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Found 8 results

  1. Hi people from the forum, I am in a situation where I would appreciate assistance. I am not a native speaker so apologies in advance for any mistake that might be in there! I got into a one-year contract with a gym in July, consisting of monthly payments of 60 pounds; in October I was accepted in a masters degree (which I had not applied for at the time I registered at the gym) in a foreign country. I enrolled and left the UK, but I left my bank account open and there was some money on it, I did not hear from the gym until January, when it turns out the money had been depleted and they had been unable to collect payment. I immediately contacted the gym and asked if I could cancel on the grounds that I now didn't have a job anymore (I had one prior to my enrollment but obviously had to quit) and wasn't even in the UK. I assumed this would be valid as an unforeseen change of circumstances. The person asked me for proof that I did not work anymore, so I directed her to my former HR. I did not hear back so I assumed everything was well, and I stopped the debit from my account. Two months later, another representative from the gym contacted me, notifying me that I owed two months. I referred him to my prior emails, and he showed me an email the first person had sent me, which I had not seen, where she stated that since I had quit and had not been fired, I still owed the money. I re-explained my situation, that I had no income now and was living in a different country, and the guy told me he understood, that he would put a note on my account and that I should notify him of when I would be able to make payment again. I told him next October (as my masters will be finished and I will have a job -hopefully), and thanked him for his understanding. I assumed everything was fine. Then last week my former roommate told me I had received a letter from ARC Europe (I asked her to open it in case it might be something administrative I had overlooked). Though I am two months late (120 pounds) and have gotten an email from the guy at the Gym that I would be able to resume payment later, a "J. Turner" requests I pay 299 pounds within ten days or he may go to court. Now I know this is more or less typical behavior from solicitors, but I don't really understand why they would come after me after the guy at the Gym emailed that I was fine, and why they'd ask for 299 pounds. What do you think of this situation? What is my best course of action, considering I will probably not be coming back to the UK in the near future, even after my masters? Thank you!
  2. First and foremost, I forgive those who perhaps thought that the thread title might turn out to be misleading before then clicking on the thread. An analogy would be the sensationalist headline I saw today that 'Messi had gotten jail time'. I knew full well, before clicking on the story, that he wouldn't be serving even one day in prison. However, I assure those of you who are doubtful that after you read on, then you will see that it really is the case that a Paypal account can NEVER be closed, which an FOS adjudicator heartily agrees with. This happens to be one of the very few outstanding issues that my 82 year old father is still dealing with, after putting an awful lot of things properly to bed in recent months. All of the following information and correspondence is being posted with his full permission. The background to this case begins in late 2013, when Paypal asked my father to provide them with additional information, primarily original receipts of purchase, relating to some items he had sold on Ebay. He wasn't able to do so and, after all the negative things he had seen in the media about Paypal over the years, decided he didn't want anything to further to do with them anyway. It was his opinion that when Paypal start becoming irrationally awkward, then they don't often cease to do so. Anyhow, when he was going over all of his affairs, in the second half of 2015, he decided to ask Paypal to formally close his account that they had since restricted. He didn't expect any resistance and was a bit surprised when they refused to do so. He was a bit reluctant to waste more time and energy going to the FOS about something like this, but felt very strongly about what he perceived as Paypal's arrogance and duly did so. He expected that this would be something that the FOS would promptly sort out, even if it only meant them giving Paypal a 6 year deadline to close his account from when they first restricted it, but how wrong he was. His case was assigned to FOS adjudicator Noelle Murphy and copied and pasted below is the all the correspondence accumulated thus far, with the correspondence of the FOS adjudicator being highlighted in red. 22nd April 2016. I’m writing to you as I’m the adjudicator who has been passed your complaint about PayPal. I wanted to let you know that I’m now looking into what’s happened.My role as an adjudicator is to give an independent opinion on your complaint. This means I’ll consider what you and PayPal tell me, weigh up the facts of what’s happened, and then let you know what I think is fair in the situation. next steps I’m currently reviewing all the information that you and PayPal have sent us. I’ll be in touch again once I have done this, to go through my understanding of what’s happened and let you know what the next steps are. I expect to be in contact with you within the next week but I’ll let you know if, for any reason, it may be longer than this.In the meantime, please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions. 26th April 2016. Thank you for waiting while I’ve been looking into your complaint. I’ve now looked at all the information from you and PayPal and I want to go through my thoughts on what I’ve looked at so far. my thoughts so far As you know, we’re an informal service that was set up to resolve individual customer’s complaints. So I cannot comment on the processes PayPal has in place, or recommend it changes its processes as part of your complaint. It’s for PayPal, or PayPal’s regulator - Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier (CSSF) – to decide how it should operate and if it should change how it operates. I understand PayPal placed a limitation on your account on 16 October 2013, and asked you to provide additional information. You decided not to provide the information PayPal had asked for and so the limitation has remained on your account, meaning it cannot be used. When looking at complaints like this we do have to take into consideration the terms and conditions of your account as it forms the basis of the contract between you and PayPal. I have noted that PayPal’s user agreement does contain information about limitations on accounts and I can see PayPal referred to this in its final response to you. Section 7.2 of your user agreement states that “You may not close your Account to evade an investigation”. It has said your account will remain permanently suspended and this is why you cannot close the account. PayPal is entitled to leave the account permanently suspended, and this is a commercial decision it has made. I appreciate you’re not evading its investigation by requesting the account to be closed, rather you don’t feel comfortable with the account being left open. But the account cannot be used as its suspended, and ultimately PayPal is entitled to make the decision it has to keep the account open. I do consider that it has acted in line with the terms and conditions you agreed to. So it would be unfair of me to say it has done anything wrong here when it is entitled to restrict your account and make the decision it has not to close it. next steps I would like to get your comments on what I have said, as I’m mindful that I may not have taken everything into account. If you would like me to consider any other information that could change my mind please let me know.If you’re able to respond to me by 3 May, I would be grateful. However if you need more time please let me know. 9th May 2016 (more time asked for and granted). right, I have now had a chance to clear my head and review everything at my own pace, which I am perfectly content with. First and foremost, I want to emphasise that I was never seeking for Paypal to change it's processes or how it operates. I am very happy for my complaint to be assessed solely on whatever terms and conditions Paypal had in place at the time and have in place now. So, moving on to the substance of my complaint, I would like to draw your attention to something that I don't think you have yet fully appreciated. You said yourself that Paypal limited my account and launched an investigation on 16th October 2013. Well, I first asked for my account to be closed in August 2015, which was nigh on 2 years after Paypal limited my account. As things currently stand, we are fast approaching a time span of 3 years from when Paypal limited my account. Therefore, when Paypal now parrot Section 7.2 of their user agreement, which states that “You may not close your Account to evade an investigation", then it is total nonsense. From memory, they said I had something like 90 days to provide them with the information they requested when they limited my account. So, even giving them a lot of leeway here, if I had asked them to close my account at any time in the 6 months after 16th October 2013, then I might understand their argument. However, I did not and if you were to accept their argument, then you could only be concluding that, in August 2015, I was trying to prevent an investigation Paypal began on 16th October 2013. They must have a good sense of humour, Paypal, to come out with rubbish like that. I do have to hand it to them. Frankly, I don't see how anyone closing their account, even at the time of limitation, could stop an investigation from occurring. By that logic, any wrongdoer would have an easy option available to avoid getting caught, 'Hey, I will just close my account!', and I don't think that's how the world works. However, having Paypal spin that spiel, some 2 years or longer after their investigation, is just so beyond the pale. What is more, from what I can recall, I never 'decided not to provide the information PayPal had asked for'. They asked me for some original receipts of some items that I had listed on Ebay. I don't know why they asked, but I didn't have any original receipts and openly told them so. How many people, who sell stuff on Ebay, have original receipts? I don't see how I could have cooperated any more fully at the time. Anyhow, besides the point, the fact of the matter is that I didn't try to close my account at the time of their investigation, so their defence is groundless. Unless they have a term or condition which states that no one is allowed to close their account without their random blessing? I am not aware that they do and very confident that they do not. So, if they can't provide you with a term or condition which prevents me from closing my account, then I would like my account to be closed please. If you will not order them to do so, then please do kindly confirm whether you are ultimately basing your decision on Section 7.2 of their user agreement, which blatantly holds no water here, or if your are basing it on another Section of their user agreement. I can then promptly decide whether I wish to escalate my case to an Ombudsman or not. I don't see this taking up much moire time between us to be honest, so it should be well clear of your desk by the time you go on annual leave. Just for the record, in case you were wondering, I don't have any confidence or trust in Paypal and would simply feel much happier if my account was closed. They are still holding some of my financial information in my account, which can't be deleted when an account is limited, and I have heard a lot of stories about companies being hacked on the news and the like. As far as I see it, regardless of how probable you or Paypal think that is to occur, it is purely my prerogative to decide whether I want my account closed or not. Unless they have a term or condition that says otherwise of course. I look forward, please don't feel at all rushed, to hearing from you in due course then. Much appreciated and best wishes. 11th May 2016. Thank you for your response. I have noted your comments and the points you’ve raised.I appreciate the point you’ve raised about the timescales involved but I can’t say I agree with you. Just because it was two years ago that PayPal requested this information doesn’t mean an investigation isn’t still ongoing. As you didn’t provide the information PayPal asked for it wouldn’t be able to conclude its investigation and – I think it’s reasonable to say here – it would take some action to prevent any further use of the account. Even though PayPal asked you to respond within a certain timeframe I don’t think this indicates how long it would take to carry out its investigation. I would imagine, like this service, timescales are put in place to make sure that cases are being dealt with in a reasonable timeframe. But as the information was never provided, closing the account could still be considered as evading PayPal’s investigation regardless of the time that’s passed. In addition to section 7.2, I do think section 10.2 is also relevant to what’s happened here. This section does set out that PayPal is entitled to restrict or block an account entirely or for any reason. So I do think it is entitled to keep the account restricted as long as it thinks is reasonable. I think it was in your complaint form that you said you decided not to provide the information it had asked for. If you’d like a copy of this please let me know.Even though I appreciate you may have not felt it was necessary information, I don’t think what it asked for was unreasonable. But ultimately, PayPal is entitled to reasonably request information from its users to help it look into an investigation.I appreciate why you want to close your account, and you are concerned about the information it is holding about you. If you have a concern about the way PayPal is handling your information – and by this I mean keeping it longer than is necessary – then the Information Commissioner’s Office may be able to look into this. Their details are: Information Commissioner's Office etc. what happens next If you don’t want to take your complaint further, you don’t need to reply. But if you don’t agree with what I’ve said, please let me know why by 23 May 2016.I’ll look at any new information you give me and let you know what I think.If we don’t hear from you by 23 May 2016, we might not be able to look at your complaint again. So if you want to reply but you think you’ll need longer, please tell me as soon as possible. In every case, both the business and their customer can ask an ombudsman to make a final decision. But I think it’s unlikely the outcome would be different – unless there’s any important information that you haven’t already given us. If you have any questions, please get in touch. 13th May 2016. first and foremost, I am not sure 'exactly what words' I used only my complaint form, in relation to not providing Paypal with the information they requested, but I can tell you with certainty that I cooperated with Paypal as fully as was humanly possible when the limitation was placed on my account. They asked me for the original receipts, pertaining to some items I had sold on Ebay, and I openly told them that I didn't have any original receipts available. What more could I have done than that? Anyhow, I wasn't happy with Paypal at the time, so my initial displeasure might have resulted in me coming across ambiguously when I eventually decided to complain. Please feel free to verify all of this with Paypal. As for the time scale involved, it is actually now well over 2 years ago that Paypal requested information from me. In fact, it is now virtually 2 years and 7 months ago. If this case does end up getting referred to an Ombudsman, then, given the waiting time involved, it will be nigh on 3 years ago. I am not sure exactly what it is that Paypal are supposed to be 'investigating', nor how many years would have to pass for you to be satisfied. However, given that the crux of this matter simply relates to them asking for original receipts pertaining to a few items I sold on Ebay, then it is clearly nonsense to suggest that an 'investigation might still be ongoing'. At the end of the day, there have been numerous investigations into Paypal themselves by many newspapers and TV stations, including BBC 'Watchdog', which have shown Paypal to be quite 'lacking' in many areas as it goes. When you said 'Even though PayPal asked you to respond within a certain timeframe I don’t think this indicates how long it would take to carry out its investigation. I would imagine, like this service, timescales are put in place to make sure that cases are being dealt with in a reasonable timeframe' I can see the basic principle there. However, when 60 days, or whatever it was initially, then becomes 2 years and 7 months that argument just doesn't hold water any more. It is tantamount to eternity. Unless you are saying that Paypal should have 3 years, 4 years, 5 years, 10 years or any other number of fixed years available to them? Please do confirm if that is how you see it and what you think is reasonable. One other thing, in you previous email you stated that 'But as the information was never provided, closing the account could still be considered as evading PayPal’s investigation regardless of the time that’s passed'. However, in your email of 26th April 2016 you stated 'I appreciate you’re not evading its investigation by requesting the account to be closed, rather you don’t feel comfortable with the account being left open', which I find completely contradictory to be brutally honest. Paypal asked for original receipts and I told them I didn't have any. It was hardly a complex case. Moreover, as I already told you, closing my account doesn't stop Paypal 'investigating' my case at all. They can 'investigate' my case for the next 100 years with my full blessing. Likewise, purely as an analogy, I don't think that any of those involved with the Mossack Fonseca scandal would avoid any 'invetsigation' by now rushing to close their accounts. Again, as I already to you, the world doesn't work like that. What is more, I haven't been accused of any wrongdoing and I don't owe Paypal a penny, which they themselves can't deny. If you do feel that closing my account does prevent Paypal from 'investigating' further in relation to my case, after 2 years and 7 months have passed, then please kindly explain to me how so. Moving on to the limitation aspect of my account, this is something that I have never complained about and you seem to have proactively entwined it into the case. Furthermore, closing my account wouldn't lessen any restrictions that Paypal have in place in the slightest. In fact, conceptually, if anything, it could obviously only strengthen them. The limited use I currently have would be downgraded to no use. Therefore, Section 10.2 has absolutely nothing to do with my complaint, which is solely based on me wanting my account closed; not to do with wanting any restrictions removed from my account. If you feel that it does, then please kindly explain to me how so. It is very good to get all of this in writing, regardless of the final outcome, so I do at least fully appreciate all of your assistance. If you have anything else to add, or not, then please do let me know either way. I can then decide whether I wish to escalate my case to an Ombudsman or not. Much appreciated and best wishes. 13th May 2016. I have noted your comments but my thoughts on your complaint remain the same.Ultimately, I do consider that PayPal is entitled to restrict your account and make the decision it has not to close it. I understand you don’t agree with this and you don’t think its terms allow PayPal to make this decision – but having considered what’s happened I do. I’m sorry if you think I was contradictory I was merely making the point that closing the account could be considered as evading an investigation. As I said in my previous email to you, I don’t consider that you’re trying to evade an investigation by asking for the account to be closed. However, this doesn’t mean that PayPal should close the account or it should have the same opinion on this point as me.It made a reasonable request for information and you were unable to provide what it had asked for. PayPal made a business decision to restrict the account and it hasn’t done anything wrong by doing this. I’m not in the office next week so I would be grateful if you could let me know by 23 May whether or not you’d like an ombudsman to consider what’s happened.If I don’t hear from you by 23 May we might not be able to look into your complaint again. 18th May 2016. yes, I do think I am beginning to get a good understanding of your position in relation to Section 7.2. However, there is at least one thing that I did want to be crystal clear on, before deciding whether to escalate my case to an Ombudsman or not. You do now acknowledge that I never complained about my Paypal account being limited and that I never asked for any restrictions to be removed from my Paypal account, don't you? My complaint was solely about being unable to close my account, you said you still had a copy of my complaint form handy so please peruse it again if necessary, and I fully accept that Paypal have every right to limit the use of any account as they see fit. In the final analysis, I am 82 years old and doing my best here, I just didn't want to get needlessly sidetracked or confused by anything else. Much appreciated and best wishes. 23rd May 2016. Thank you for your response and patience while I have been out of the office.Yes, I do understand your complaint was about PayPal’s decision not to close the account. I know you didn’t ask for this service to look at the restrictions placed on the account or why that was.However, I did think that the restriction on the account was directly related to PayPal’s reasoning here and that’s why I mentioned it. I had to look at the whole circumstances to come to a fair opinion on what’s happened. I would be grateful if you could let me know how to proceed with your complaint by 27 May 2016. If we don’t hear from you by this time we might not be able to look at what’s happened again. So if you need more time please let me know as soon as possible. 3rd June 2016 (more time asked for and granted). ok, I think I understand what you were saying now. You were trying to get a full understanding of everything that happened and a good sense of the chain of events that occurred. This is why you mentioned Section 10.2, which Paypal first used to restrict my account nigh on a year before I ever contacted them about my account status. However, when it comes to you giving a final opinion on my complaint, which involves Paypal not closing my account and doesn't relate to any of the restrictions I was perfectly happy with, then it is only Section 7.2 that can be specifically held against me right? I hope that's correct, it seems crystal clear to me, as otherwise you will have left me totally bamboozled. I won't seek to debate the point any further though. One oither thing that crossed my mind, I hope you don't mind, and it involves the length of Paypal's investigation. In a previous email I referred to some comments you made on this matter. They were as follows: 'Even though PayPal asked you to respond within a certain timeframe I don’t think this indicates how long it would take to carry out its investigation. I would imagine, like this service, timescales are put in place to make sure that cases are being dealt with in a reasonable timeframe' I told you that I could understand the basic principle there, but found it very hard to comprehend how it could be stretched out for 2 years and 7 months. Anyhow, let's assume for the moment that the 'Paypal investigation might still be ongoing' as you put it. Are you actually going to make a recommendation on how long Paypal should have to complete their investigation? What do you think is fair and reasonable here? As far as I am aware, even the Statute Barred law in England, which can cover quite serious cases, says that 6 years is certainly long enough for proceedings to be concluded. So, do you think that Paypal should have a period of 3 years, 4 years, 5 years, or even 6 years to conclude their investigation, which would then be fully in line with Statute Barred law, or perhaps something longer? You can't possibly be conflating 'Even though PayPal asked you to respond within a certain timeframe I don’t think this indicates how long it would take to carry out its investigation' with an 'eternal investigation'? I would like to know what you think about all of this please, as if your final opinion didn't find in my favour now, then it must surely address such substance. Well, I would be shocked if it didn't. Much appreciated and best wishes. 3rd June 2016. just another thought I had. Perhaps it might be an idea to actually ask Paypal how many years they need? No harm done by mentioning the notion to you. I clicked 'Send', after composing the previous email I sent you a few minutes ago, and the idea suddenly popped into my head one second later. I do apologise for not including it in my previous email. Much appreciated and best wishes. 3rd June 2016. Thank you for your emails. I appreciate your point but there appears to have been some confusion here. I didn’t mean to imply its investigation was still ongoing, my point was that just because some time has passed doesn’t mean PayPal concluded the investigation. I went on to explain that because it couldn’t conclude its investigation it was reasonable for PayPal to take action to prevent further use of the account. I have explained that PayPal has made the decision to keep the account permanently suspended. I have considered if PayPal has acted unreasonably in deciding to permanently suspend the account, but I have found that it was entitled to make this decision. So I’m not going to ask PayPal to do anything else, as I don’t consider that it has done anything wrong. As my thoughts on your complaint haven’t changed you can ask for a final decision to be issued by an ombudsman. If you would like this please let me know by 8 June 2016. If we don’t hear from you by this date we’ll assume you no longer wish to pursue your complaint with this service. 8th June 2016. no problem and I am very glad that confusion has now been cleared up. I am just trying to fully understand your perception of the key components of my case, which I am sure you must fully appreciate is very important to the whole process. What your final opinion turns out to be is another matter entirely. Anyhow, I just have one last question I want to ask you and will email you later this evening, so you might not pick it up until tomorrow. I will then promptly make my final decision on whether I wish to escalate my case to an Ombusman or not. Much appreciated and best wishes. 9th June 2016. right, as I said in my previous email I am very glad we managed to clear up that confusion. I just hope that you can appreciate why I took 'Just because it was two years ago that PayPal requested this information doesn’t mean an investigation isn’t still ongoing', from your email of 11th May 2016, to indicate that an investigation was still ongoing. Nevertheless, I now think I have a very good handle on how you currently view my case. However, please do correct me if I am at all wrong on anything though. First and foremost, regardless of how far you perceive they did or didn't get, a cast iron fact of this matter is that Paypal did indeed open an investigation. However, neither of us can actually know what progress Paypal made in their investigation, as we don't know exactly what they were investigating or how much relevant information they had at their fingertips during the said investigation. Just because they asked me to contribute to their investigation, which it wasn't humanly possible for me to do, it doesn't by any means indicate that they weren't able to investigate anything. Otherwise, they couldn't have possibly had any notion to open an investigation in the first place. Something must have triggered it or I never would have heard from them. So, moving on, for Paypal to eventually make the decision to leave my account restricted, then they must have finished their investigation. Again, this is regardless of how far you perceive they did or didn't get in their investigation, which we can't actually know. Unfortunately, despite this, Paypal are still maintaining that I am trying to evade an investigation, which is something you don't see fit to challenge them on. As you said, in your email of 13th May 2016, 'I don’t consider that you’re trying to evade an investigation by asking for the account to be closed. However, this doesn’t mean that PayPal should close the account or it should have the same opinion on this point as me'. For the record, I thought it was the opinion of an FOS adjudicator that mattered in such cases, rather than the opinion of the company they were scrutinising, but this was admittedly only a preconception I had when I first decided to approach the FOS about this matter. Perhaps Paypal mean I am now trying to evade a fresh investigation? It could certainly be food for thought. Still, I would like to reinforce the point that, whether open or closed when looked at, nothing can actually stop Paypal from investigating an account. In the final analysis, you have concluded that my Paypal account should remain open, yet restricted, for as long as Paypal decree I am continuing to evade an investigation. If I have not misunderstood anything, then I can't deny that some bits of this narrative do kind of make some sort of sense, but it still all feels a little odd to me. However, as I said, this is if I haven't misunderstood anything. Am I now at a point where I haven't misunderstood anything then? Or is there yet more confusion that needs to be ironed out? Just for the moment, I will vaguely assume I have got there and assess whether I feel uneasy enough to request that this case be escalated to an Ombudsman for scrutiny. Regardless of the outcome, I think we have communicated reasonably well, despite the occasional bout of confusion, which can happen to the best of us. I will await your reply then. Much appreciated and best wishes. 9th June 2016. Thank you for your email.I can’t say I have anything to add to what I have already explained. I have looked at what PayPal’s decision – to keep the account open – and I considered why it did this. I also considered if its decision was reasonable, and if PayPal was entitled to make this decision.I found that all the actions PayPal took were set out in its user agreement, which you agreed to. I also considered its rationale for making this decision and I didn’t think it was an unreasonable one. So ultimately, I don’t think PayPal has done anything wrong and that’s why I haven’t asked it to close the account. That’s a decision for PayPal to make. I understand you’re thinking about asking an ombudsman to look at what’s happened, and if you do want this please let me know by 13 May 2016. – so I can move your complaint forward.Again, if we don’t hear from you by then we’ll assume you no longer wish to pursue your complaint with this service. 10th June 2016. right, so I have now understood everything I mentioned correctly then. I do feel much better when everything is as clear as possible to me. I really do appreciate your confirmation on that, as I would have begun to feel a little bit beleaguered if I had encountered any more confusion. One very last thing I want to ask you, I hope you don't mind, and it involves time scale. It just occurred to me you see. Now, in my email of 3rd June 2016 I asked you how long Paypal should have to conclude their investigation. You then told me that the Paypal investigation wasn't actually still ongoing, despite previously telling me that it was, but not really meaning that it was. It was just a bit of confusion that needed to be ironed out. I happily accepted your explanation and we successfully put all of that behind us. Ok then, so even though a Paypal investigation is not still ongoing, then how for how long is it feasible for Paypal to claim that I am seeking to avoid an investigation by asking for my account to be closed? Do you think that Paypal should have a period of 3 years, 4 years, 5 years, or even 6 years in which they can continue to make this argument, which would then be fully in line with Statute Barred law, or perhaps something longer? You can't possibly be viewing Section 7.2's 'You may not close your Account to evade an investigation' as an 'eternal perspective'? The question of time scale does still remain, whichever way you look at the matter, so I would like to know your opinion on this. This is something you can add to what you have already explained, as future time scale has not previously been addressed, and it shouldn't take you more than a few seconds to do so. It is important to me that I know this. I will then respond with my final decision on whether I wish to escalate my case to an Ombusman or not. Much appreciated and best wishes. 10th June 2016. It’s not for me to comment on, or decide how long an investigation should take.But to clarify, there is no longer a PayPal investigation. As I explained in my previous emails, PayPal has made the decision to keep the account permanently suspended. This is not because of an ongoing investigation but rather because it decided to take action to prevent further use of the account.I hope this answers your question. 13th June 2016. I was told that my Paypal account couldn't be closed due to me 'trying to avoid an investigation' by doing so, which was in line with Section 7.2. Since then, it has emerged that this was regardless of whether a Paypal investigation was 'currently ongoing' or not. As I already told you, Paypal must have been referring to the prospect of a 'fresh investigation'. Now, saying it isn't for you to comment on or decide how long an 'actual investigation' should take is fair enough. However, this would have absolutely nothing to do with giving an opinion on how long Paypal can get away with saying I can't close my account 'to avoid an investigation'. This is precisely your job and you have already somehow decided that 2 years and 7 months is acceptable.. So, if you deem that Paypal can get away with saying that for anything between 3 years and 6 years, then I would accept whatever your specific decision was. However, if you deem that Paypal can get away with saying that for 10 years, 15 years or even longer, then I wouldn't accept your decision. If you thought something in between 6 years and 10 years was reasonable, then I would have to consider your decision for a little while. This is something very relevant that I really do need to know, so please get back to me with an answer. Furthermore, I really shouldn't have to be stating the obvious here, but closing my account would do a pretty good job of preventing further use of my account. Much appreciated and best wishes. 14th June 2016. I apologise but I don’t quite understand your email to me or the point you’re making.I have tried to explain why I don’t think PayPal have done anything wrong. If you would like to clarify your comments then I will try my best to respond to them.At this point, I think it might be best if an ombudsman makes a final decision on your complaint. As I think we are going back and forth about PayPal’s decision and I’m not likely to change my position. Please let me know by 17 June 2016 if you have any other information you would like the ombudsman to consider. Just so you know a decision is likely to be made within two months of when I pass your complaint to an ombudsman. If I don’t hear from you by 17 June I’ll assume you have nothing further to add and I’ll arrange for the file to be placed into the queue for an ombudsman.If you have any questions please let me know. 17th June 2016. I was told that my Paypal account couldn't be closed due to me 'trying to avoid an investigation' by doing so, which was in line with Section 7.2. This was all based on this moment in time. So, very simply, I am asking for how long can Paypal get away with saying that? For example, do you think it would still be reasonable for Paypal to be saying that after 4 years? What about in 6 years, 8 years or 10 years time? What about in 15 years or 20 years time? Or perhaps you think it is reasonable for Paypal to say this for all eternity? For me, it is very obvious that Paypal can't get away with saying that forever, However, that is only my opinion of course. It really is a very simple and straightforward question I am asking you, I do apolgise if I wasn't clear enough in my previous email, and I am glad to be able to clarify if further you. So, if you were to say that Paypal had anything up to 10 years, whereby they could continue using Section 7.2 as a barrier to closing my account, then I might accept your opinion after some consideration. Paypal could then be given notice that they have 'x' amount of time in which to close my account. However, if you were to say that you considered it reasonable for Paypal to continue using that excuse for 10 years, or even longer, then I wouldn't accept your opinion. So, for how long do you think Paypal can get away with saying that my account can't be closed, due to me 'trying to avoid an investigation' by doing so, in line with Section 7.2? This is something that I really want to know. No need for any going back and forth and I look forward to getting an answer then. Much appreciated and best wishes. 20th June 2016. It’s not for me to say how long PayPal should keep the account restricted for. As I explained in my email of 11 May, section 10.2 of the user agreement allows PayPal to suspend your account. And it does not set out that it can only do this for a certain period of time.PayPal made the business decision to keep the account suspended to prevent further use of it and so it is entitled to keep the account restricted as long as it thinks is reasonable. This decision might be indefinitely but that’s for PayPal to decide.Ultimately, it is entitled to decide if it will provide its services to you again in the future and that’s not something I would comment on.I will now arrange for your complaint to be passed to an ombudsman. 21st June 2016. I am afraid that you have totally missed something very important. So, in the interest of fairness and impartiality, hold your horses a moment please. If you care to peruse Section 10.2 of Paypal's user agreement, then you will see that it also does not set out that a suspended account can't ever be closed. Where you got the idea that it did I really don't know. For the record, I am perfectly happy for Paypal to keep all of the restrictions on my account when they close it. I am certainly not asking that they lift any restrictions prior to closing it or after closing it. Moreover, I am also happy to verify that I wouldn't accept any services from Paypal ever again in the future, even if they were to offer me copious amounts of money as an incentive. Therefore, the notion that I might consent to Paypal reopening my account one day has no substance whatsoever. So, I take it these recent, fresh developments might well shed new light on the matter in your eyes now then? I mean not appreciating the fact that Section 10.2 of Paypal's user agreement does not set out that a suspended account can't ever be closed is relevant isn't it? We all miss things I am sure, but it is relevant right? Anyhow, please confirm, as I would like to avoid any further confusion.Like I said, I am 82 years old and doing my very best to keep up here. Furthermore, if the case ultimately ends up going to an ombudsman, regardless of these new revelations, then it's still definitely no harm done covering this. It should even help the said ombudsman when weighing things up. Much appreciated and best wishes. P.S. From what I can gather, you are now not really basing your opinion on Section 7.2 then? Please confirm, as I do want to be totally clear on that as well please. 22nd June 2016. I don’t have anything further to add, as I have already addressed my thoughts on PayPal’s terms and conditions previously. However, your comments will be available for an ombudsman to review. If the ombudsman disagrees with what I have said they will explain why this is. 6th July 2016. my apologies for the somewhat tardy response, but I have been very busy dealing with another very serious matter of late. Right, moving on, there is something that I need to be crystal clear on. In your first email of 22nd June 2016 you stated the following: 'I don’t have anything further to add, as I have already addressed my thoughts on PayPal’s terms and conditions previously.' Well, you had never previously addressed the fact that Section 10.2 of Paypal's user agreementdid not set out that a suspended account couldn't ever be closed.The very obvious reason for that is I had only first raised it with you in my email of 21st June 2016. So, what I want to know, before I submit a final comment to the ombudsman for review, is are you saying you actually took on board what I put to you before dismissing it as irrelevant? Or is it the case that you didn't even bother to assess what I put to you before dismissing it as irrelevant? It is important to me to know this, it is a very simple and straightforward question as well, so I look forward to getting your prompt clarification on that point before I submit a final comment to the ombudsman for review. Much appreciated and best wishes. Well, my father and I both feel quite strongly about this. We don't see how Paypal can be authorised, by the FOS no less, to keep his account open forever. At the very least, we believe that they should have 6 years from when they first restricted his account to close it. This has all dragged on for a while now, he goes at his own pace despite my best efforts to help, and he wants to get final closure on it as soon as is practically possible. So, he wants to know if anyone can recommend anything to include in the final comment he is going to make before an ombudsman reviews the case? He wants to know if anyone has any general advice they can offer on this matter? For example, if an ombudsman sides with adjudicator, then could he potentially get some success via county court action against Paypal? All advice greatly appreciated. We feel that the FOS adjudicator has been very unreasonable here. She didn't try to run off, I will give her that, but it seemed that no matter what she was presented with it would always be wholeheartedly twisted to 'Paypal is right!'. Perhaps my father and I have lost touch with reality somewhere down the line? On the boards it says something like 30 users are currently browsing this thread. It is 1a.m. and, although some of these users are no doubt genuine forum users, that is a serious amount of bots. It isn't my field, so I haven't really got much of a clue about what, exactly, they are doing here though. Just a night howler reading interesting stuff.
  3. General Motors has agreed to pay $900m (£580m) to end a criminal inquiry into its failure to recall vehicles with faulty ignitions. The car maker was being investigated for not checking millions of cars, despite staff knowing for more than a decade about the defect. The fault has been linked to more than 100 confirmed deaths. It could shut down engines, disable power-assisted steering and brakes and prevent airbags working. BBC Could this fault show up over here.
  4. US investment bank Citigroup is to pay $730m (£484m) to settle a class-action suit by bondholders brought over the financial crisis. The suit alleged Citi misled buyers of its bonds over its exposure to subprime mortgages and other high-risk securities between 2006 and 2008. Citi denied the claims, but said it agreed to the settlement to "eliminate uncertainties". In August 2012, Citi struck a $590m settlement with shareholders. Bondholders claimed that Citi not only misrepresented its exposure to mortgage-backed assets, but also understated losses on loans. But the bank said in a statement: "Citigroup senies the allegations and is entering into this settlement solely to eliminate the uncertainties, burden and expense of further protracted litigation. "This settlement is another significant step toward resolving our exposure to claims arising from the financial crisis, and we look forward to putting this matter behind us. Citi is a fundamentally different company today than at the beginning of the financial crisis." The settlement must be approved by the US district court. In August 2012, Citi announced a $590m settlement with investors who claimed that the company had hid its exposure to the collateralised debt obligations market to prop up its share price. The investors suffered heavy losses when Citi's shares eventually fell. In that case, Citi also denied the allegations and said it was settling to avoid any more legal costs. Link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-21839793
  5. The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has issued its joint largest retail fine of £10.5 million to Card Protection Plan Limited (CPP) for mis-selling insurance products. CPP has also agreed to pay redress and estimates that around £14.5 million will need to be paid to affected customers, but this could change depending on how many customers respond to CPP's contact exercise. CPP has estimated that the total costs of the FSA's investigation will be £33.4 million which includes the fine, redress and the costs associated with the investigation. The fine is for all types of sale made by CPP while the focus of the redress exercise is CPP's direct sales. The FSA found widespread mis-selling of CPP's two main UK products between January 2005 and March 2011. CPP failed to treat its customers fairly and did not provide clear information to its customers: CPP sold its Card Protection product by emphasising that customers would benefit from up to £100,000 worth of insurance cover - when this was not needed because customers were already covered by their banks; and CPP overstated the risks and consequences of identity theft during sales of its Identity Protection product. CPP sold Card Protection and Identity Protection through its own sales channels, or through a partner, such as a high street bank, which introduced its customers to CPP. Card Protection cost about £35 a year while Identity Protection cost about £84 a year. In total, CPP sold 4.4 million policies and generated £354.5 million in gross profit. In the period in question, 18.7 million policies were renewed which generated an income of £656.5 million. Following FSA intervention in early 2011 CPP has improved its renewal process and extended the cooling off period during which customers can change their minds about buying the product from 14 days to 60 days. CPP agreed with the FSA requirements to stop new sales of products (apart from where the insurance is sold as part of a package) and to stop trying to keep customers who call to cancel their policies. The FSA has required CPP to appoint an external 'skilled person' to monitor and report on its claims and complaints handling. The FSA found that CPP's sales process focussed on sales, revenue and commercial objectives at the expense of treating customers fairly. The FSA's investigation revealed that: CPP sales agents were encouraged to be overly persistent in persuading potential customers to purchase the products even after they had made it clear that they did not wish to buy them; CPP gave its sales agents targets for successfully dissuading customers who contacted CPP to cancel their policies; CPP did not prevent sales agents telling customers to buy the products on the basis that customers could cancel them during the cooling-off period; and CPP renewed and took payments from customers without reminding them when it did not have current addresses and could not send renewal documentation. Customers generally do not need insurance for fraudulent transactions on lost or stolen credit and debit cards because they are not liable for unauthorised card payments - apart from in exceptional circumstances. However CPP continued to sell Card Protection by emphasising this insurance aspect of the product. CPP also failed to control its affairs responsibly and effectively. This is because it was aware that significant issues about its sales and compliance processes had been raised by the FSA but it failed to take sufficient action to deal with them. Tracey McDermott, the FSA's director of enforcement and financial crime, said "This is a serious case, one that has warranted our joint largest retail conduct fine and generated a sizeable bill for consumer redress. "While CPP's products were relatively inexpensive, they were sold widely and CPP encouraged its sales agents to be overly persistent. This exposed a very large number of customers to the unacceptable risk of buying products they did not want or need. Further, we had already warned the firm that it might be misleading customers about a feature of Card Protection from which customers were unlikely to benefit, but insufficient action was taken to rectify this. "We have highlighted before our concerns about low cost insurance that offers little or no value to the customer. This case shows the action we will take if our warnings are not heeded". CPP agreed to settle at an early stage entitling it to a 30% discount on its fine. Without the discount, the fine would have been £15 million. CPP has agreed to provide an undertaking about a contract term it used which was unfair. This unfair term allowed CPP to take customer payments from another card covered by Card Protection in the event that payment could not be taken from the original card. The purpose of having multiple cards registered was to ensure that all cards were covered by the protection, but CPP used it to take payment from customers. Notes for editors The Final Notice for CPP. Formal requirements imposed on CPP by agreement with the FSA are set out in CPP's entry on the FSA Register, which can be found here. CPP may in future apply to the FSA to have these restrictions lifted subject to satisfying the FSA as to the appropriateness of its funding structure, governance arrangements and control environment. CPP announced in September 2012 that it continues to have constructive discussions with the FSA about customer redress and that these discussions have included certain of CPP Group's larger business partners. CPP has announced that these discussions include consideration of the use of a Solvent Scheme of Arrangement as a vehicle for providing redress. For confidentiality reasons, the FSA cannot comment further on any ongoing discussions about redress with other parties, but will announce further details, if appropriate, in future. From 14 January 2005 to March 2011, CPP sold 4.4 million Card Protection and Identity Protection policies and received £188.3 million in customer payments (a proportion of which it paid to its business partners for an introduction fee) for those new sales. CPP renewed 18.7 million Card Protection and Identity Protection policies and received £656.5 million in customer payments (a proportion of which it paid to its business partners for an introduction fee) for those renewals. CPP generated gross profits of £354.5 million and net profits of £79.1 million Some business partners 'introduced' their customers to CPP by affixing a sticker to the new credit or debit cards sent to their customers. The sticker prompted the customer to call a number (which was actually CPP's) either to activate the card or to confirm that the customer had received the card. When the customer did ring the number, CPP also used the opportunity to offer Card Protection and/or Identity Protection to the customer. The FSA has previously warned about low cost insurance products in its 2012/13 Business Plan, its 2012 Retail Conduct Risk Outlook and in a speech by Martin Wheatley to the Association of British Insurers in September 2012. The FSA regulates the financial services industry and has four objectives under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000: maintaining market confidence; securing the appropriate degree of protection for consumers; fighting financial crime; and contributing to the protection and enhancement of the stability of the UK financial system. The FSA will be replaced by the Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority in 2013. The Financial Services Bill currently undergoing parliamentary scrutiny is expected to receive Royal Assent in late 2012 or early 2013, subject to the parliamentary timetable. Link: http://www.fsa.gov.uk/library/communication/pr/2012/102.shtml
  6. Compliance is expected to take effect from January 2013. Some firms including airlines,have already sought to get around this by removing the itemised debit or credit card fee from the billing screen and including it in the booking fee/charge. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-19438820
  7. FSA/PN/071/2012 29 Jun 2012 The FSA has today announced that it has found serious failings in the sale of interest rate hedging products to some small and medium sized businesses (SMEs). We believe that this has resulted in a severe impact on a large number of these businesses. In order to provide as swift a solution to this problem as possible we have today confirmed that we have reached agreement with Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds and RBS to provide appropriate redress where mis-selling has occurred. The banks will move to provide redress directly for those customers that bought the most complex products. They have also agreed to stop marketing interest rate structured collars to retail customers. Interest rate hedging products can protect bank customers against the risk of interest rate movements and can be an appropriate product when properly sold in the right circumstances. During the period 2001 to date, banks sold around 28,000 interest rate protection products to customers. These products range in complexity from comparatively simple “caps” that fixed an upper limit to the interest rate on a loan, through to the more complex derivatives such as “structured collars” which fixed interest rates within a band but introduced a degree of interest rate speculation. Over the past two months the FSA has conducted a review of these sales. We have reviewed a significant amount of documentation from the firms (including sales files, customer complaints and taped conversations). We have also talked to over 100 customers who have come forward. We have found a range of poor sales practices including: Poor disclosure of exit costs; Failure to ascertain the customers’ understanding of risk; Non advised sales straying into advice; “Over-hedging” (i.e. where the amounts and/or duration did not match the underlying loans); and Rewards and incentives being a driver of these practices. Not all businesses will be owed redress, but for those that are, the exact redress will vary from customer to customer, but could include a mixture of cancelling or replacing existing products, together with partial or full refunds of the costs of those products. This exercise will be scrutinised by an independent reviewer at each bank appointed under the FSA’s powers. Martin Wheatley, managing director of the Conduct Business Unit, said: “For many small businesses this has been a difficult and distressing experience with many people’s livelihoods affected. Our work has focused on ensuring a swift outcome for these businesses that form such an important part of the economy. “I am pleased that Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds and RBS have agreed to do the right thing by their customers and offer redress or a review of past sales. These firms have responded to the need to provide a fair deal for customers by working with us, and I welcome this outcome. “I am particularly pleased that the CEOs: Bob Diamond, Brian Robertson, Antonio Horta Osorio and Chris Sullivan have provided a personal assurance that they will have responsibility for oversight of this work and will ensure that complainants are treated fairly. They have also committed that, except in exceptional circumstances, they will not foreclose on or vary existing lending facilities without the customer’s prior consent.” Link: http://www.fsa.gov.uk/library/communication/pr/2012/071.shtml
  8. Lloyds Banking has agreed terms to sell 630 of its branches to the Co-operative Group resulting in rival bidder NBNK Investments announcing plans to close. The pair have agreed on the commercial terms of the transaction and are now proceeding in exclusive talks for the sale of the Project Verde business. In an announcement on the London Stock Exchange yesterday, Lloyds announced it has ended talks with rival bidder NBNK, which will now be wound up. In a statement NBNK Investments said there were no other UK banking assets available which would meet the company’s objective and has begun to take steps to wind-up the company. Gary Hoffman, chief executive of NBNK Investments, says: “We are disappointed that the door has now been closed on this opportunity, with the result that we will be unable to deliver our vision of banking, bringing a vibrant new challenger to the high street, devoted to providing the level of service that customers want and deserve.” The Project Verde business has almost five million customers and represents 6 per cent of all bank branches in the UK. If combined with the Co-op business, it will have 7% of the total market for current accounts in the country. This deal for the Project Verde business is subject to agreeing satisfactory documentation, the approval of the respective boards of Lloyds and Co-op, and further discussions with the FSA, the Treasury and the European Commission. Co-op has been the preferred bidder for the Project Verde business for some time, however it lost its exclusivity agreement with Lloyds last month. The FSA has reportedly had concerns with the Co-op deal, citing the complex structure of the group. There have also been reports that the regulator may call for the Co-op to hold an additional £3bn of capital at group level. Lloyds’ branch disposal, named by the bank as ‘Project Verde’, is a requirement by the European Commission as part of Lloyds receiving state aid in 2008. Link: http://www.mortgagestrategy.co.uk/latest-news/lloyds-agrees-terms-with-co-op-for-630-branches-nbnk-set-to-close/1053756.article
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