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Complaining to the Financial Ombudsman Service


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Having now had some experience of the process I thought I'd put that to good use with my next round of complaints and also share my thoughts for anyone else who needs some guidance.

 

First the complaint form. The only bits that should need some thought are

 

page 2 - please tell us what your complaint is about - see next post

 

page 3 - what do you want the business you're complaining about to do - see post no 3

 

page 3 - please give us any other details - see post no 4

 

Supporting documents - see post no 5

 

Covering letter - see post 27

 

Please read the disclaimer in my signature before following any suggestions. All of this is based on my own experience of what works - I have no specialist knowledge. Feel free to suggest additions/alterations/corrections as necessary.

 

Having finished (I think!) I thought a few more comments right at the beginning would be appropriate. I've written this from the point of view of complaining about a DCA, whether in house or not, but I'm sure it could be adapted to most situations and all the general suggestions will apply regardless.

 

I would suggest reading right to the end first off, then going through post by post as each stage is reached. That way no one is going to miss the important bit in post 11 about asking for a cheque, not a credit to the account.

 

Posts are now being amended to allow for the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations, 2008. So far as I know, they will only apply to complaints and/or DCA behaviour after they came into force on 26th May 2008.

Edited by reallymadwoman
Adding more stuff, and more stuff.
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page 2 - please tell us what your complaint is about.

 

My tactics are to leave this bit until I've written my complaint in full on a separate sheet. To do this I use the OFT Debt Collection Guidance (link here http://www.oft.gov.uk/shared_oft/business_leaflets/consumer_credit/oft664.pdf) as a starting point. I go through the guidance item by item, highlighting those that the DCA have breached, not forgetting the more general guidance at the beginning under 'Introduction' regarding responsibility for using agents that comply, no discrimination etc., then note evidence for that particular breach

 

e.g. 2.1 Communicating in an unclear, inaccurate or misleading manner, e.g.

 

b. leaving out or presenting information in such a way that it creates a false or misleading impression or exploits debtors' lack of knowledge

 

On xx/xx/08 the DCA sent a letter which implied that they could immediately apply for a charging order on my property although they have not yet obtained a County Court Judgement.

 

After I've been through the OFT guidance, I add any other breaches/complaints, again with the evidence e.g. enforcement action whilst a S77-79 request is outstanding, breaches of the Data Protection Act, Malicious Communications Act (telephone harassment), Protection from Harassment Act and/or Administration of Justice Act (harassment in general) and not forgetting failing to supply a copy of their complaints procedure, failing to acknowledge a complaint promptly (normally within 5 working days) or failing to issue a final response or explain a delay within 8 weeks. Also now the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations, 2008.

 

At the end of this lengthy (but you get quicker with practice!) process it's time to summarise your complaints for the form, e.g.

 

1. Breaches of the OFT Guidance on Debt Collection

2. Attempting to enforce an agreement when in default of a request under S77-79 of the CCA 1974

3. Harassment as defined in the Protection from Harassment Act

4. Failing to supply a copy of the complaints procedure upon request ...

5. Breaches of the CPUTR 2008

 

See attached sheet for full details.

 

It's really important to give as much detail as you can as early as possible if you have the evidence to back it up. If friends/family etc have witnessed e.g. phone calls, get them to write a statement in support. Expect the DCA to have 'lost' all their records so tip the balance in your favour. After all, it wouldn't in their own interests for them to own up.

Edited by reallymadwoman
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RMW

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page 3 - What do you want the business you're complaining about to do, to put things right for you?

 

This is a very small box, so chances are you're only comment will be

 

Please see attached sheet

 

What you put on the attached sheet is going to be very dependant on individual circumstances, but as a general guide you could include

 

1. Any actual costs e.g. postage, phone calls, travel costs to get advice from CAB, cost of changing your phone number etc., but keep it reasonable. You want the Ombudsman on your side so claiming £50 an hour for your time is not going to help.

 

2. Compensation for inconvenience, distress, harassment, discrimination, embarrassment etc ...

 

3. An apology. Always worth asking for.

 

4. Anything else appropriate. The FOS are actually quite limited in what they can do. They can't, for example, fine a company or force them to comply with anything. However if asking for an undertaking to cease harassment is appropriate, ask away. Whether it would be worth the paper it's written on is a different matter.

 

The link in this post (despite the title) might give some guidance. http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/debt-collection-industry/136654-complaining-financial-ombudsman-service-3.html#post1545203

Edited by reallymadwoman
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page 3 - please give us any other details that you think will help us understand your complaint.

 

A very important and often overlooked section of the form. This is your opportunity to demonstrate just how reasonable you have been and just how unreasonable the DCA has been.

 

Once again 'see attached sheet' is appropriate if you've got a lot to say, but it might be a good idea to number all these extra sheets.

 

The sort of information you might give here could be some background e.g. In 200X I became ill and unable to work and as a result could not meet my financial commitments. X, Y and Z bank all accepted the financial statement prepared by me/sent by CAB, however this bank did not and kept phoning/send letters to try to get me to increase payments. I responded to all their communications (good time to mention the list of enclosed supporting documents) but they just sent out more and more threatograms .... etc

You also need to include a statement of the effect on you, e.g. solely as a result of the harassment I have had to change my telephone number resulting in considerable inconvenience for myself and my family. My medical condition is adversely affected by stress etc. If you think it's relevant, mention it. It will save having to write it all down later.

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Supporting documents.

 

This is also very important. If you don't send them, the FOS can't start dealing with your complaint.

 

1. The final decision from the company you are complaining about. If you haven't had one, put in big, bold letters in your covering letter - oops! I haven't really mentioned this much. Will post mine as soon as it's done though.

 

'DCA have not responded to my complaint, and 8 weeks have now passed'

 

This is not a criticism of the FOS, but the first thing they look for is the final decision, and if it's not there they will immediately write and ask for it.

 

2. Obviously any separate sheets you have written detailing your complaint.

 

3. A list of everything you are including, starting with all correspondence between you and the DCA, in date order and including your log of telephone calls, supporting statements from family, medical evidence and anything else you've mentioned.

 

4. Just in case it isn't entirely obvious, everything you've put on your list!

 

I have read that you can submit the claim form (this must be by post as it has to be signed) then submit all the documents electronically when you've been given a reference number, but I have no personal experience of this. If your file is very thick though, it's probably worth asking.

 

I'm having a break now, but I'll be back eventually with the next steps.

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RMW

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Excellent work!

 

Newborn

Beaten:

RBS: £4,500

AMEX: £4,200

Barclaycard Visa: £12,100

Barclaycard M/Card: £12,600

(Including the numerous DCAs they have set on me.)

PPI reclaims (into my bank account): £25,000

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OK, so you’ve prepared all your paperwork and sent your complaint off, so what happens next?

 

If you’re expecting an offer of everything you’ve asked for in a matter of days, be prepared for disappointment. Sending in the claim form is only the first step in an often lengthy process. According to the FOS website the majority of complaints are dealt with within 6-9 months. My last complaint took 13 months and the one before that 10 months, but the one before that was only 4 months. It really depends how busy they are and with the endowment complaints and bank charges complaints and now PPI complaints, they are busy!

 

However the FOS, unlike DCAs, are very good at acknowledging everything so you should have a letter giving you a reference number fairly quickly. This is useful because although you tried to cover absolutely everything with the first batch of paperwork, there’s bound to either be something you’ve missed or the DCA do something else you don’t like in the meantime, and there’s no time like the present for letting the FOS know about it.

 

At some point your complaint will be allocated to an adjudicator who may ask you for more information and will contact the DCA for their version of events. I suspect that how quickly things move at this stage is as much to do with how quickly the DCA reply as how busy the FOS are. After all, if they never reply to your letters why should they reply to the FOS?

 

Eventually the adjudicator will write to you with an outline of what he/she understands you are complaining about, what the DCA have said about it, and an opinion on the merits of the complaint. In an ideal world all your complaints would be upheld and the FOS would be recommending settlement of everything you asked for. More likely, and this has happened to me, as soon as the DCA realise you are serious they will write to you direct with an offer of sorts and, having seen that offer, the adjudicator will recommend that you accept it.

 

Of course whatever is or is not offered, you have the option to accept or decline. If you’re happy, accept. If not, don’t. Be aware though that there’s no guarantee that you will be offered more later.

 

See the link in this post for some guidance http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/debt-collection-industry/136654-complaining-financial-ombudsman-service-3.html#post1545203

Edited by reallymadwoman
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The rest of this guidance assumes that you believe you have at least a reasonable chance of your complaint being upheld. If you don't you're probably wasting your own time as well as the time of the FOS in taking things any further.

 

So what if you don’t accept what the adjudicator says. Well, this is where all that hard work at the beginning really pays off. I would suggest that you go through the adjudicator’s letter paragraph by paragraph, or even sentence by sentence if necessary, using the following format.

 

  • what information is wrong
  • what the correct information is
  • what evidence you have

For example:-

 

The DCA say that they send all correspondence via first class post, and therefore delays are not their responsibility. However in my experience their letters always arrive 5 to 7 days after they are dated. Please see letters dated xx/xx/xx etc and envelopes, which you will note confirm firstly that the letters were received 5 days after they were dated and secondly were sent by second class post. Royal Mail recomend allowing three days for second class post, therefore the delay in receipt of mail from this company is quite inexplicable had it really been posted first class.

 

As a matter of course I always write ‘rec’d xx/xx/xx’ on every letter as soon as I open it, even if it’s arrived straight away, and I keep the envelopes, especially the bright orange ‘telemessage’ ones. Such a lovely colour!

 

It’s also a good idea to include a paragraph or two at the end of your letter where you stray from the facts into more personal stuff, reinforcing the ‘other details’ bit from post 4. If it’s worth saying once, it’s worth repeating. It does no harm at all to make it clear, without using any naughty words, exactly what you think of the DCA’s tactics.

 

When you’ve done all that and tidied up your grammar and spelling, pop it in the post box or email it (not forgetting to quote your reference) and sit back and wait. Again.

RMW

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Next. The adjudicator gets your letter and considers what you have to say. Again he/she may or may not ask for further information from either you or the DCA and will probably pass your letter to them for comments. If you had an offer the first time around, you will probably eventually get a better one.

 

The same comments apply about whether you accept or not. The biggest difficulty might be where they offer what you were asking for e.g. for postage etc, but you’re not sure if what they’re offering for ‘inconvenience’ or ‘harassment’ is reasonable. My approach was to do some research on the case law database (link here http://www.bailii.org/ ) where you can search on keywords, but don’t expect that just because Mrs A got £5000 for discrimination, that is what you should get. Damages are notoriously difficult to assess and the FOS does not work to the same rules as the courts. As a general guide, awards by the FOS will be lower. If in doubt, post on the forum and ask for opinions, but the final decision is yours.

See the link in this post for some guidance http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/debt-collection-industry/136654-complaining-financial-ombudsman-service-3.html#post1545203

 

If you’re still not happy and are willing to take the chance that you might not get more and could even end up with less, then refuse the offer. If necessary follow the procedure in post 8 again to respond to the adjudicator, not forgetting the less factual stuff at the end. If you don’t think the compensation offer is high enough, don’t be afraid to quote cases to support your view.

Edited by reallymadwoman
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At this point the adjudicator will once again consider your comments, send a copy to the DCA for their comments and then write to you with yet another summary of what he/she believes the complaint is about. You will be invited to submit any further comments you have, and you absolutely must correct anything the adjudicator has got wrong or missed out. The file will then be passed to an Ombudsman for a decision, and you’ve reached the final stage of the process.

Once again the Ombudsman may or may not ask for further information from you or the DCA, but relatively quickly after this you will get a provisional decision. This will set out the Ombudsman’s understanding of the complaint and any background information, and will give an opinion on the merits of the complaint and what the company should do to put things right. (Of course the complaint will be upheld – you wouldn’t have gone this far otherwise). Both you and the DCA will be given a time limit to submit any further comments (if you’ve done the job properly earlier, there shouldn’t be any need) after which the Ombudsman will issue a final decision.

This decision is binding on the DCA and on you if you accept it. However if you don’t accept the only option left is court, so if you plan to decline, it might be wise to get some professional advice first.

RMW

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So is that the end? You would hope so, but assuming you were awarded something in the way of expenses or compensation, there’s still the cheque. You would think that having the Ombudsman uphold a complaint and award compensation would encourage any company to pay up as quickly as possible. Not necessarily so. If you have any doubt about whether the company will pay up, ask the Ombudsman to set a deadline. In fact do it anyway, just to be on the safe side.

A cautionary tale. Long, long ago in the dark pre-CAG days when I was going through my first FOS complaint (upheld) I unwisely accepted as settlement a credit to the outstanding account. Easier than having to worry about waiting for a cheque, you might think, and at least it will pay a chunk off the balance. Wrong. It took a certain large bank 8 months to get around to crediting the account, by which time we were already in the midst of complaint 3. You can be sure I didn’t make that mistake again. After all, why should anyone profit from their own misdemeanours (I love that phrase) and at the same time be unfair to other creditors. Give me the cheque and I’ll decide who gets how much, thank you.

RMW

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thank you so much RMW!!

 

Im in the middle of an FOS complaint against 1st Credit and to be honest hadnt thought of asking for damages. However, given the very distressing nature of my case, I will reconsider. Will be sure to ask for help when needed!

THE PRETENDER AGENDA - August 30,2008 - 2ND ROW!!! WOO-HOO!! :-)

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR A FAB NITE LEE! xx

Sunderland 011008 - THE BEST BIRTHDAY PRESSIE EVER! 'Aww, it's your birthday! Happy birthday darlin!'

 

02 Apr 2008, 23:55

OfficialLeeRyan wrote:

i like that!! its simple and good and gets the fans involved aswell x x x

 

MY SUCCESSES -

 

1st Credit (Lloyds TSB) admitted no CCA, reply from OFT 130608, reply from FOS 040608, adjudication stage rejected but still no contact....

 

My mate (Littlewoods/Moorcroft)

300608 -Long running battle,threatening court, CCA letter NO 2 and harrassment letter sent - passed back to Littlewoods early July.

070808 - Passed to Debt Managers, Acct in dispute/BOG OFF letter sent 080808...

140808 - Letter from Debt Managers passing debt back to Littlewoods - RESULT! :D

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I'll certainly help if I can although the FOS are not keen on you adding to your original complaint once it's been submitted unless e.g. harassment has continued or the DCA have done something horrible in the meantime.

RMW

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Putting into practice what I've suggested, I thought it might be useful to post bits of my next complaint as examples.

 

First, details of my complaints. Obviously which bits of the OFT Guidance etc are relevant will depend upon individual circumstances, but note firstly how specific the complaints are and secondly that several of them are repeated under different headings, e.g. enforcement action whilst S77 request is outstanding. If it's worth saying once . . .

 

Appendix 1 – full details of my complaint

 

1. Breaches of the Office of Fair Trading Guidance on Debt Collection Practices

 

The following sections are taken from the Office of Fair Trading Guidance on debt collection practices (the OFT Guidance), all of which have been breached by DCA

From Section 1 – Introduction

 

DCA have failed to comply with the requirements of credit or other consumer legislation, see ‘Consumer Credit Act, 1974’ below.

 

DCA have engaged in business practices appearing to be deceitful, oppressive or otherwise unfair or improper (whether unlawful or not), see breaches of guidance detailed below.

 

From Section 2 – Unfair Business Practices

 

2.1 Communicating in an unclear, inaccurate or misleading manner, e.g.

 

leaving out or presenting information in such a way that it creates a false or misleading impression or exploits debtors' lack of knowledge

 

Under S77-79 of the CCA 1974, whilst a creditor is in default of a request they may not take enforcement action, i.e. they are not legally entitled to ask for payment. I therefore contend that DCA's notice dated XX/XX/08 is intended to mislead me into believing that

(a) they are entitled to take enforcement action through the Courts

(b) they are entitled to demand payment

It will be noted from copy correspondence provided that DCA has consistently refused to allow inspection of the original credit agreement by myself or my legal advisor. I can only therefore assume that they are no longer in possession of the original agreement, without which they are unable to take enforcement action through the courts, and therefore threats of court action can only be intended to frighten an average consumer into paying when they are under no legal obligation to do so.

 

failing to provide debtors or creditors with information on status of debts, for example, not providing requested balance statements when reasonably requested

 

A full and accurate statement of account, requested on XX/XX 2007, remains outstanding.

 

ignoring or disregarding debtors' legitimate wishes in respect of when and where to contact them, for example, shift workers who ask not to be telephoned during certain times of the day

 

Under reference XXXXXX, the Ombudsman has previously ruled that, because of my disability, continual requests to telephone whilst ignoring written communications is unfair. I therefore contend that DCA’s letter of XXXX, 2008 and the letter from 2nd DCA, acting as agent for DCA, received XXXX 2008 are unfair because in both cases the response demanded is a telephone call.

 

asking or instructing debtors to make contact on premium rate telephone numbers

 

I am not absolutely sure if an 0870 telephone number qualifies as a premium rate number, however it is certainly considerably more expensive (double from a BT line) than a geographic number, and makes a profit for the recipient of the call. The letter from DCA dated XXXX 2008 is demanding a call to an 0870 number.

 

not ensuring that an adequate history of the debt is passed on as appropriate resulting in repetitive and/or frequent contact by different parties

 

When the file was passed to 2nd DCA, they were given an incorrect name, incorrect balance, no information as to the history of the account, and were not told that the account was in dispute. DCA have been aware of my change of name for nearly a year, and I find their continued use of my previous name both offensive and provocative. Under reference XXXX, the Ombudsman has previously found this to be unfair. Additionally, 2nd DCA were clearly not informed of the necessity for all communication to be in writing,

 

not informing the debtor when their case has been passed on to a different debt collector

 

I was not told at any point by DCA that my account was being passed to a different agency.

 

ignoring and/or disregarding claims that debts have been settled or are disputed and continuing to make unjustified demands for payment

 

DCA were informed on XXXX (letter received and signed for on XXXX), with evidence, that this account was in dispute. Their only response was to pass the account to another agency.

 

not passing on payments received within a reasonable time resulting in delays that adversely affect a debtor's financial position.

 

According to OC, no payments made to DCA between XX and XX of 200X have been passed on to them. These payments were made strictly in accordance with instructions issued by OC in a letter dated XX XX, 2006.

 

failing to investigate and/or provide details as appropriate, when a debt is queried or disputed, possibly resulting in debtors being wrongly pursued

 

See above two paragraphs

 

not ceasing collection activity whilst investigating a reasonably queried or disputed debt.

 

As stated above, the only response DCA have made to my letter of XX XX pointing out that the account was in dispute has been to pass the account on to another agency.

 

2. Breaches of the Consumer Credit Act, 1974, s77

 

Following a request, accompanied by the required fee, made under the above sections DCA have

a) Failed to supply a legible copy of the executed agreement or alternatively allow inspection of the original

b) Failed to supply a copy of any other document referred to in it

c) Failed to supply an accurate statement of account

The request was made on XX XX, 200X, the letter being signed for at their offices by XXXX on XX XX. In accordance with the prescribed time limits the above mentioned documents should have been received 12 working days after this date, i.e. by XX XX, and an offence was committed on XX XX.

Further, the Act also states, in s77 (4) (a) that where a creditor has failed to comply with a request, he is not entitled, while the default continues, to enforce the agreement. I would therefore contend that all correspondence received from DCA and 2nd DCA since the request was made is in breach of this section of the Act.

 

3. Breaches of the Data Protection Act 1998

 

Despite the dispute, DCA have continued to record inaccurate data with the credit reference agencies and have also passed inaccurate data to a third party, 2nd DCA. This is in breach of Principle 4 of Schedule 1 of the Act

‘personal data shall be accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date’

 

4. Breaches of the Disability Discrimination Acts 1995 and 2005

 

Failing to make ‘a reasonable adjustment’ in relation to the provision of a service.

 

I have a disability as defined in the Disability Discrimination Acts, which DCA are, or should be, fully aware of. The Acts require businesses to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ when providing services, and I contend that DCA's failure to make the entirely reasonable adjustment of accepting that all communication with me must be in writing is in breach of the Acts.

 

5. Breaches of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997

 

Pursuing a course of conduct which amounts to harassment and which the company ought to know amounts to harassment, including causing alarm or distress.

 

Under the above quoted reference number, the actions of DCA have previously been held to amount to harassment causing distress. The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 defines the offence of harassment as:-

‘A person must not pursue a course of conduct –

(a) which amounts to harassment of another, and

(b) which he knows or ought to know amounts to harassment of the other.

The Act goes on to give the following interpretations:-

‘References to harassing a person include alarming the person or causing the person distress.

A “course of conduct” must involve conduct on at least two occasions.’

 

In view of the previously upheld complaint, I contend that DCA knew or ought to have known that their conduct amounted to harassment as defined in the Act, and that it was likely to cause distress. My health is such that even a small amount of stress has an extremely negative effect, and indeed the previous harassment by this firm resulted in hospitalization, which they should also be aware of.

 

6. Breaches of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008

 

As defined in Regulation 2 of the Regulations, I am an average consumer and DCA are a trader. In accordance with Regulations 3 (3) and (4), DCA has engaged in unfair commercial practices in that

(a) they have contravened the requirements of professional diligence; and

(b) they have materially distorted the economic behaviour of the average consumer with regard to the product.

Additionally,

© they have engaged in misleading actions under the provisions of regulation 5;

(d) they have engaged in misleading omissions under the provisions of regulation 6;

(e) they have engaged in aggressive practices under the provisions of regulation 7; and

(f) they have engaged in practices listed in Schedule 1 to the regulations.

 

Specifically, the behaviour of which I wish to claim is that DCA have :-

 

Contravened the requirements of professional diligence

 

The letter dated XXX from DCA states that the sum of XXX is owed by me to them, and is due immediately. They further state that if payment is not made in full within 7 days from the date of their letter, they intend taking legal action against me. This cannot be considered to demonstrate either honest market practice or the general principle of good faith as they are entirely aware that the account is in dispute, that no agreement or any other document has been supplied despite the receipt of a valid request under S77 of the Consumer Credit Act, 1974, and that therefore enforcement through the court or otherwise is not possible.

 

Materially distorted the economic behaviour of the average consumer

 

It is my assertion that the correspondence from DCA is likely to appreciably impair the ability of an average customer to make an informed decision as to whether or not payment is due, particularly in relation to the threat of court action. I would allege that an average consumer would be sufficiently distressed by such a threat that they would be likely to make an immediate payment.

 

Engaged in misleading actions

 

A commercial practice satisfies the conditions of Regulation 5 in accordance with paragraph (2) of that regulation :-

 

(a) if it contains false information and is therefore untruthful in relation to any of the matters in paragraph (4) of that regulation, or if it or its overall presentation in any way deceives or is likely to deceive the average consumer in relation to any of the matters in that paragraph, even if the information is factually correct; and

(b) it causes or is likely to cause the average consumer to take a transactional decision he would not have taken otherwise.

 

In connection with the matters in paragraph (4) of the regulation, I would allege that the correspondence from DCA is misleading as to

(d) the motives for the commercial practice; and

(k) the consumer's rights or the risks he may face

as the stated motive of ‘assisting you in reaching a solution to this problem’ would clearly be better served by a full and reasonable response to my correspondence, and, as previously indicated, the threat of court action when this is not legally possible is clearly misleading as to the risks I might face.

 

In accordance with paragraph (3) of Regulation 5, a commercial practice is also misleading if :-

 

(b) it concerns any failure by a trader to comply with a commitment contained in a code of conduct which the trader has undertaken to comply with

 

It is a condition of Consumer Credit Licenses that holders comply with the OFT guidance. I would refer you to item 1 above for details of the breaches of this guidance by DCA.

 

Engaged in misleading omissions

 

Regulation 6 provides that a commercial practice is a misleading omission if omits or hides material information, defined as information which the average consumer needs to make an informed transactional decision. Clearly, omitting or deliberately hiding the material information that enforcement through the courts is not a legal option is misleading, and likely to persuade an average consumer that payment should be made to DCA when it need not be.

 

Engaged in aggressive practices

 

Regulation 7 defines aggressive practices as those which impair the average consumer’s freedom of choice or conduct through the use of harassment, coercion or undue influence. Paragraph 2 of the Regulation makes specific reference to persistence, exploitation of misfortune and threats to take action which cannot be legally taken. I believe I have already provided more than sufficient evidence to show that DCA have persistently harassed me and attempted to coerce me into making payments either to which they are not entitled or which they know, from the information repeatedly supplied regarding my circumstances, to be beyond my means. Further, they have made clear threats of action which they may not legally take. It is my allegation that in addition to all other complaints, they have sought to take advantage of my state of health in the belief that I would pay the amounts requested rather than submit to further harassment.

 

Engaged in practices listed in Schedule 1 to the Regulations

 

Specifically, DCA have engaged in the following practices :-

 

12. Making a materially inaccurate claim concerning the nature and extent of the risk to the personal security of the consumer or his family if the consumer does not purchase the product.

The repeated warnings issued by DCA regarding the security of my home and belongings, the contents of my credit reference file, and the consequences of having a County Court Judgement registered against me are clearly materially inaccurate.

 

25. Conducting personal visits to the consumer's home ignoring the consumer's request to leave or not to return

Though they have not yet actually called at my home, DCA have made repeated threats to do so despite being aware that I am ‘vulnerable’ and despite repeated requests that they do not call.

 

26. Making persistent and unwanted solicitations by telephone, fax, e-mail or other remote media

I have already supplied evidence that the extent of the telephone calls received from DCA led to me having to change my telephone number. Additionally, I can see no reasonable necessity for such a company to send an average of two letters per week, particularly as these letters bear no relation whatsoever to the matters in dispute and make no attempt whatsoever to respond to my correspondence.

 

 

7. General Administrative Failures

 

I also wish to complain about the general administrative failures of DCA. Again under the above quoted reference number, the Ombudsman has previously upheld as unfair a complaint that the firm send time sensitive correspondence via second class post, thus giving no opportunity for any response within the given time limit other than an urgent telephone call. Please see the firm’s letters dated XX XX(received XX XX, time limit given Same Day) and XX XX (received XX XX, time limit given Next Day). Clearly the previously upheld complaint has had no effect whatsoever in moderating this behaviour, and, given that even second class post normally arrives within two to three days, I can only consider that their actions are in fact deliberately designed to elicit the aforementioned urgent telephone call.

 

Additionally DCA have failed to adhere to any reasonable complaints procedure, though I am not aware of their own specific procedure having never received a copy. However, the general rule is that complaints should be acknowledged within 5 working days, and either resolved within 8 weeks or the complainant should be advised of a delay and the reason for same. My complaint dated XX XX and signed for on XX XX has received no response from DCA at all.

 

Finally, I strongly object to having to pay additional postage costs of 70p every time I find it necessary to contact DCA, having learnt from experience that unless correspondence is sent ‘Recorded – Signed For’, the firm will deny receiving it.

 

Edited by reallymadwoman

RMW

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And in the box on page 2 of the complaint form:-

 

1. Breaches of the OFT Guidance on Debt Collection

2. Breaches of the Consumer Credit Act, 1974

3. Breaches of the Data Protection Act, 1998

4. Breaches of the Disability Discrimination Acts, 1995 and 2005

5. Breaches of the Protection from Harassment Act, 1997

6. Breaches of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008

7. General Administrative failures

 

Please see Appendix 1 attached for full details.

Edited by reallymadwoman
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RMW

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Excellent work RMW...the FOS are investigating a claim for me at the moment, I have the case number and am awaiting but this work is really good...well done...

PLEASE NOTE - I am not a legal expert, what is stated is my own opinion and from what I have learnt from this forum and my own experiences.

 

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Thanks for the clicks on my scales. Anyone know how many points I need to get a second green blob? I really, really, really need another green blob, just don't ask what possible use it could be, it's like yet another pair of shoes, I just have to have them!

 

On with the serious stuff. What I want the business to do to put things right:-

 

Appendix 2 – What I want the business to do to put things right

 

1. Reimburse my costs in dealing with this matter:-

a/ X letters received, 5 minutes per letter @ £10 per hour £X.00

b/ X letters sent, stationary, postage, preparation time 1 hour

per letter @ £10 per hour £XX.X0

c/ submitting complaint to the FOS, stationary, postage,

preparation time X hours @ £10 per hour £XX.X0

 

 

2. Pay compensation for

a/ the distress caused by the use of unfair business practices £X00.00

b/ damages for breaches of the Data Protection Act £X00.00

c/ damages for breaches of the Disability Discrimination Acts £XX0.00

d/ damages for harassment £XX0.00

 

3. A written apology in respect of each and every complaint.

 

4. A written undertaking that, within 28 days of the issue of a Final Decision or earlier resolution of the complaint, DCA will either:-

 

a/ Accept the offer contained in my letter of XX XX 2007 to OC, and abide by the conditions attached thereto, or

b/ Resolve the dispute by allowing inspection of the original agreement at a branch local to my address, or

c/ Issue legal proceedings in the County Court. DCA should be aware that any such proceedings will be vigorously defended.

 

5. A written undertaking that, once the chosen action in 4 above is concluded, neither DCA nor the OC nor their agents will attempt to contact me ever again regarding this account.

Costs and compensation as awarded by the FOS to be paid by cheque direct to the complainant and not used as credit against this or any other account, alleged or otherwise, which is or may be held with OC, DCA or any other company or firm withing the XXXX Group.

 

So far as I am concerned, the important bits are numbers 4 and 5. This ridiculous situation has now been ongoing for 4 years, and I want a definite end to it. I have asked for specific amounts for compensation, based on what the FOS awarded last time, but it would be perfectly OK to not give an amount.

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Incidentally, what I'm asking for in costs and compensation plus the FOS fee for investigating is about 6 times the amount they say is outstanding on the account, and nearly 8 times the amount actually outstanding.

 

I offered them 20% full and final 7 months ago. I think they should have accepted.

 

Sweet, sweet justice.

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Thanks for the clicks on my scales. Anyone know how many points I need to get a second green blob? I really, really, really need another green blob, just don't ask what possible use it could be, it's like yet another pair of shoes, I just have to have them!
You get a second green blob when you get to 100 points. The dark green ones are then worth 100 each an dthe light green ones 200. Here, have some more from me - you deserve it :)
I offered them 20% full and final 7 months ago. I think they should have accepted.
I think they should have. The way things are going, they are going to get hammered.

Steven

 

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I've done my first draft of 'other details to help us understand your complaint', and it runs to 5 pages! Obviously most of it is very personal, however the general gist is:-

 

Background from when I first became ill, initial problems with DCA, first complaint to FOS.

 

Escalation of harassment and events leading up to 2nd FOS complaint.

 

Events whilst complaint ongoing, leading to CCA request and non-compliance.

 

Correspondence with OC regarding legibility of agreement supplied and inaccurate statement of account leading to 'put up or shut up' letter.

 

Issue of final decision on second FOS complaint. Immediate resumption of harassment and events since.

 

Effect of harassment on my health and life.

 

Current situation and need for there to be some final solution to this problem.

 

A lot of the information is very factual as you might guess, but there's also quite a lot of 'subjective' stuff in there - like how the sheer frustration of trying to get a reply out of DCA sent me searching on the web where I found ......drum roll please .....CAG! Oh, and there's plenty of well-chosen adjectives to describe the frustration etc. too. Maybe the next job will be drawing up word lists for describing frustration, embarrassment, misery, humiliation, bullied .... I could go on forever.

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Might be, but no one is giving a name when they click, so I don't know for sure. Thanks anyway. I have two green blobs now so I'll be happy for at least a week!

RMW

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Was it my tick that done it!!?

 

 

Jeff.

Must have been because mine didn't :)

Steven

 

Using CAG Toolbar will generate much needed income - Download Here

 

Confused by Simple Interest? Confounded by Compound Interest? Read my Interest Tutorial

My Wins

 GE Money Won unconditionally May 2007

NatWest Won unconditionally August 2007

Brighthouse Won unconditionally August 2007

Goldfish Won unconditionally April 2008 (including CI on the basis of Sempra)

Clydesdale Financial Services (now BPF) Won unconditionally February 2008

 

Any opinions are without prejudice & without liability. Do not take any legal action on my advice alone. Almost everything I know concerning the law I learned from this site.

 

Please note, I will not give advice by PM. Please send a link to your thread and I will do my best to answer there.

 

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