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mcuth v A&L ***WON***


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They haven't closed my account just yet (was due to close on 22nd June), and I have some pending charges, as well as applied ones.

 

Prelim letter sent today by RM Special Delivery:

 

Alliance & Leicester PLC

Personal Customer Services Centre

Bridle Road

Bootle

Merseyside

GIR 0AA

Dear Sir/Madam

ACCOUNT NUMBER XXXXXXXXX – X X XXXXXXXX

REQUEST FOR REFUND OF CHARGES

I am writing to ask you to refund the charges which you have levied from my account since 19th May 2006 & remove all pending charges from my account. I now understand that the regime of fees which you have applied to my account in relation to direct debit/standing order refusal, over limit, and so forth are unlawful at Common Law, Statute and recent consumer regulations. If you say that they are not, then will you please demonstrate this by letting me have a full breakdown of the costs to which you have been put by as a result of my breaches, in order to reassure me that your penalties really do reflect your costs.

 

I am of the view that your charges represent a penalty and are therefore unrecoverable at Common Law. In the Scottish case of Castaneda and Others v. Clydebank Engineering and Shipbuilding Co., Ltd. (1904) 12 SLT 498; the House of Lords held that a contractual party can only recover damages for actual or liquidated losses incurred from a breach of contract. This is also the position in English law: Wilson v Love [1896]; Dunlop Pneumatic Tyre Co Ltd v New Garage and Motor Co Ltd [1915] AC 79; Ford Motor Co v Armstrong [1915]; Bridge v Campbell Discount Co. Ltd [1962]; Murray v Leisureplay [2004].

Your charges do not reflect any actual loss; instead they appear to represent a lucrative profit-making scheme. In

particular, charges were applied after I entered into transactions without sufficient funds in my account and also when I have gone overdrawn without authorisation. The actual loss is the cost of automatically sending me a computer generated letter. I would respectfully submit that is valued at no more than 50 pence.

UK banks have recently given evidence to the House of Commons Treasury Committee on how bank charges are

calculated: "The costs are going to pay for all the people we have who pursue debt, collect debt, speak to customers and chase payments. The way these charges are arrived at is by taking these total costs and making some assumptions about the volume that is going to come through to arrive at the individual charges" (2nd report, 25 January 2005, paragraph 50).

Accordingly, the charges applied to my account are not a reasonable pre-estimate of your loss in relation to my account. No-one has had to look at my account or telephone me. No one has had to collect anything. Your charges would appear to represent a device to recover global losses (for example, loan defaulters, bad debt write off, including commercial lending in, and outwith, the UK).

On a separate note, your charges appear to represent an unfair term of contract which is contrary to the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999 (SI. 1999/2083). My account falls within the scope of Regulation 5 of the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999 as I am a consumer. Your charges constitute an unfair penalty under reference to paragraph 1(e) of schedule 2 of the said regulations:

Indicative and non-exhaustive list of terms which may be regarded as unfair - 1. Terms which have the

object of effect of - (e) requiring any consumer who fails his obligation to pay a disproportionately high

sum in compensation’.

0n 26 July 2005, the OFT stated that 'a charge is likely to be disproportionately high if it is more than a court would

be likely to award if the lender sued the cardholder for breach of contract'. Because your charges include a large

profit margin, in addition to actual loss, they are unrecoverable as an unfair term in contract. I believe that your charges require me to pay a disproportionately high sum in compensation for incurring transactions which were

ultimately declined by an automated computer system. In addition, it is unfair to require me to subsidise your global debt recovery costs and debt write-off.

It has now been confirmed that your particularly high level of penalties are considered to be unfair per se by the OFT who reported on the 5th April 2006 and are therefore presumed to be unlawful in the absence of specific proof to the contrary..

Your responsibilities

I would draw your attention to the terms of the contract which you agreed to at the time that I opened my account. It is an implied term of that contract that you would conduct yourselves lawfully and in a manner which complies with UK law.

 

I am frankly shocked that you have operated my account in this way as I had always reposed confidence in your integrity and expertise as my fiduciary. I consider that your repeated representations that your charges are fair and reasonable are deceptive and that they have deceived me into agreeing to pay them. Your concealment of the true nature of your charges has prevented me from asserting my right until now

 

What I require

I calculate that, as at today’s date, you have taken a nett total of £102.00 – there are currently pending unauthorised overdraft charges & interest of £50.13, and I believe there’ll be further unauthorised overdraft charges due next month (in respect of 20th June – 19th July). I request that you refund the amount of £102.00 in full, and remove any & all pending charges on the account. If you cannot remove the pending charges, then please advise the list of them and I will add them to this claim. I enclose a schedule of the charges which I am claiming with this letter.

 

Targets to resolve this matter

I hope that you will enter into a sincere dialogue with me about this matter and write on the assumption that you will prefer to do this rather than merely respond with standard letters and leaflets.

 

You have 10 working days, from receipt of this letter (i.e. by Wednesday 5th July 2006), to reply unconditionally accepting my request in principle and letting me know a date by which I will receive payment.

 

If you do not respond, or do not respond positively, within this time period, I shall send you a further letter before action allowing a further 10 working days in which to reflect. I believe that these targets are more than sufficient for a large company such as yours with dedicated staff and departments.

 

After that will be no further communication from myself and I shall issue a claim at the expiry of the second deadline.

I look forward to hearing from you by return.

Yours faithfully,

 

 

 

Cheers

 

Michael

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Well they will just love you Michael:D Bet they will wish they closed your account sooner.

 

Now that is just plain greedy when the rest of us are still waiting to get our first lot of bank charges back! (only kidding - lol):p

 

I won't bother with the good luck cos you just know you are going to win anyway don't you. I'll put £1000 on you to win and be back in the A&L winners enclosure. (If I bet more I could clear my debts, and give up work, and get a new car :rolleyes: )

 

What's Best for You?

 

 

The Consumer Action Group is a free help site.

Should you be offered help that requires payment please report it to site team.

 

Alliance & Leicester Moneyclaim issued 20/1/07 £225.50 full settlement received 29 January 2007

Smile £1,075.50 + interest Email request for payment 24/5/06 received £1,000.50 14/7/06 + £20 30/7/06

Yorkshire Bank Moneyclaim issued 21/6/06 £4,489.39 full settlement received 26 January 2007

:p

 

Advice & opinions given by Caro are personal, are not endorsed by Consumer Action Group or Bank Action Group, and are offered informally, without prejudice & without liability. Your decisions and actions are your own, and should you be in any doubt, you are advised to seek the opinion of a qualified professional.

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LOL Caro :D

 

I was even nice and wrote last week offering them the opportunity to resolve it before formal letters started - as they didn't even have the basic courtesy to reply, I thought "sod them" :D

 

If someone's offering odds, let me know - wouldn't mind putting a large bet on too :D

 

Cheers

 

Michael

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Hi Michael, have had my notification that account will be closed at end of July but will be starting my own 'part 2 thread' soon as they have charged me a further £109.00!

 

Paul

Alliance & Leicester, £2944.66 settled in full, donation made!!!

 

Capitol One (Partner), £475.01 settled in full, donation made!!!

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Stuart - oh yes it is mate :D

 

Paul - nice one! I wonder what threat they'll use to those of us with "closed" accounts that aren't closed yet? :D

 

BTW, Royal Mail failed to deliver the letter yesterday as "guaranteed" (the only one out of 7 SD letters to not make it on time) - give them their due though, rang them today and they're sending a refund cheque out immediately.

 

Cheers

 

Michael

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On checking my account online today, I see that A&L have deducted the pending unauthorised overdraft charges & interest (not due til 6th July), and also an unauthorised overdraft charge for 20-30th Jun.

 

I'm pretty sure this means that they're closing my account ( a week after they said they would), but it also means that my claim can now have an additional £75.17 added and be firmed up at £177.17 :D

 

Cheers

 

Michael

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Hi Michael

 

I am new to this site and after reading your victory against A & L am definitely going to follow you route. I have been a long standing customer of A & L and have massive charges on my account, which accumulated three years ago when I started my own business and cash flow was difficult (this is not a business account I hasten to add). I have just sent off the data protection form along with my £10.00. I hope to be as successful as you.

 

Jayne T

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I just checked my account online today - the early deduction of the unauthorised overdraft charges has sent me....unauthorised overdrawn! :rolleyes:

 

Not only that, but one of my DPA cheques has come in for payment today....hmmm, I'm unauthorised overdrawn due to their early deduction of unlawful charges (including a part month charge which implies they're closing the account) - if they bounce the cheque, I wonder if they'll charge me again.

 

They were advised that there were cheques outstanding on the account over a week ago, along with the values, and there was enough money to cover them in the account before they deducted the pending charges early. They also received my prelim letter on Friday which requested cancellation of pending charges....depending on the action they take with this cheque, I think it could start getting interesting :D

 

Oh, thanks for the comments Jayne - I hope you have great success against this great mindless entity too :)

 

Cheers

 

Michael

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Bang on form, A&L bounced that cheque yesterday - adding another £34 to the claim.

 

I think I may launch a complaint against them for this one too - given that a) they were informed well in advance that the cheque was one of 2 outstanding, b) they also had advance notice that I wanted the pending charges cancelled & the rest back, c) there was enough to pay the cheque in the account until....d) the charges that took me overdrawn were debited 5 days early (and looking at my last statement, the due date of 6th July is clearly marked :D)

 

Cheers

 

Michael

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Curious - logged into Internet Banking this morning and saw that they've refunded 3 x failed cheque charges & 2 x unauthorised overdraft charges. This now puts the account back in credit. There's enough to cover the final 2 cheques outstanding, so I'm hoping that they'll pay them.

 

However, the refund isn't for the whole lot - there's still 1 x failed cheque charge & 1 x unauthorised overdraft charge and the unauthorised overdraft interest to refund - total of £59.17 - so I need to amend my docs again....

 

I wonder what else they can play at before I send the LBA in? :rolleyes:

 

Cheers

 

Michael

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And overnight another unauthorised overdraft charge goes back on - we're down to £34.17 now....

 

Cheers

 

Michael

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Looks like they might be trying to get you off their back Michael.:D

 

What's Best for You?

 

 

The Consumer Action Group is a free help site.

Should you be offered help that requires payment please report it to site team.

 

Alliance & Leicester Moneyclaim issued 20/1/07 £225.50 full settlement received 29 January 2007

Smile £1,075.50 + interest Email request for payment 24/5/06 received £1,000.50 14/7/06 + £20 30/7/06

Yorkshire Bank Moneyclaim issued 21/6/06 £4,489.39 full settlement received 26 January 2007

:p

 

Advice & opinions given by Caro are personal, are not endorsed by Consumer Action Group or Bank Action Group, and are offered informally, without prejudice & without liability. Your decisions and actions are your own, and should you be in any doubt, you are advised to seek the opinion of a qualified professional.

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Looks like they might be trying to get you off their back Michael.:D

 

Really? Thought had never crossed my mind :D:D

 

Cheers

 

Michael

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Hmmm, now I see that the online banking is showing that they've refunded the full balance by cheque. What a set of &^%*@#$ - they've known since 20th June that there are cheques outstanding on the account and this was the fax I sent them yesterday:

 

By fax to 0151 966 2079

(also sent by 1st class post 6th July 2006)

 

Thursday, 6th July, 2006

 

Alliance & Leicester PLC

Customer Contact Centre

Bridle Road

Bootle

Merseyside

GIR 0AA

 

Dear Sir/Madam

 

Current Account Number XXXXXXXXX

Your ref: XXXXXXXX/XXXXX

 

Thank you for your letter of 30th June, received yesterday.

Firstly, I have to point out one serious misconception in it - the account is *NOT* being closed "at my request" - it is your unfair & retaliatory decision to close my account in response to my action over your unlawful charges.

 

As I have previously advised you (by fax & letter on 20th June), the following cheques are still outstanding on the account (all other cheques are either paid or destroyed):

XXXXXX £10.00

XXXXXX £10.00

 

You have not responded to that communication as yet, but you can see that cheque XXXXXX was returned on 3rd July, because you debited my account with pending charges that were debited 5 days earlier than you previously communicated (debited on 1st July, when they were scheduled for 6th July).

 

Further to my preliminary request for charges refund dated 28th June, I see you have refunded the majority of charges to my account, making the current balance £XX.XX. There are still charges & unauthorised overdraft interest of £34.17 to refund - should you not do so by Wednesday 12th July, my actions as specified in my request dated 28th June will continue for this amount.

 

I am happy for you to forward the balance of the account, leaving £20 in the account to cover the above outstanding cheques, as I am sure they will be presented/represented for payment soon (I issued these cheques on 12th June and cannot control when the payees will bank them).

 

I look forward to the common courtesy of a reply.

 

Yours faithfully

 

{mcuth}

:rolleyes:

 

Cheers

 

Michael

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Loved the fax! I received my "we're closing your account letter yesterday to which I replied with a letter equally as terse as yours...

 

"I am at a loss as to how you intend to close my account on 7 August 2006, considering that I attended my local branch of Alliance & Leicester on 28th June 2006 to close my current account and two savings accounts I held with you....I am therefore not in a position to return my debit card or banking stationery in the envelope you supplied as I handed it in to the branch and was assured that the branch staff would dispose of it appropriately....This poor communication between your departments has highlighted how inept your procedures are..."

 

Doesn't being snotty give you a warm feeling inside!

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Loved the fax! I received my "we're closing your account letter yesterday to which I replied with a letter equally as terse as yours...

 

"I am at a loss as to how you intend to close my account on 7 August 2006, considering that I attended my local branch of Alliance & Leicester on 28th June 2006 to close my current account and two savings accounts I held with you....I am therefore not in a position to return my debit card or banking stationery in the envelope you supplied as I handed it in to the branch and was assured that the branch staff would dispose of it appropriately....This poor communication between your departments has highlighted how inept your procedures are..."

 

Doesn't being snotty give you a warm feeling inside!

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Doesn't being snotty give you a warm feeling inside!

 

LOL - yeah, but it'd be even better if they'd actually action the snotty letters. Now I'm probably going to have sort out postal orders for those two cheques :rolleyes:

 

Cheers

 

Michael

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Received the following yesterday (verbatim, and if anyone wants to go through it with a red pen outlining grammar & punctuation errors, feel free - I think it's of a pretty appalling standard :rolleyes:):

 

Dear {mcuth}

 

I refer to your correspondence dated 20 June regarding charges being incurred on your account, after a request was sent to you confirming your account will be closed.

 

At the outset, I was sorry to learn of your dissatisfaction with my previous response and that you have felt it necessary to contact us again regarding this matter. Having reviewed the circumstances surrounding your complaint I am confident that our charges are legal and fair, and have been raised correctly in accordance with our charging policy. However, in view of the situation, I have refunded additional fees totalling £177.00, this represents three failed item charges raised on 19 May, 7 June 3 July and unauthorised overdraft fees of £75.00. This will be shown as credits entered on your final statement which you will receive in due course.

 

The decision should not be regarded as an admission of liability on the part of the Company, nor should it be regarded as any sign of weakness on our part as we consider the charges to be fair and reasonable.

 

I can confirm that arrangements have been made to close your account and I have enclosed a closure balance cheque for the amount of £XX.XX.

 

I hope we will now be able to draw this matter to a close and if I do not hear from you within the next 8 weeks, will assume this is the case. However in accordance with regulatory requirements, I am enclosing our leaflet which explains the steps you would need to take if you should wish to pursue this matter further, including the ultimate availability of the Financial Ombudsman Service

 

Yours sincerely

 

Sue Morris

Customer Relations

 

"a request was sent to you confirming your account will be closed" - huh? :?

 

Hmm, I don't think I actually posted my letter of 20th June either on this thread, or the original pI thread. So, here it is:

 

Dear Ms Morris

Current Account Number XXXXXXXXX

Your ref: XXXXXXXXXXX

Thank you for your letter of 17th May 2006.

As you are no doubt aware, I consider that your penalty charges for returned standing orders, direct debits, cheques, etc. are unlawful and unenforceable. Thus, I do not accept the clauses of your terms & conditions that allows you to levy such disproportionate, unfair & unlawful penalties.

I consider the proposed enforced closing of the above account to be a punitive retaliatory measure in respect of my recent County Court action against yourselves with regards to recovering your unlawfully applied penalty charges. In fact, your public announcements completely support this conclusion.

As the penalty charges are unfair under the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations, it follows that an account closure made in response to a challenge to unfair charges must itself be unfair under the Regulations. Whilst I will not be challenging the closure at this time, I will be taking further advice on the situation and reserve the right to challenge it in the future.

In addition, at the time of writing, the following cheques are outstanding on the account.

XXXXXX £10.00

XXXXXX £10.00

XXXXXX £13.30

Any other uncashed cheques are destroyed.

As above, and as previously advised, I do not accept your unlawful penalty charges and therefore give you this opportunity to refund the two charges of £34.00 for two cheque returns incurred on 19th May & 7th June – a total of £68.00. I am willing to accept that you immediately credit my account with this and refund me the balance of £XX.XX after making an allowance for the above cheques (current available balance = £X.XX. Credit £XX.XX = £XX.XX. Cheque allowance of £33.30 = balance due to me of £XX.XX).

I give you this opportunity in the hope that you will accept it, avoiding further county court action, court costs & interest, and that this will bring the matter to a mutually satisfactory conclusion.

Many thanks

Yours faithfully

 

{mcuth}

 

So, they admit to receiving my letter detailing the cheques outstanding, but have done nothing about that at all :rolleyes:. You know, I'm going to be so glad when this is all done and I'm finally through with A&L...

 

Cheers

 

Michael

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LBA sent today:

 

Thursday, 13th July, 2006

 

Alliance & Leicester PLC

Personal Customer Services Centre

Bridle Road

Bootle

Merseyside

GIR 0AA

 

By Royal Mail Special Delivery

 

Dear Sir/Madam

 

ACCOUNT NUMBER XXXXXXXXX

Your refs XXXXXXXXXX & XXXXXXXX/XXXXX

REQUEST FOR REFUND OF CHARGESLETTER BEFORE ACTION

 

Further to my letters of 20th June (ref XXXXXXXXXX), 28th June (initial refund request), 6th July (ref XXXXXXXX/XXXXX), & your reply of 7th July (ref XXXXXXXXXX). I am again writing to ask you to refund the charges which you have levied from my account since 19th May 2006. I now understand that the regime of “fees” which you have been applying to my account in relation to “over limit”/late payments/direct debit/standing order refusals, unauthorised overdrafts and so forth are unlawful at Common Law, Statute and recent Consumer regulations. My letter of 28th June explains this in detail.

 

As I have previously advised you (by fax & letter on 20th June, and 6th July), the following cheques are still outstanding on the account (all other cheques are either paid or destroyed):

XXXXXX £10.00

XXXXXX £10.00

 

You can see that cheque XXXXXX was returned on 3rd July, because you debited my account with pending charges that were debited 5 days earlier than you had previously communicated (debited on 1st July, when originally advised they were to be debited on 6th July).

 

I would draw your attention to the terms of the contract which you agreed to at the time that I opened my account. It is an implied term of that contract that you would conduct yourselves lawfully and in a manner which complies with UK law.

Whilst I appreciate that you have refunded the majority of charges requested in my letter of 28th June, there is still the nett total of £34.17 (returned cheque fee 23rd June & unauthorised overdraft interest of £0.17 due to your fees). I require repayment of this amount in full and have enclosed a schedule of the charges that I am reclaiming – however,I am happy for you to forward £14.17, leaving £20 in the account on the understanding that the above cheques will be covered. I am sure they will be presented/represented for payment soon - I issued these cheques on 12th June and cannot control when the payees will bank them.

 

If you do not fully comply within 10 working days of receipt of this letter (i.e. by Friday 28th July 2006), I shall begin a claim against you for the full amount (plus interest, plus my costs) without further notice.

 

I look forward to hearing from you by return.

 

Yours faithfully,

 

{mcuth}

Cheers

 

Michael

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  • 2 weeks later...

Received the following letter:

 

Dear (mcuth)

 

Thank you for your further correspondence dated 13 July.

 

I can confirm we are looking into the issue you have raised and will send a full response within the next 28 Days. (sic)

 

Yours sincerely

 

L Howard

Customer Services

 

:rolleyes:

 

Cheers

 

Michael

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I take it you will be sticking to your timetable.:D

 

What's Best for You?

 

 

The Consumer Action Group is a free help site.

Should you be offered help that requires payment please report it to site team.

 

Alliance & Leicester Moneyclaim issued 20/1/07 £225.50 full settlement received 29 January 2007

Smile £1,075.50 + interest Email request for payment 24/5/06 received £1,000.50 14/7/06 + £20 30/7/06

Yorkshire Bank Moneyclaim issued 21/6/06 £4,489.39 full settlement received 26 January 2007

:p

 

Advice & opinions given by Caro are personal, are not endorsed by Consumer Action Group or Bank Action Group, and are offered informally, without prejudice & without liability. Your decisions and actions are your own, and should you be in any doubt, you are advised to seek the opinion of a qualified professional.

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I take it you will be sticking to your timetable.:D

 

Oh, I rather think so ;):D

 

Cheers

 

Michael

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Claim to be taken to Swindon County Court today - with interest/court fees, the amount has gone up to £64.46 from £34.17

 

Will PM a mod when the claim is issued...

 

Cheers

 

Michael

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Case no: 6SN02734

Swindon County Court

Value: £64.46 (£34.17 + £0.29 interest + £30 fee)

Issue: 31st July 2006

Deemed to be served: 5th August 2006

 

:D

 

Cheers

 

Michael

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  • dx100uk changed the title to mcuth v A&L ***WON***
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