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Barclays Complaint-Please Help


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This is the bacground to my complaint against Barclays Bank. I would be grateful for any advice.

 

July 2007-Letter from Woolwich informing that our mortgage will be transferred to Barclays and of changes to our 2 current accounts one of them being an overdraft facility.

 

August 2007- We wrote to Barclays asking us to clarify some aspects of their letter which were not clear. No response.

 

October 2007- We wrote to Barclays again requesting information with regards to our accounts as there was a shortfall to pay towards our mortgage whilst we were with the Woolwich. They said they will look into it and will reply within 8 weeks. When they did not reply within 8 weeks we began to have concerns because they were charging penalties and interest for non-payment. They were also taking the shortfall from the overdraft facility thus increasing the overdraft on a monthly basis.

 

When the 8 weeks were over with no reply from Barclays, we received a letter from them saying we could complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service(FOS) as it would take some time before they could reply to us. This we did in December 2007.

 

January 2008- Barclays wrote explaining the situation of the 2 accounts and the mortgage account. In order to cover the arrears they said we could go to any Barclays Branch and make the payments. When we went to our local branch with the letter sent to us by Barclay, staff there said they could not take the payment because there was nothing on their system that said these accounts existed. This happened at least 3 times and every time we wrote to them they said staff should have been able to locate our accounts. On one occasion even though we had evidence that we had gone to see the mortgage advisor of our local bank, Barclays said no one had any record that we had been. Finally in February 2009 staff at our local branch confirmed that they could access our accounts. In the meantime, Barclays continued to run the accounts as they would have done normally without taking into account the dispute and the delay it had taken to resolve the situation.

 

 

During January 2008 and February 2009, we visited The Citizens Advice Bureau, wrote to the Office of Fair Trading, the FAS and the Community Legal Services. They all said they could not advice us until we received a reply from the Financial Ombudsman Service which we finally did on 15 May 2009 this after nearly 18 months. Even though they had originally upheld our complaint, they are now saying that Barclays explained the situation of our accounts in January 2008 and that we should have paid the money owed at that time. They have not taken into account the time it has taken them to resolve this matter (6 months) and 18 months FOS has taken in order to investigate and reply. There were 3 adjudicators assigned to us during this period none of whom could understand the situation nor would they acknowledge that the arrears escalated due to this delay.

 

We now owe Barclays around £10.000 which the FOS think is fair.

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The FOS are a complete waste of time.

 

Don’t let their ruling put you of, I have, like you, been assigned two adjudicators, the first one upheld my complaint in full, then moved on, the replacement adjudicator rejected the complaint in full. It is a lottery with the FOS. It is still ongoing with the Ombudsman 2 years now. I am going down the legal route. Barclays encouraged you to go to the FOS,in the full knowledge that the complaint you made would never be upheld.

 

Take legal advice, and go to court.

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Should Barclays and the FOS have frozen our account (charges/interest) whilst they were trying to resolve the matter which has taken 2 yrs?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for your message Suetonius

 

When our mortage account and the current account migrated from Woolwich to Barclays In July 2007, the latter informed us about changes in the current acount but not the mortgage account. As there was a shortfall after the migration we went to our local Barclays branch in order to pay this shortfall. Even though we have a standing order, sometimes this is not enough when the interest rates fluctuate hence the shortfall. Staff said we couldn't because they could not find this account on their system.

We wrote to Barclays head office in August 2007 about this and they said they would look into it. Following a letter dated 31 January 2008 which we received in February 2008, we followed their instructions and made several attempts to pay at a Barcalys branch but could not. Staff would say the same thing that the mortgage account number did not exist on their system. We even went to see the Mortgage Advisor of our local branch who said the same thing.

 

On 14 January 2008 we referred the matter to the Financial Ombudsman Service(FOS) as we cannot afford solicitors also because we did not get an answer within 8 weeks. Barcalys was continuing to charge interset and penalties for non-payment with threats of re-possession. By that time the amount owed doubled. Unfortunately, it took 16 months for the FOS to assess the dispute. We were assigned 3 adjudicators who did not want to consider the issue of the delay in their assessment and said we were at fault as we had not paid the shortfall.

 

Subsequently, we did pay the original shortfall of about £1000 by post but continued to dispute the amount which escalated due to the delay of both Barclays and FOS in dealing with the matter.

 

On 24 February 2009 Iwe went to see the manager of our local branch. She explained that prior to January 2009 Barclays did not have a system whereby they could access the Woolwich accounts but she said they now had that facility to do it. She also said we were not the only ones to have had similar problems. We have since paid another shortfall but we are still disputing the arrears which by now it has gone up to about £10.000.

 

The last adjudiator said he wrote to Barclays upholding our complaint but in a letter which we received in April 2009 he is saying that according to hid assessment Barclays have clarified the situation of both accounts and that we are at fault for not paying the arrears. There is no mention of the time scale.

 

Ohan.

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Woolwich accounts (outside the intial test) were transferred in three allocations to Barclays.

 

All current accounts (including openplan accounts) were transferred from the Woolwich IT systems to Barclays IT systems. Each account was allocated a new account number and a Barclays sort code.

 

However, mortgage accounts were not transferred. There remained on the Woolwich IT systems and were not given new account numbers.

 

In theory the transfer from Woolwich to Barclays had no effect on mortgage accounts and it was business as usual.

 

Sadly and I am not sure why the powers that be, never forsaw the problem, with the accounts remaining on Woolwich IT systems there were no way for Barclays branches to view mortgage accounts.

 

The average Barclays branch staff member was not trainned to deal with mortgages and had no access to mortgage accounts. As I understand it, they could not even make payments directly to mortgage accounts.

 

However, this is no excuse for what has happened. All the branch staff would have had to do was look on their internal intranet and obtain the number for their mortgage processing department (formerly called Global Home Loans). By ringing this number they could have obtained all the information required about your account.

 

I am still a little confused as to how the transfer of your current account to Barclays resulted in a shortfall though, as you would have still received your monthly statement as before.

 

Did you have an Offset mortgage, as there were a number of cases of the links between current accounts and mortgage accounts (debit and credit interest being applied) that were broken.

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Dear S

Sorry I can't remember how you spell your 'name'

Many thanks for your reply. You seem to know so much about the system.

When our account transferred from the Woolwich to Barclaysin July 2007 there was a shortfall of £1140. There was a standing order but with the fluctuating interests there would sometimes be a shortfall. Woolwich would normally write and we would pay the shortfall immediately.

When we received the letter from Barclays in July 2007 we went to our local branch in order to pay this amount but when we received the statements we noticed that the payment had gone into the current account and not the mortgage. So we wrote to them in August 2007 for clarification. When we did not hear from them after 8 weeks we wrote to the Ombudsman . It took the latter 16 months to reply. In the meantime, Barclays kept giving us more instructions on what we have to do but every time we went to any Barclays branch they said they could not take the payments.

Finally, in January 2009 and after several attempts at trying to pay the initial shortfall, the manager of our local branch acknowledged that they did not have a system prior to that whereby they could accept payments. She therefore, went through a process of registration and things seem to be OK now. However, even though the CItizens ADvice Bureau told us to request that they freeze the account due to the dispute, the account kept ticking and the £1140 has not become £10.000 which represents more shortfalls, interests, penalties etc....We were threatened with re-possession and immedate payment within 7 days.The payments by standing order did not stop at any time which means that there was a fixed amount going into the mortgage every month.

The final assessment of the adjudicator at the Financial Ombudsman is that Barclays have explained to us the situation of our accounts and that we should have found any means in order to pay the shortfall. In OCtober 2008 we posted a payment of £1140 but we said the rest is to be disputed.

Both Barclays and the Ombudsman want us to pay the full amount regardless of the time it has taken them to resolve the matter. They are not bothered by the delay.

My view is that if both Barclays and the Ombudsman had dealt with the matter in a timely way, we would not have been in this situation. I have made an appointment to go back to the Citizens Advice Bureau and I am rejecting the £200 compensation that Barclays are offering.

What is the legal view? Are they right in asking us to pay in full?

MAny thanks

Ohan

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You could try sending an email to John Varley and ask him to review your complaint.

 

Don't go to indepth, just explain what happened (i.e the migration of your account from Woolwich to Barclays), make sure you emphasis that you did go to your branch.

 

It is best to refer to your branch by name and if you have it quote the name of the person you spoke to.

 

The clearly state what you want to resolve your complaint. You can say something like, you want to be put back in the same financial position you would have been in had your current account not been transferred to barclays or something to that effect.

 

Ask him to review your complaint personally (he won't but it will have the desired effect)

 

[email protected]

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WE did write to Varley and one of the adjudicators did ask for our account to go back to what it was at the time of migration but no response was received from either with regards to the request.

Ohan

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To get their attention, what you could do is go onto the Barclays website and make a note of the names of all of the directors.

 

Bearing in mind that their email address format is [email protected] send one email to all of them.

 

Now, one email can be ignored. I would send the same one ten times, one after the other and make sure if you use outlook etc, you add a email receipt.

 

Be a pain and they will respond, if nothing else, just to get rid of you

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Many thanks Suetonius but I need a quick resolution as my debt is escalating. It is now 2 years and my file is now about 2000 pages and don't wish to add more. Furthermore, my property is under threat of re-possession.

I need an answer for: why should I pay this vast sum of money when it has taken 6 months for Barclays to reply and 16 months for the Ombudsman to make an assessment?

Ohan

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Can anyone tell me if my account should have been frozen whilst I was in dispute with Barclays.

Also the Financial Ombudsman Service thinks that it was all right to make us wait 16 months before they could properly assess the dispute. They are also saying that if the debt escalated it is because it was our fault for not finding any means to pay the shortfall. They will not akcnowledge that our attempts to pay were rejected because Barclays could not access the Woolwich accounts until January 2009.

Ohan

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I hate to be the one to say it, but Barclays would not have been contractually obligated to freeze the interest applied to your account. In this type of instance like most other banks they don't.

 

They will just say something unhelpful like, you received your monthly statement, you should have increased your standing order.

 

The FOS also do not have the power to freeze the interest applied to your account whilst it is investigating, they can only request it. However, this could form part of any decision on the outcome of your complaint.

 

The response you have had so far, is it from an Adjudicator or an Ombudsman. If it is from an Adjudicator, ask for it to be reviewed by an Ombudsman. You don't have anything to lose.

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The reply was from an adjudicator. I thought of asking an Ombudsman but didn't think that the latter would go against the assessment of an adjudicator. As this has taken 2 years I fear the Ombudsman will uphold the adjudicator's decision just to get rid of me.

 

DO I have to be liable for the penalties and interest and for the time it has taken Barclays to reply and for the Ombudsman to assess? One adjudicator asked Barclays back in Novemeber 2008 to take back our account to what it was at the time of the migration but Barclays did not reply.

Thanks

Ohan

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