arrears, two yellow marks on my credit file and facing the prospect of payments returning to £979 at a time when my salary was being stepped down. In the following months I was fortunate enough to receive a small amount of inheritance from a family member which enabled me to pay the arrears and get back on track as I was now in my final year and would return to work in June 2013 on full salary. Then in June, days before I should have returned to work, I was made redundant. Leaving me with £35,000 left to pay HSBC, lapsed licences which would cost at least another £5,000 to resurrect and therefore no chance of finding another flying job. I have struggled over the last 12 months and managed to keep my payments going by starting my own business but growing a new business with no money is extremely difficult therefore I have slowly drifted back into the realms of financial hardship with nothing left in my overdrafts. Having got nowhere with the bank the first time round and even less joy from the financial ombudsman, I wondered if anyone could suggest anything else to try? The loan is secured on my parents house so you can imagine the stress and worry I have at the moment. Sorry for the long winded post but without the background, it wouldn't make any sense. Kind regards Richard
  6. Hi all, Sorry for the delay in updating this thread but as you are aware, everything takes weeks to get resolved and it still isn't unfortunately. They initially came back and said that they understand the majority of the large payments passing through our account were for beneficiaries and therefore have been discounted. However now they have jumped on another aspect which was previously dismissed. The property in the Will was left to my father who decided not to sell but to rent it out, re-mortgage and then invest again. The property is 2 mins walk from our front door and he asked if we would assist him to get it rented out and then manage it since we were so close. To do this he opened a separate account to use solely for this property and added my name to it in order to pay bills without his input etc. It was explained in the interview under caution that although my name was on the account, I had no benefit from the funds contained in it and this was backed up by a letter from my Dad as requested by the council. Once the property had been remortgaged there was obviously a large sum of money belonging my Dad sitting in the account. As I was made redundant last year with a huge training loan hanging over me, we had to make a decision about which way we went with our careers in order to continue meeting our commitments. As we had learnt a lot helping my Dad rent out the property, we decided that property sourcing and management was the avenue we would go down in view of working with the council to help bridge the gap between private landlords and council tenants. We researched, met with the housing officers and decided that we would need to take some educational courses in order to get up and running quickly and my Dad agreed to loan us some money to do the course (which we would pay back once we were back on our feet). After the Will was distributed, we were left with just over £10,000 which was all paid to clear the arrears on my training loan, therefore borrowing money to do the property training was our only option. We did the course and have successfully sourced 2 properties in our town (for outside investors) which we rent to council tenants. This has enabled us to sign off of housing benefit whilst helping those less fortunate who are in a position we have been familiar with several times over the years. It is also helping the council who have since added us to a "recommended landlord" list as we have been so compliant. The fraud department have now decided that because my Dad loaned us some money to do the training courses out of the account which had my name on it, we were entitled to 50% of everything in the joint account and therefore the over-payment still stands. They see that he has "invested in our business" therefore we have benefited from the money where the reality is, he simply loaned us some money to do a course which we will pay back with interest. It just seems that as I openly and honestly explain the situation, they are clutching at straws to claim back the benefit when the reality is, if we hadn't borrowed the money from my Dad to do the course, we would have gone bankrupt, my parents would have lost their house (as it is used for security on the training loan with HSBC) and we would have had to claim housing benefit for the foreseeable future along with all the other benefits. I have responded to their claims that we were entitled to 50% of my Dad's inheritance and am awaiting a reply. Depending on the outcome of this, I will maybe need to speak to my local MP or councilor for some assistance because it is taking up so much time and causing so much stress. Thank you for your input. Kind regards Richard
  7. Hi, Sorry about the delay. There were two letters sent, one regarding housing benefit and the other council tax. The housing benefit makes reference to section 115a of the social security administration act 1992. It also says you can only pay an admin penalty which is recoverable under section 71, 71a, 75 or 76 of the social security administration act 1992. The council tax letter refers to section 14C of the local government finance act 1992. I had until the 7th May to appeal the original over-payment decision notices which I did on the 24th April. I requested a statement of reasons and advised that I intended to appeal. I didn't receive a reply. On the 8th May we received the admin penalty letters and they refer to the over-payment notices which we had the right to appeal. I sent another letter in on the 8th May by recorded mail which stated that I'd had no reply and would like to appeal the decision. Still no reply so I called the investigations team the day before the admin penalty meeting on 21st May to find out what was happening. Apparently the first letter had been received and was being dealt with but he couldn't find the letter sent in by recorded mail. He has postponed the admin meeting until he returns from holiday early July. There seems to be two departments working on this, investigations and housing benefit but they don't appear to talk to each other! I have no issue repaying an over-payment if there has been an oversight on our part whilst dealing with the deceased estate but I don't see how they can use the full amounts passing through my account when I didn't have legal right to the money (and they know this from the interview under caution where they had a copy of the will and confirmed that I had no legal right to it). I knew nothing about an executors account and it was never mentioned so I wouldn't have thought to look for an alternative. If i'd have known it would cause this much of a problem then I would of asked someone else to use their bank account to prevent it showing up on housing benefit radar however, this seems more deceiving than just being honest about what i'm dealing with! Kind regards Rich
  8. Good afternoon, We are hoping someone may be able to give us some advice on an extremely stressful situation. Up to the end of January 2014 my partner and I have been receiving assistance from housing benefit as our employment/business situation has been far from standard over the past few years. We have endeavoured to notify the council of anything which would affect our claim and have been working extremely hard to get ourselves out of the position where we need this assistance. We were invited to an interview under caution in February 2014 as there had been a discrepancy in our capital. This came as a surprise initially but after attending the interview it was clear why it had occurred. In January 2013 we lost a close relative and I was executor to the Will. This meant that over the following few months, some large sums of money passed through my account as they were being dispersed from the banks to the beneficiaries as well as paying the estate expenses. In hindsight it would have made sense for us to have notified the council that the funds were passing through our accounts but because only a small amount would end up being legally ours, we knew it wouldn't take us over the threshold and therefore didn't want to complicate matters any further (there had already been several complications relating to my employment which led to suspension and re-instatement several times plus countless hours of letter writing to explain everything over and over again). Anyway, during the interview under caution I had prepared a full breakdown of the amounts passing through our accounts (down to the penny) and could show that after everything was paid and transferred to the beneficiaries, we were left with less than £16,000 and the amount which was left was used to pay off a debt relating to my employment. Following the interview, several more pieces of information were requested by the council and everything was provided in a timely manner. Last month we received a series of decision notices dated 4th April (standard computer generated notices) saying that we had been overpaid by just over £3,500 in housing benefit and £500 in council tax benefit. Their calculation made no sense as the figures didn't relate to any that had been provided throughout the investigation but they seemed to have taken the first lump sum paid in and then suspended our entitlement from that day forward. We spent a considerable amount of time looking over the overpayment periods and then wrote back to them (within the 1 month window on the 24th April) to say that we intended to appeal the decision as none of the information had been taken into account and their figures did not make sense. We also requested a breakdown of their calculations and a statement of reasons. We didn't receive a reply until 8th May which is just outside the 1 month appeal window stating that they would like us to attend an interview to agree to pay an administrative penalty of 50% of the overpayments which totals over £2000 on top of the overpayment. They appear to have ignored the letter requesting a breakdown of their calculations and our appeal intentions. I have written to them again requesting the breakdown and advising that if it isn't provided then we will have no choice but to make a formal complaint and involve the local government ombudsman. We are concerned that they have only given us around 2 weeks before we need to sign and agree to the administrative penalty or court proceedings will begin. Has anyone experienced a situation where the money in their account isn't legally theirs and therefore cannot be of benefit to them? The council had a copy of the Will during the interview and it was referred to several times so they were aware that the money wasn't ours. Any advice would be appreciated as the situation has caused us a huge amount of stress over the past few months. Kind regards R & G
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