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  1. I don’t know if this will be of interest, hopefully for people in the same circumstances it will be. The history of this is a little personal but I feel it needs to be said. In 2005 I had a breakdown, I had a MBNA credit card with £7000 credit limit when I went on a spending spree and in the interim I applied and got another MBNA card with £6500 limit. During the time of my illness I ran both cards up to the max and I was struggling to make the min payments as I also had several other cards at the time. got these cards by simply applying for balance transfers they were throwing them at me. Needless to say I defaulted on the two MBNA cards. I wrote to them explaining my situation that I was now on medication and to offer a smaller amount of monthly repayments. I made the lesser payments each month and each month they marked it as a late payment default and the balance continued to rise. Eventually I stopped paying, a couple of letters and emails from them stating I was in default. It then went to MBNA debt office, these people were quite aggressive in their emails demanding payment in full and threatening debt collectors. I then wrote to them asking for the charges they kept adding to the account for late payments, I wasn’t late I just didn’t pay the minimum, I also blamed them for putting me in this position, they kept increasing the credit limit so I kept spending and in my condition I had no idea what I was doing. Now on medication, I wrote a strong letter complaining they were the reason I was in debt and they should give me the discount on the advance charges as well as the extra interest cost, I had no reply. Two months later I received a letter from MBNA saying they had written off my debt of over 13k and closed the account. On checking my credit report it shows as closed balance 0 this came as a shock as I had a Tesco card with a large debt on who wouldn’t talk to me regarding my illness and instantly passed it to Frederickson’s. I hope this might help others who suffer mental illness and not to let the credit card co bully them.
  2. Good afternoon all, I'm sure you're all busy so I will keep this as short as possible. Was a VM customer for 8 odd years. Had to cancel their services last year as my Ex and I separated and I was moving to a new place. Account was in my name, so I phoned to cancel it. Phone call lasted about 10 minutes as they tried to get me to shift it to the new address etc. They explicitely said "there is no further charges to pay" on the phone. (I have it recorded as an .m4a file.) In fact, we were due a refund. A week or two later, I get a letter (at my new address!) asking me to pay a £23 cancellation charge. I wrote them a letter explaining both the phone call, and my annoyance at them chasing the additional charge when we'd been good customers for 8 years. I got another chaser a few days later, and expected the letter hadn't been processed yet, and then nothing.... After not getting any correspondance, I assumed it was done. It was £23, and I thought it would all be sorted. Last week, i'm at the bank applying for a loan, and I am denied and told to check out Experian. Three strikes from Virgin Media over the late payment of £23. The rest of the credit report is absolutely sweet. Credit score tarnished by their mistake and incompetence. Any advice on how best to rectify this, and if I should pursue any further action? All the best, D
  3. hi, i had a membership with xercise4less in late 2014/early2015. i was sold this membership with the understanding that there was no contract and that it was a flat rate of 9.99 per month and that cancellation was simple. i used the gym for a few months and then was due to be out of the country for the best part of a year on ops at with work. i called the gym and asked if i could cancel my direct debit and that id restart when i got home. i was told that this wasnt an issue and my membership was terminated and that was that. a few months later i realised that the money was still being withdrawn from my account i called again and again i was told ' yes, cancellation is confirmed'. a few months after this, the money was still being withdrawn from my account and at this point i cancelled the direct debit. i heard nothing after this. until i got home to some red headed letters from harlands and crs demanding over £200 in unpaid fees and admin fees. i tried to dispute this but received no reply from xercise4less i reluctantly paid it (early 2016). id heard nothing since. The past few months ive been hounded by crs with calls, emails and letters demanding almost £200 in unpaid membership fees. after explaining and them confirming that i had already paid these fraudulent fees, i was told that i still had to pay as there was still a contract. i called xercise4less and was told that i hadnt been active on their system since mid 2015 and they would try and sort it. i heard nothing for a few weeks assumed it was done with. a few days ago i got an email from crs demanding money i emailed xercise4less again and have been completely ignored but im still recieving voicemails etc from crs asking me to set up a payment plan... **crs** I have emailed the manager at xercise4less, again. I am trying to sort this as fast as possible but as usual, they appear to be using their usual tactic of ignoring people until they give in and pay. I am only one of hundreds of people that have fell victim to their staff incompetent, fraudulent business and complete lack of moral fibre. I will be in contact as soon when/if they decide to speak to me. From: Sent: 19 February 2018 11:13 To: Subject: CRS Ref No: ,,,,,, Dear Mr .... Re: CRS Ref No: ..../ Xercise 4 Less Ref No: ...... Further to your recent email, It is true that you have not had a contract with them for a number of years, but this debt has been outstanding for a number of years. We have been passed your file by Xercise 4 Less in regards to unpaid arrears due under the terms of your Membership Agreement. On you entered into a Membership Agreement with Xercise 4 Less. You agreed to pay £9.99 a month and give a months notice when you wished to terminate your Agreement. Xercise 4 Less have not received the relevant notice from you to cancel your Membership, but payments stopped in Autumn 2015. As your payments were not honoured and you failed to rectify your breach of Agreement charges were applied to your account and your file was referred to ourselves. Please contact us within the next 7 days on 01444 449165 to discuss repayment of your balance. Yours sincerely, David Castle Collections Department **xercise4less emails** I’m still receiving emails from this debt collection agency. As said in my previous email, I had already paid an ‘outstanding balance’ of over £200. I had been told by your reception staff numerous times that my contract was cancelled. Can you please contact me regarding this. I know I am only one of hundreds of people that are in this situation, brought on by what I can only assume is staff incompetence. As such an amount of time has passed, I can only hope that the current staff has had proper training to stop this fraudulent behaviour happening to other people. Please reply asap as I am being hounded for money that I have already paid, for a contract that has been cancelled for 3 years. Many thanks thank you if youve taken the time to read this far. all suggestions and advice are greatly appreciated. many thanks
  4. Not sure how to explain this ..... I ordered an item from Debenhams a few days ago, today the parcel was handed over to me by a close neighbour , close as he live in the flat that backs onto mine, The complaint I have is that Hermes left MY parcel in my neighbours outside cupboard and put the card in my neighbours postbox! I am just lucky my neighbour is honest or I would have had no idea that it had been delivered! I have reported this to Debenhams but they cant see anything wrong with what Hermes driver did!
  5. Hi there.. after doing some research online this morning, I see that I am not the first person to fall foul of Ashbourne Management's poor customer service and blatant disregard of their own T&Cs. I informed the company via email that I would be moving out of the area and wanted to know their cancellation policy. I was told to refer to the T&Cs which I didn't have as I was not prompted to download a copy when I registered online for Clifford Health Club & Spa in Long Eaton, Nottingham. On checking their T&Cs it clearly states that I can cancel during the minimum membership period with NO further obligation if I move over 15 miles from the gym and provide written confirmation of this. I have moved over 80 miles away and provided them with my new driving license and also 2 bank statements showing the new address. My cancellation has been refused as they do not accept bank statements and I am unable to provide them with any other documents yet as I have moved back in with my parents and waiting for other docs to come through. I have told them I am not happy as bank statements are certainly a formal piece of ID (lenders and solicitors use these every day!), and by waiting for further documents to come through before they cancel will make me liable for an extra months payments I do not wish to pay (mainly out of principle!). I have raised the issue with the CMA who are now investigating, trading standards have been informed and I have also let the gym in question know. I have numerous email threads with Ashbourne Management but most of my points have been ignored and my repeated requests for their complaints procedure have also been ignored. My next DD is due to go out on 1st November - am I safe to cancel this? Thanks in advance for you help, Toni
  6. Hi, we have a mortgage with the wonderful and helpful (!) Kensington and we have managed to get into a pickle. Husband has been in and out of work and we had a reposession order suspended last February. Unfortunately, we've got further into a mess and now have a date for reposession on the 22nd January 2008. I have to be honest, it's not the first time we've been in this situation, we had a mortgage with Verso who did the same to us some years ago, but the system has changed since then. Has anyone been in the same situation and does anyone have any helpful advice? Many thanks
  7. Leading economist Ros Altmann argued in this space yesterday that equity release providers charge too much to unlock wealth in bricks and mortar for older homeowners who are short of cash – but lenders claim her analysis is unfair. For example, while some equity release schemes – also known as home income plans – charge more than 7pc per annum, or double conventional mortgage costs, it is now possible for homeowners aged over 75 to borrow at 5pc without having to pay any interest before they die or leave the property. However, even at that lower rate of interest a debt will double in size in less than 15 years when interest is allowed to accumulate unpaid, as is the case with most equity release schemes. At 7pc, a debt will double in just over a decade. Dr Altmann, a Governor of the London School of Economics, is critical of high costs. She said: “Most equity release schemes do not deliver good value. “Older people have saved, through workplace pensions and other means, but the returns have often been disappointing.” Nigel Waterson, chairman of the Equity Release Council (ERC), hit back: “Critics of equity release often claim it is more expensive than a ‘bog standard’ mortgage, yet in the same breath demand safeguards for the consumer. They miss the hugely important point that comprehensive safeguards – as ensured by dealing with a member of the ERC – come at a cost. “Equity release is a practical way to release equity tied up in a property without having to move. Retaining the right of tenure is the primary appeal for many, as down-sizing involves considerable emotional and physical upheaval, as well as significant costs – so it is understandably seen as a measure of last resort.” The ERC’s code of practice includes a “no negative equity guarantee”, which means borrowers will never owe more than the value of their property. There is no such guarantee with conventional mortgages. Equity release schemes offered by ERC members also guarantee borrowers the freedom to move to another property if they wish, without being subject to any financial penalty. That might prove very valuable if an older person or couple’s circumstances change – perhaps through frailty – and they need to move to a smaller property; for example, without a garden. It is important to keep a close on the detail of different equity release schemes. For example, the 5pc deal mentioned above is a variable rate – so costs could rise – and it is offered by Holmesdale Building Society, which is not a member of the ERC. So risk averse borrowers might prefer slightly more for fixed rate schemes offered by ERC members – such as Just Retirement’s 5.74pc deal.Mr Waterson added: “Every provider member of the ERC has to abide by our code of conduct, which ensures that customers will be provided with an accessible and easy-to-understand explanation of any equity release plan that they may potentially take – including the limits and benefits as well as any obligations. They will also have independent sign-off by a solicitor. “Many people have the best intentions when it comes to planning for retirement, but rising living costs and other financial pressures are making it harder to amass an adequate savings pot. A person’s home is often their biggest asset and equity from it can be used for many purposes in later life: for example, funding travel or home improvements, paying off debts like an interest-only mortgage, meeting care costs or helping a family member to get a foot on the property ladder.” Similarly, Steve Wilkie, a director Responsible Equity Release, claimed: “The difficulty the equity release market has faced shaking off the tag of being an expensive option, is that equity release plans are often compared with regular mortgages. “This is an unfair comparison for two reasons; first, the interest rate on an equity release plan can be fixed for your lifetime, whereas with most regular mortgages the fixed length of time is two, three or five years. “Second, an equity release doesn’t carry the same repossession risk as a mortgage because there are no monthly repayments to miss. “Selling up and renting is an option too, although we see a number of clients who bought their property for £20,000 and it is now worth £250,000. Are these people going to be keen to step off the property ladder?” “Interest rates for equity release are at record lows, with a 5.57pc fixed rate available. At this rate, the amount owed will double every 13 years, but over the last 13 years, house prices have gone up by more than 141pc. “So, assuming property prices don’t move at all, if you take £20,000 of equity from your £200,000 home today, in year 13 you would still have £160,000 of equity.” Dean Mirfin, a director of Key Retirement Solutions, added: “If you take all of these factors into account, for a client borrowing £50,000 against a property value of £250,000, the best ERC member equity release rate is 5.74pc fixed for life from Just Retirement. “By comparison, to the best serviceable or interest payable mortgage rate available for say 15 years would be this is 4.99pc from Manchester Building Society. So for not making any repayments, a fixed rate for an unknown period of time and the no negative equity guarantee, the customer pays an rate just 0.75pc higher.” In an ideal world, older homeowners would have plenty of cash and no need to borrow. But reality falls far short of that for many people after a dismal decade for the stock market and pension savings. So, there can be no doubt the problem is real enough but is equity release a fair deal or an excessively expensive solution? You decide. Link: http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/finance/ianmcowie/100023399/whose-house-is-it-anyway-the-equity-release-empire-strikes-back/
  8. Experian®, the global information services company, today announced that Wescot, a leading debt collection agency, has signed a multi-million pound contract extension for the provision of data services for the next two years. The deal will give Wescot complete and accurate data to better assess debtor characteristics and enhance its collections performance. Wescot will be one of the first clients to be migrated to Experian’s new dynamic platform, ExPin later this year. ExPin changes the way data is matched by assigning every person a unique identifier PIN which drastically reduces any chance of duplication and significantly improves overall match rates and data quality. It also maximises the opportunity of retrieving data accurately which will enable Wescot to gain a complete and accurate profile of its customers. Simon Waller, head of collections and customer management at Experian, commented: “Through the extension of our partnership with Wescot, we look forward to providing the company with quality data and advanced business intelligence. Using technology to enhance debt collection practices is becoming increasingly important, particularly with recent scrutiny and increased regulation of the debt collection industry. This partnership will help Wescot adhere to stringent regulatory guidelines, increase data accuracy and help drive the best data collection practices in the industry.” Paul Jenkins, Chief Executive Officer at Wescot said: “Our strategic partnership with Experian has improved our collections operating model by delivering insight into individual customers and client portfolios. As a result we have been able to strengthen our competitive advantage in the UK’s collections and recovery markets. The implementation of the ExPin system, when integrated with our decisioning and execution platforms, will further improve our ability to take into consideration each individual customer circumstances and deliver appropriate solutions for the repayment of outstanding debts. The benefits to the consumer and our clients are significant, however without question the most important element is the ability to continue to achieve the highest possible standards of compliance in the sector, therefore this is an investment which is designed to continue to protect the reputations of our clients and the Wescot brand.” Link: http://www.ccrmagazine.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=7430&Itemid=33
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