They sent a lame defence, and offered me 50% to settle.
I have just emailed them a reply
Thank you for your letter dated 17th May
I have carefully considered the contents of your letter on behalf of Abbey National plc. and have come to the conclusion that I must reject your offer of £1285.00 in full and final settlement. For your client to wish to retain 50% of a sum of money taken from my account, in effect 'my money' is wholly unacceptable. However, in light of the exceptional customer service that cahoot have offered me in the past, I would like to make an offer, without prejudice, for settlement of the case. I will accept the sum of £2330, as calculated by your client, plus £120 court fees. I am willing as a gesture of goodwill to waive the interest, which as you well know I am and will be fully entiled to should the case go before a judge. In addition I require an assurance that my acounts with Abbey National plc, trading as cahoot will not be closed.
Should your client decline this very reasonable offer, I will be filling in and returning the Allocation Questionnaire as soon as I receive it and have absolutely no qualms about taking the matter to Court for a judge to decide the outcome. For your information, I will not be seeking a 1 month postponement of further action so we may have more time to reach settlement.
You ask that I 'consider that it cannot be correct that our client cannot charge anything at all'. My case is based on the fact under law that the charges are a disproportionate penalty and therefore unenforceable as they are contrary to common law. Further, as a disproportionate penalty they are invalid under the Unfair (Contracts) Terms Act 1977 s.4 and under the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999. Para.8 and sch.2(1)(e). In the event that the charges are not a penalty then they are unreasonable within the meaning of the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 s.15.
Should cahoot decide to bring their charges into line with OFT recommendations it would be welcomed. However I am not aware that cahoot have in fact published an amended menu of charges to reflect your view that they should at least charge something?
It would be interesting, for my information, if you could provide a true indication of Abbey's administrative expenses incurred as a result of me going over my overdraft limit. I realise an organisation of Abbey's standing would have analysed such costs and would appreciate it if you could furnish me with the details. As it stands this morning they still enforce penalties of up to £35 from their customers for the slightest 'transgression'. Given the automated nature of modern banking I'm sure you agree with the OFT that such sums are wholly unacceptable? Forgive me, I am sure that you are fully versed in this matter and you must understand the reluctance of banks to make a defence in court.
Given that this case does not set a legal precedent, the fact that I have offered your client a swift and painless means of avoiding the expense and embarassment of a court case, and the fact that I am waiving my claim to interest, I expect an answer by the close of business on Friday 19th May 2006.
Let's see what happens???? Onwards and upwards!