Letter I have already sent to my MP
28 July 2007
Dear Mr xxx,
I am writing on behalf of a large number of your constituents in this town. I write to you in the hope you can help us in our plight with the bank and in particular the FSA.
You may be aware that on 27 July 2007, the OFT commenced litigation proceedings against the big seven banks to try and establish once and for all as to whether overdraft fees are actually unlawful.
Whilst we agree with this course of action, the FSA has waived the regulation that enforces the banks to process claims of this nature until the outcome of this hearing.
This means that any claims going through the banks now for reclaiming charges (sometimes in their thousands) are put on hold and will not be processed for what could take up to two years if any appeals are allowed.
The FSA has also allowed the banks to apply for a stay in all court proceedings of this nature until the case has finished. The Banks are now to apply to the Master of Rolls to issue a blanket stay on all court hearings.
This is a ridiculous situation for all local people who are in the process of reclaiming charges. And, just to rub salt in the wounds, they have allowed the banks to keep on charging!!!
The majority of the people I have spoken to ( including myself) were not able to afford the court fees to take the claim to the next step. They have had to save every spare penny to raise the £120.00 needed so they could take the bank to court. In some cases where the claim was over £5000.00 they have had to stump up £250.00, something which was very, very hard for these people to find, considering it was the high cost of these charges that have put them in this position. Some even took out short term loans so they could take the bank to court to try and recoup some of these charges. They are now left with no claim, no compensation and hundreds of pounds out of pocket.
Although there may be a slim chance of them being able to recoup some of the court costs, the issue is that they should be allowed to continue with this claim and get their charges back, as have thousands of consumers all over the country.
To allow the banks to still charge and not allow the consumer the right to reclaim is against everything the FSA and the OFT and the FOS are supposed to stand for.
The OFT web site states :
The OFT is responsible for making markets work well for consumers. We achieve this by promoting and protecting consumer interests throughout the UK, while ensuring that businesses are fair and competitive
The FSA website states :
We have a wide range of rule-making, investigatory and enforcement powers to enable us to meet four statutory objectives summarised as one overall aim: to promote efficient, orderly and fair markets and to help retail consumers achieve a fair deal
The FOS Website states;
So when we look at a complaint, we give both sides a fair hearing.
Protecting consumer interests? - help retail consumers achieve a fair deal? Give BOTH sides a fair hearing? One word that appears in all of their statements is FAIR. How is this fair?
How can they be protecting the consumer interest by stopping them reclaiming what is rightfully theirs and still allowing the banks to charge these ridiculously high penalty charges.?
I understand that the banks disagree they are unlawful, so why have they kept paying out to consumers at the rate of around £200 million in the last 12 months? This alone should tell the FSA that the consumer has to keep claiming against the banks.
This situation alone will save the banks hundreds of millions of pounds, firstly through not paying out claims, not having to pay legal fees and more importantly, due to the Limitation Act 1980, the longer this case goes on the more they will save under the 6 yr rule of the above Act.
So, whilst this will save the banks money, the consumer goes further and further into debt by having charges still applied.
This is just the tip of the iceberg Mr xxxxx, I am sure there are many more people out there that will be destined for financial hardship as a result of this legislation. Not to mention the hundreds of thousands of consumers all over the country who have started their claims and some may also be made bankrupt by allowing the banks to still charge. All this caused by a regulator who is supposed to have the consumer in their best interest.
I would like to see how they explain that this benefits them. The problem with all this is, it was all done behind closed doors for months without anyone knowing except the banks, the FSA , the OFT and the FOS, and then, without a care in the world for consumers or anyone else, put into practice. The nice little arrangement that the banks had already sorted with the FSA, the OFT and the FOS, the three regulators set up to protect the public. Mr xxxxx, someone is having a laugh at your constituents’ expense and it is not the slightest bit funny for us.
I also understand that It could also interfere with our rights under the European Convention on Human Rights directly and as enacted in the Human Rights Act 1998.
Art.6 1. of the Convention provides that “ In the determination of his civil rights … everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time.”
It is unreasonable to allow an indeterminate stay which depends on some litigation unconnected to the instant case, between other parties who have no relation to the parties in the instant case.
It is not clear that the matter will be heard as predicted and in the event that it does go to trial, there could then be appeals and subsequent appeals so that the matter might become protracted and even last as long as 2 years or more – from the date of the commencement of trial.
I sincerely hope that you can help us in getting the FSA to revoke this unfair and biased legislation and allow the consumer to continue to fight for what is rightfully theirs.
I thank you for you time.