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  1. Hi Klandestine Many thanks for your input with this. I take on board what you say. In answer to your question, no the account hasn't been downgraded. We asked for this , but the Halifax said they couldn't downgrade it until the overdraft has been cleared. My mum is being charged £15 per month for the account fee, plus £1 per day for being over £300 overdrawn.
  2. Hello again I did say I'd provide an update so here goes. The Halifax sent a letter to my mum in response to my letter to them. It's quite a lengthy reply so I've condense it as best I can. The letter is signed from someone from Customer Services. The main points are as follows. 1) During our URCA opening process, our procedure includes an explanation of the account benefits, inc the fee free overdraft and the monthly fee payable. 2) You were provided with a Welcome Pack which explains the benefits which come automatically with your a/c and includes the detailed policy wording applicable to each benefit. It also outlines the customer needs that would be met by each of the insurance products contained in the URCA. 3) It is usual practice for Travel Insurance providers to request customers to declare any pre-existing medical conditions to ascertain if these are covered and if any extra premiums are due. Therefore, the Welcome Pack explains you need to contact us to discuss this. 4) All customers are given a 14 day "cooling off period" to read through the information provided and decide if the a/c is appropriate. Should this not be the case we would have been happy to change the a/c for you, free of charge within this period. All customers can change their a/c at any point. 5) We have sent you regular statements for the a/c which detail the a/c fee being paid. When any changes were made to the T&Cs of your a/c we will have written to you giving the required notice of the change. We would have highlighted the features of the a/c and confirmed the fee being charged and invited customers to contact us to discuss any issues. 6) We operate a non-advice policy meaning we give customers the choice of which a/c they want to take. The a/c's are not sold to customers and for this reason we do not do a full assessment of needs for the a/c. Colleagues may explain the benefits of holding a certain a/c with us and offer info on any linked products, but ultimately the decision to take that a/c lies with the customer. 7) You have benefited from the URCA by making use of the fee free overdraft facility. You would have incurred overdraft usage fees on you previous a/c. 8) I can see you have saved money from having the a/c. Even if a shortcoming in the sale of the a/c was identified the benefit you have received has outweighed the cost. As a result of the fee free overdraft you haven't suffered any financial loss and I therefore cannot agree your a/c was mis-sold. This decision is based on recent guidance from the FOS. I will not be offering to refund the full a/c fees paid. 9) When you increased your o/d to £400 you stopped benefiting as much from the fee free overdraft. In order to help your situation I have agreed to refund £120 (for April to Dec charges) in fees. This is made with no admission as no error has occurred. So... that's it! Interestingly, in point 6 above they say the accounts are not sold to customers, yet in point 8 they talk about the sale of the account. I really want to fight for what I believe my mum is owed, yet I don't really know where to go from here. I know it's now a letter to the Ombudsman, but I'm scared I'll get it wrong. I will be scouring the site for information, but if anyone has a spare few minutes to contribute their thoughts/advice, I would be really grateful. Thanks.
  3. That's brilliant rebel11 and Dx100uk. Thanks so much. Shall keep you informed.
  4. Thanks everyone for taking the trouble to reply and for the sound advice. I will now get the ball rolling by putting my letter of complaint together. Can I just ask - should I be writing the letter from myself (as a concerned daughter), or should I write it from my mum? Which is best? Thanks again.
  5. Hi everyone I am here on behalf of my mum and I would really appreciate some help. My mum is 67 years old and lives off a basic state pension and some pension credit. She is a home owner but has no savings. Prior to 2007 she had a basic, non-fee paying current account with the Halifax. In 2007 she was advised by Halifax staff to open an Ultimate Reward current account. Like many pensioners she struggles to manage on her pension and she was told that she could have a "free" £300 overdraft which would help her if she opened the Reward account. As you know, the Ultimate Reward account offers "perks" such as emergency home repair cover, AA breakdown cover, mobile phone insurance and travel insurance. I must point out that my mum doesn't drive and therefore doesn't own a car, she has never owned a mobile phone and she is unfit to travel due to health reasons. The only thing she could possibly benefit from is the home emergency repair cover. She was never asked whether she drives, owns a mobile phone or travels. As time went on she went further into the £300 overdraft but never went beyond it. She had cause to contact the bank in March this year and the staff member told her that they could extend her overdraft to £350 to help her manage. In April the same thing happened; she contacted the bank to check her balance and was told that she was almost at £350 into her overdraft but fear not, they could extend it to £400. My mum just pays her way and has never had any debt, nor has she ever had a loan or mortgage. In June this year she was diagnosed with cancer and is now recovering from a major operation and has thankfully had the all clear. Nevertheless she has had a pretty tough time of late. I have never interfered with her finances and I only get involved if she asks me. When she went into hospital in June she gave me her bank card and asked me to pay a few bills etc for her. I was horrified to see that she had an Ultimate Reward account. When I asked her if she realised just how much she was being charged for this she didn't have a clue. I know it sounds ridiculous, but she didn't even know about the "perks" and she didn't realise that she was paying for her bank account - I think it used to be £10 per month but it's now £15. On top of that is the amount that she is paying for having an overdraft of £400. The first £300 is free and beyond that she pays £1 per day, for every day that she is over £300. I know she has been silly and very naïve but that's my mum I'm afraid. She likes the staff as they are always nice and friendly on the phone...grrrr.... Now that I have explained to her that she has a debt to the bank that she can't get out of due to massive charges each month and that she is receiving "perks" that mean absolutely nothing to her, she is beside herself with worry. I am trying to find the agreement that she signed when she opened the account but as yet I haven't been able to locate it. I have established the exact date when she opened the account. I also have the dates when the overdraft was extended. I made an appointment at the Halifax and attended with my mum on Monday. I asked the staff member to close the account but she said it couldn't be closed until the overdraft was paid. I asked if the debt could be treated as a loan which my mum could pay back at a fixed amount each month, but the lady said this wasn't possible. So until the overdraft is paid my mum is stuck with the account (and the monthly fee for the unnecessary perks). I took my mum to another bank yesterday and she has opened up a new current account for her pension to be paid into. All we can do for now is try to pay money into her old Halifax account each month to clear the overdraft, but obviously she will still have to put enough in each month to cover the cost of the account itself. If I had the £400 myself I'd gladly give it to her, but unfortunately I don't. I'm sorry this is so long but I really would like to know how to proceed from here. I feel this account was mis sold to my mum from the start and I feel she should be reimbursed the fees. Do I complain to the Halifax first, or do I go to the Ombudsman? What do I say and how do I word it?? Do I need all her statements since she opened the account, or do I just ask for the fees back and trust they will calculate it? I am so angry that they have taken advantage of my mum who is so trusting and yep quite naïve, but who has never been in debt in her life and who has been throwing her meagre pension at the Halifax bank who don't give a flying fig how much she is struggling. I will be so grateful for any help that anyone can offer me. Many thanks in advance.
  6. Hi all Just thought I would introduce myself. I am not strictly a newbie as I was a registered member here back in 2007, when I successfully reclaimed £2500 in bank charges from the Halifax. I haven't had the need to return since and therefore I have forgotten my original login details and have had to register again! Anyway, I will always be indebted to the wonderful people on this site and the excellent advice, template letters etc that I used to great effect. I am here again on behalf of my mum who has a Halifax Ultimate Reward Current Account, which I believe was mis sold to her. After visiting her branch with her this morning I left feeling incensed and on a mission.... Not sure if I will get anywhere but I'm going to try. I'm off now to have a look around the forums for some help. Cheers and good luck everyone.
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