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Attempting to recoup charges - advice on next course of action

Uncle Peter
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Hi all


I submitted paperwork to Nationwide last year asking them to refund me the bank charges which had accrued on my accounts, and on the grounds of the unfair nature of the charges concerned in terms of cost.


As with everyone else in the same boat, my claim was put on hold whilst the OFT case went ahead and I subsequently received a rejection letter from Nationwide outlining the claim had been rejected.


Having read this letter, it appeared to me that Nationwide was rejecting all cases on the grounds of the one technical point that the OFT had brought against them, as in the fairness of the charges in terms of amount charged per 'offence'.


With this in mind, I have since written to the bank to explain that a lot of the charges accrued in the past were down largely to me being unable to deal with my finances at times due to ill health, and that I therefore wanted them to reconsider my case on the strength of this.


Unfortunately I used the word 'hardship' in the letter concerned, and I have now had the standard 'give us the details of your financial status' form back from them for them to consider the matter on the grounds of hardship.


The bank has not acknowledged any of the rest of my letter.


I feel the bank has failed to take my complaint seriously enough - I believe that regardless of the hardship I have encountered in part due to their over zealous application of penalty charges in the past, there is an issue of fairness they that I want them to both acknowledge and deal with accordingly.


That, or they are keen to fight the claim on their terms and not mine.


The last letter sent stated I reserved the right to launch an action against the bank in the County Court within 14 days should they not refund my money.


My questions are:


Am I within my rights to dismiss the financial statement form and insist that the bank deal with the matter purely on the grounds of fairness with regards to the circumstances (health issues etc), which led to the accounts concerned being run in such a way as to end up being liable for the charges concerned.


Aside from anything else, whilst I am not well off at present, I do not believe a decision of this nature should be determined on how good / bad my finances currently are, as it doesn't reflect the stress and hardship I experienced in the past at the time the charges were actually applied to my accounts.


Given I issued the bank with a letter stating I would instigate an action against them in the courts, am I with my rights to commence this as soon as the 14 day deadline I gave has passed?


I guess I feel the bank may take more notice if I insist a judge is to determine who is in the right.


I am aware I could go through the Banking Ombudsman, but note the process can take up to two months and I feel that Nationwide have had more than enough time to do the honourable thing already.



Edited by Uncle Peter
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Any advice would be gratefully received - I need to respond to the bank asap and want to make sure I keep control of the situation from a position of relative knowledge rather than one akin to 'stabbing blindly into the dark and hoping'.



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You mention that you alerted NW to your circumstances and situ ,and that they have asked for proof of hardship.

They are entitled to ask this,and after all it is in line with what you told them.

Of course you DO have rights now to abandon the hardship element,although if it IS the case that you have recourse by that route then why abandon ?

What date was your last contact with the bank ?

Is the account still open ?

You say that you gave 14 days in a letter before action - when was this ?

We need some more info in order to advise more -could you give some indication as to what dates the charges cover/how many/whether the account had loans or overdraft and anything else you feel needs to be taken into account.

Have a happy and prosperous 2013 by avoiiding Payday loans. If you are sent a private message directing you for advice or support with your issues to another website,this is your choice.Before you decide,consider the users here who have already offered help and support.

Advice offered by Martin3030 is not supported by any legal training or qualification.Members are advised to use the services of fully insured legal professionals when needed.



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Regardless of the fact I have a valid claim to hardship at the present time, it doesn't reflect the hardship I endured at the time some of the charges were applied to the accounts concerned, nor the stress I endured in relation to the way NW refused to listen to me at times when I was not well enough to deal with my finances.


Given the standardised reply I received from the bank in reply to my last letter, as in one whereby they've only acknowledged the hardship element of the case, I am concerned that NW will aim to wriggle out of the claim purely on the basis of hardship, and continue to dismiss what I feel are the more compelling aspects of the case, as in my circumstances at the time in terms of health etc, and the banks attitude towards that and the actions they then took in relation to my accounts.


With this in mind, I'm not looking to abandon the hardship element of the case, I'm more looking to ensure the other elements of it are not overlooked and would like to know if the other elements are something I can push for them to focus on... and I can confirm I'll happily push the hardship element as well should it prove necessary to do so.


In answer to some of your questions:


Yes, both accounts are still open and active.


I stated I reserved the right to launch an action in the county court after 14 days without further notice if they failed to comply with my request for a refund of charges, about 14 days ago - note, I used the term 'reserve the right' rather than stating this would definitely be happening.


My last contact with the bank was by letter... 14 days ago or thereabouts, and I received their reply about 7 days ago.


In relation to the charges, they relate to the period March 2003 to March 2009, which is when I first wrote to the bank and asked them to refund them.


The reason I am still pursuing the charges for this set period is because the bank have effectively not closed the case at any point, meaning that we're still effectively bickering in relation to my original request for a refund of charges.


The charges all relate to bounced direct debit charges which in turn then led to me ending up in an unauthorised overdraft with more charges incurred by way of this - in other words, the bank has not be deprived of any funds, every penny that built up and which I'm asking for, was generated by way of charges they applied to the account.


Many thanks for any light you can shed. :)

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