Hope you all get to read this.
I have removed my name from this and the SFO officer that I have sent this letter to.
The statement in this letter is my view and mine alone, the site and it administers are not held responsible for its content as they no way assisted in its format. But has been posted to them in good faith.
12th January 2007.
I am also sorry for the length of the letter, and would be grateful for any input.
Thank you from The Grim Reaper.
Serious Fraud Office.
10-16 Elm Street.
I hope you will take the time to read this letter and give it your full and considered judgement. I have tape recordings of interviews and have copied the tapes to written form, word for word in ordered to back up my complaint against my bank, and possible prosecution against other banks. As they have removed Billions of pounds from customers accounts illegally.
I believe that under these Laws listed that there is a case to answer for in a criminal court, and just because it is a major High Street Bank should and cannot exclude it form the Law of the land as laid down by Majesty’s government.
The Laws I believe that Abbey Bank have broken are:-
Theft Act 1968
5. Belonging to another. (1)
6. ‘With the intention of permanently depriving the other of it’(1)
15A. Obtaining a money transfer by deception (1)(2) (a)(b)(c ) (3) (4) (a)(b)(d)(e)
15B. section15A: Supplementary(1)(2)(3)(4)(5)(a)(b)
16. Obtaining pecuniary advantage by deception(1)(3)
17. False accounting (1) (a)(b) (2)
18. Liability of company officers for certain offences by company (1) (2)
19. False statements by company directors etc; (1( (2) (3)
20. Suppression, etc., of documents (3)
24A. Dishonestly retaining a wrongful credit. (1)(a)(b)( c) (2) (3) (4) (a)(b)(d) (5)
34. Interpretation. (1)(2)(a)(i)(ii) (b)
2. Criminal Justice Act1993 (c.36) Part1.
(2) (a) section 1 (Theft) section 16( obtaining pecuniary advantage by deception)
Section 19( false statements by company directors, etc)
3. Fraud Act 2006 Chapter 35.
1. Fraud. (1) (2) (a)(b)( c) (3) (b)
2. Fraud by false representation. (1) (a) (b) (i) (ii)
3. Fraud by failure to disclose Information. (a) (b)
4. Fraud by Abuse of position. (1) (a) (b) ( c) (i ) (ii) (2)
5. “Gain” and “Loss”. (1) (2) (a) (3) (4)
6. Possession etc. of articles for use in a frauds. (1) (2) (b)
7. Making or supplying articles for use in fraud. (1) (a) (b)
8. “Article”. (1) (a) (b) (2) (a) section 1 (7) (b) of the Police & Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (c.60)
9. Participating in fraudulent business carried on by a sole trader etc. (3) Act (a) (b) (4) (a) (b) (5).
10. Participating in fraudulent business carried on by company etc. penalty. (1)
11. Obtaining Services Dishonestly. (1) (a) (b) (2) (a) ( c) ( i ) (ii) (3) (a)
12. Liability of Company Officers for Offences by Company. (1) Subsection (2) applies.. (2) (a) (b) (3)
13. Evidence. (1) (a) (b) (4) “Related offences” (a) (b)
I understand if you feel this is along winded letter but please understand that I have tried reason, I have contacted the relevant authorities but feel the only way to bring the Bank into line with the Law, as they seem determined to ignore the Law is to now enforce the Law with your help.
I have in the past few years had cause to question the banks charges but have always been told that they were legal and law full, and part of banking law. But I have always question whether they were enforceable under the law as laid down by Her Majesty’s Government. And until now have not been able to put enough information together to start answering some of those questions.
In July 2005 I started to question, in writing, to the Abbey bank as to the charges to our account. They of course refuted the letter. I then wrote to the Ombudsman who said that the ‘complaint does not appear to be one we would deal with’.
I was then listening to BBC Radio 2 when Mr Martin Lewis came on and told us of this new web site called ‘The Consumer Action Group’ set up to help people to reclaim unfair bank charges, I then started to listen more closely to the other stations and TV programs, and when possible taped those programs to build up information that might help me take my bank to court and back my claims for a refund.
The Abbey Bank has a court action pending against it for our 1st account of £4786.52 plus court fees, and an outstanding money owed on our other account of £1912.06, at least, waiting for the first court case to be settled.
The charges have been levied against our account, ignoring the ‘Under the Unfair Terms (Contract) Act 1977’, ‘Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999’ and ‘Supply of Goods and Service Act 1982’.
They have always claimed that the cost cover the administration of the returning of Direct Debits, Standing Order’s or Cheques. This now turns out to be a Fraudulent claim, which I aim to show to you, and will place before you any information that I have for you to use in an investigation. Should you request it?
The Charges for bouncing Direct Debits, Standing Orders, and Cheques are not to be profit making and should only reflect the cost of administration.
3rd February 2000 the OFT won a court appeal that the First National Bank, a subsidiary of Abbey was acting unlawfully. ( Court says First National used unfair contract term).
5th April 2006 the OFT released a statement under the heading ‘Current credit card default charges unfair’.
And although the statement is mainly for the credit cards it also says ‘These principals also apply to default charges in other consumer contracts such as those for bank overdrafts, store cards and mortgages.’ They also said that ‘The OFT is not proposing that default fees should be equivalent to the threshold, and a court will certainly not consider that a default fee is fair just because it is below the threshold’.
The OFT have told banks charges should not exceed £12 (or 12 as it is known) and that is a maximum charge.
In an interview on Radio 5 Live 7th Sept 2006, Lunch Time Show. There was an interview with Lyn Parker (OFT) and interviewer Pauline McCole (see quotes below)
Q:-Pauline McCole (P M ). Lyn Parker as far as credit charges are concerned could you just sum up what has exactly happened?
A:- Lyn Parker ( L P ). We have started looking at credit cards and we issued our provisional findings last July that we felt that the current charges were to high.
We then invited 8 of the major credit card issuers to come to us with their thoughts on this, and we spent sometime looking at he various costs that are incurred , and we made a findings in April that we felt that the charges were to high and we asked the credit card issuers to reduce their charges in line with a set of principals that we published.
They have all come back to us and said they will reduce their charges the majority by at least ½ if not more.
Q:- Pauline McCole. Now going on to the overdraft issue. Are we starting the process from scratch again are we going back to the beginning?
A:- Lyn Parker. No because in our statement put out in April we said that the principal that we put in that statement applied to other services such as those for unauthorised overdrafts and default charges there. And so what we are now doing is looking at the details of how that industry differs from the credit card arena.
In the interview on 7th Sept 2006 Drive Time Show (4pm-7pm) there was a further interviews with Lyn Parker (OFT), Joanna Elson (Executive director of the British Banking Association) conducted by Philippa Busby.
In the program it was said by:-
Lyn Parker:- We are concerned to insure that the amounts the banks are charging people when they go into unauthorised overdrafts are fair. The amounts banks are currently charging do seem high. Our concern is banks should not be profiting, they should only be charging the amount it costs them when somebody defaults.
But when questioned by Philippa Busby the retort is:-
Joanna Elson (Executive Director of British Bankers Association):- If you ask them they will tell you the charges they levy are a reflection of the work involved because when somebody goes overdrawn and that’s not authorised, then clearly the banks has to find the money from somewhere which otherwise would be used, say for supporting small business or help with some body's mortgage or something like that .
So they have to find that money and they will tell you that the charges that they levy are a reflection of the work involved.
In that above paragraph it tells me:-
1. They are making profit from these charges which they are not legally entitled to!
2. And I am paying for somebody Else's bill when we are struggling to make ends meet.
3. I believe that the Bank Abbey (as well as other Banks) have now broken the 2006 Fraud Act 2006 chapter 35.
On the morning Show with Matthew Banister Radio 5 Live (9am-12pm) an interview featuring Kathy Cole, Gordon Taylor, & Eada Riley, some ordinary people spoke about their problems with the Banks and Talk Talk (the telecommunications company). During that conversation Kathy explained how see was being charge when on benefits:-
Kathy:- Not particularly, I had a straight forward account. So I had to go on benefits and they just kept on hammering me, and taking away my benefits in charges.
Then Yorkshire Bank sends the program a statement about Kathy Cole case:-
Accordance It says:- “The charges were levied In with the terms and conditions of the account, which the customer accepted on opening the account, they were incurred because the customer failed to adhere to the limits placed on the account. The charges are genuine, and relate to the cost incurred by the Bank, given the time and resources to deal with the case.”
It also has a statement about the case with Gordon Taylor from The Bank of Scotland:-
“ All charges are easily avoidable if you maintain your account within the agreed terms and conditions. If anyone is concerned with not being able to manage their account properly we recommend they visit their local branch and arrange an appointment to discuss their Banking requirements.
In this specific case, taking into account our relationship with the customer we have agreed to refund charges made over a lengthy period, as gesture of good will.”
I believe that these statement are again in contravention the Fraud Act 2006 chapter 35.
On the Breakfast show 1st December 2006 (6am-9am) with Nicky Campbell. Interviewer Nick Cosgrove interviewed Peter McNamara the former director of personal Banking at Lloyd's TSB and current Chairman of Note Machine, a company who supplies cash machines, said:-
Peter McNamara:- No, no, Indeed it’s much cheaper in the UK to have a current account that it probably is in most countries in the world.
Really the Banks make their money in current accounts in 3 ways. First of all they do not pay very much interest on your current account balances in most cases, so the Banks pocket the interest instead of the customers getting it. Ah! But secondly they hope to sell you other products to current account customers, credit cards, mortgages and insurance products. And thirdly, and this is the point you heard in the clip. If you go overdrawn without arrangement or you go over your overdraft limit you get some pretty hefty fee’s for doing that.
Now that’s under attack by the OFT at this moment in time, or certainly being looked at. The OFT has reduced the fees on credit cards, and they are going to have a good look at the fees on those so called unauthorised overdrafts which is where people go over drawn beyond their limits.
Each of the banks really make a few hundred million out of those charges every year.
If those charges are reduced, well the Banks are going to have to look at other ways of recovering that revenue by other fees and other charges. So the example we heard there of First Direct charging a monthly fee on a basic current accounts, could become more common place
Again this directly contravenes the charges that are supposed to be allowed and so again be in breach of the Fraud Act 2006 chapter 35.
On the money program 12 December 2006 the program put before the viewer Experts:-
Kieron Beal ( Barrister, Matrix Chambers. ).
Joe Gardner ( HSBC - Gen Man of Personal Finance HSBC ).
John Fingleton ( OFT Chief Executive ).
Nicky White ( Head of Personal Finance at Uswitch )
John Struthers ( Professor of Banking University of Paisley )
Philip Molyneaux ( Professor of Banking University of Wales Bangor )
Ian Jarrit ( Former Executive of Nat West )
Walter Merricks ( Ombudsman spokesman )
Angela Knight ( British Banking Association ).
For us all to listen to and here are just a couple of quotes for you:-
Michael Robinson( programs front man):- What ever you think about the Banks, the idea of them taking Billion of Pounds from their customers by breaking the law might come as a bit of a surprise. But under the regulations covering the ’ The Unfair terms in Consumer Contracts’ that’s exactly what banks are accused of doing.
Kieron Beal ( Barrister @ Matrix Chamber ):- The changes that the banks make to you on your account should be broadly in line with the cost to the bank, of sending the letter out to you. If it’s not broadly in line with the cost they actually incur then it is unlawful.
Michael Robinson:- None of the big Banks would answer the question, so we decided to find out for ourselves with our own money program ‘ Banking Commission’.
In October we asked 2 top business academics John Struthers ( Professor of Banking University of Paisley ), Philip Molyneaux ( Professor of University of Wales Bangor ) to join a former senior Banking executive Ian Jarrit ( Former Senior Executive at Nat West ) and work out the highest amount the banks could reasonably claim it cost them to deal with the default. It’s a question campaigner’s like Steven Hone have long been trying to get answered?
Nick White( Head of Personal Finance Uswitch.com):- :- For people who are in this situation are probably the ones who are less likely to afford those charges, so go 2 or 3 pound over your overdraft limit and then be hit with £100 to £150 it’s just very, very unfair, but it generates hug amounts of revenue for the banks, but it’s completely disproportionate.
Michael Robinson:- Money Banks make from penalties from credit cards is small change compared with what they make on current accounts. Officially the bank won’t say how much that is, but of the record one top banker told me that last year alone it was as much as £4 ½ Billion.
The bad news for Banks is that the OFT has started to challenge legality of the current account penalties, using the same regulations.
John Fingleton( OFT ):- The legal principal we consider is the same for Banks can’t recover more than it costs them, and we feel it’s worth while looking at whether what the Banks are recovering when customers default or go over their unauthorised overdraft on their current accounts. Whether the charges there are fair.
Michael Robinson:- Another tactic Banks have been using to keep out of court is to refer demand for repayment to the Financial Ombudsman.
The Ombudsman tries to settle disputes between Financial disputes between Financial institutions and customers. Penalty charge cases have been pouring in.
Walter Merricks ( Ombudsman spokesman ):- They’ve been growing at a rather substantial rate they are probably the fastest growing area of complaint in the organisation. We’ve got over a 1000 in the office now.
Michael Robinson:- The Ombudsman staff were happy for customers to accept Banks offers, but no longer last month the Ombudsman told the banks to prove their penalties were legal or pay their customers claims in full.
Walter Merricks:- What I’ve said to the Banks is I do need them to help me resolve these complaints by either offering to refund 100% of the charges that people are claiming or if they are not prepared to do that and they want to argue the point then I have to start down the road and investigate myself!
Angela Knight ( BBA ):- We are a representative body here, we cannot, Uh, start revealing commercial information which is survey in the ownership of our members firms.
Michael Robinson:- Have you got any kind of rough ball park figure for what these costs are?
Angela Knight (BBA ):- I’m saying to you that you should first of all ask the Banks that question because as you understand their internal systems are different, their business are different, it‘s for them to give you information such as that, if they wish to do so.
Michael Robinson:- And we already know they’re not about to do that. But in the mean time our own ‘Banking Commission’ have been busy . A month after they had started or 2 Professors and former Bank Executive met to reach a conclusion as to the highest cost the Banks could possibly justify claiming for dealing with customers defaults.
Philip Molyneaux:- I think the point is the fees don’t seem to bare any resemblance to the costs, I mean we have had a technology revolution over the last decade or so.
John Struthers:- It certainly means that about 80% of cases does there’s not manual intervention at all, it’s done by computer.
Michael Robinson:- So after considering every possible expense what do they think banks costs are. First for bouncing cheque’s the most labour intensive procedure?
Ian Jarrit:- We came up with a figure recognising that the cheques require more manual intervention we came up with a figure of £4.50.
Michael Robinson:- Could you not get it any higher than that?
Philip Molyneaux:- I think it’s difficult to get higher because, um, even the cheque credit system became much more automated, £4.50 we thought was really the top end.
Michael Robinson:- What about the other item’s?
John Struthers:_ Well for other items such as Direct Debits, unauthorised we think that charge of about £2.50 is appropriate charge.
Michael Robinson:- But that’s hugely less than the banks are charge!
John Struthers:- That’s the figure we’ve come up with based on the research we have done, and we feel confident that appropriate and fair cost, that should be passed onto the customers.
Last week their association unveiled a new legal argument that their charges aren't penalties after all!
Angela Knight ( BBA ):- There not called penalties because they are not penalties they are in fact, there service fees. They relate to the whole of the current account overdraft service.
Michael Robinson:- I think many people would be astounded that the idea that they bouncing a cheque or a Direct Debit was a service that they enjoyed?
Angela Knight ( BBA ):- Well I didnt say that they enjoyed it, we may not like the service when we go and do something wrong, but never the less its part of the service.
Michael Robinson:- Just to get this clear your saying that because it’s a service a fee for a service, the Unfair Terms and Consumers Contracts’ legislation which is the root of all this trouble doesnt apply?
Angela Knight( BBA ):- No. I’m saying that the legal opinion the Banks have had is what they are doing is entirely legal, yes!
Michael Robinson:- It’s an interesting argument, but will it get Banks of the hook?
Kieron Beal (Barrister ):- Think the answer to that must depend on whether or not they are providing a service? If they are simply telling you are overdrawn then that does rather beg the question well what’s the service in that?
Michael Robinson:- The OFT isn’t much impressed by the Banks new argument either, and if necessary they plan to get tough.
John Fingleton ( OFT ):- We are open to listening to the arguments Banks make in that regard, but at the end of the day if it comes down to a disagreement between us and the Banks on that legal principal, that something we are prepared to litigate on.
Michael Robinson:- Do you think you will end up in court with the OFT on this issue?
Angela Knight ( BBA ):- I think, as far as the OFT inquiry is concerned, we are at a very early stage which is all about the quest for information, I’m not going to pre-judge anything, all I can say to you is what I have said all the way along the line, and that is from the Banks perspective what they are doing is entirely legal.
I hope that I have not board you with this letter but I am so upset and agree with my Bank. Coupled with the fact that the Ombudsman, OFT and the FSA seem to be unable to pull the Bank/Banks back in line with the Law.
I have contacted all the Directors of the OFT and FSA and also had a reply from the Ombudsman Kristelle Jacobs.
Our current court case is to be held in the small claims court in Swindon, but is presently stayed at the moment and would not want you to prejudice our case but the more that I delve into the Law the more I feel there is a case to answer by the Banking industry!
The Abbeys solicitors that are dealing with our case is DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary UK LLP. Princess Exchange, Princess Square. Leeds. They I believe are helping their clients delaying refunds to us and others customers, knowing full well these charges are unlawful.
The Lady at the at Customer Satisfaction Centre. Abbey. PO Box 5129. Milton Keynes. MK9 2YN. Is Dawn Hoyle and she is ignoring the Law and prolonging the cases against the bank to the detriment of the customers.
The Banks Directors and Policy makers for ignoring the Law and denying customers Law full writes as laid down by Her Majesty’s Government. And the Banks know that they are doing so, and that is the reason they are not going to court, and settling out of court.
I also believe that this meets your acceptance criteria of being in excess of £1 million.
That Abbey as well as others in the main High Street Banking Industry, is in full knowledge of this illegal removal of these funds from account holders. And I have document evidence, in written form of taped interviews from radio and TV.
I understand if you feel that this could throw the Banking business into problems but they are not immune from prosecution and their policy makers have made it this their business to go about the removal of these funds illegally, and attempt to conceal this! And I believe you are now bound to investigate these claims in this statement.
Sorry to put you to so much trouble and please do not hesitate to contact me, and please acknowledge this letter as soon as possible. I will assist in any way you require.
NB. Please note that we have a case waiting in civil court and would not want to prejudice the case.
I have also worried over whether I should send this letter to you as the Bank could pull the rug from underneath our accounts and we would not be able to pay our bills and possibly not get another Bank account. So it is imperative that you do not mention my until the last possible time, I will help as much as you want when you ask but cannot hide from the fact that I feel the Law has to be up held. As my parents have taught me and we have taught my children.
The above names maybe removed from the posting if the site feels the necessity to do so. All of the above are genuine quotes and I will stand by them should anybody wishes to challenge them.