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Draft HSBC Prelim Letter (Reg 5): Please review - it's to claim for informal overdraft charges


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Dear all,

Could you spend 2-minutes to comment on this letter?

 

My wife and I have been charged £220 by HSBC on our personal account in the last 6-months for "Informal Overdraft Fees."

Is there anything else I need to add before sending it off?

Cheers,

Adrian (not my real name).

 

To [email protected]

26 July 2010

Dear service management quality team,

HSBC has charged me £220 in “informal overdraft arrangement fees” during the 6-month period 14th February 2010 to 5th August 2010.

Period 15 June to 14 July 2010 100.00

Period 14 May to 15 June 2010 25.00

Period 15 April to 14 May 2010 45.00

15 March to 14 April 2010 25.00

15 February to 14 March 2010 25.00

At 7:02pm. during a call on 26 July 2010 to the Direct Financial Service Team (0800 023 2430), , Mars, your customer service agent said:

“You are getting charged a penalty for going over your overdraft facility.”

Allowing my account to go over the overdraft limit and then charging me £25 for each transaction is in breach of Regulation five of the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations.

As your customer service agent admitted, these are “penalty charges.” Your unfair and unreasonable bank charges are disingenuously disguised as an "informal overdraft arrangement fee."

Please repay the £220 in full within 14 days. If this is not done, I will begin a claim against HSBC for the full amount, plus interest and my costs.

Regards,

Adrain Woodhead

(again not my real name)

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Hello and Welcome,

 

This link may help...............

 

The Consumer Forums - The Bank Charges decision - where to now.

 

Regards.

 

Scott.

 
 

Any advice I give is honest and in good faith.:)

If in doubt, you should seek the opinion of a Qualified Professional.

If you can, please donate to this site.

Help keep it up and active, helping people like you.

If you no longer require help, please do what you can to help others

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Hi thanks Scott,

 

I've just read this on HSBC's website:

 

On the 25 November 2009 the Supreme Court ruled that the level of the bank's current unarranged overdraft fees are not assessable for fairness under the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations ("UTCCR").

 

The ruling means that those customers who have complained that the charges are unfair or penalties at common law will not be receiving a refund of charges.

 

Is it even worth trying?

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Based on the excellent link provided by Scott, I've amended my letter:

 

So I'm not claiming the charges are unfair (this won't work). What I'm trying to do is show that the bank's actions are unfair.. not the charges per se...

 

 

Dear service management quality team,

HSBC has charged me £220 in “informal overdraft arrangement fees” during the 6-month period 14th February 2010 to 5th August 2010.

I am unable to 'opt out' of this "informal overdraft" arrangement. At no point has HSBC ever offered to make “informal overdraft arrangements” subject to effective customer control.

This contract term is imposed unfairly and looking at the quality of the supplier/consumer relationship I feel HSBC is in breach of Regulation five of the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations.

Please repay the £220 in full within 14 days. If this is not done, I will begin a claim against HSBC for the full amount, plus interest and my costs.

Regards,

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Hi Adam, welcome to the forum ...

 

This is good thinking , but I'll bet you that they will deny that their customer services guy said anything of the sort ...... and they'll not have a transcript of that conversation ..... :rolleyes:

 

If all you've been charged up to now is £220 , have you thought about going into your branch and asking the manager face to face to refund these charges.... managers have authority to do this(once) as a 'goodwill' gesture and if you tell them you know this it kind of puts them on the spot ...

 

If s/he refuses , consider moving your basic account elsewhere and tell the manager of your intention ......

 

You could also ask for their name ... for your complaint to the CEO for unsatisfactory Customer Service :rolleyes::

 

Paul Thurston, Chief Executive HSBClink3.gif :-

 

[email protected] om

 

It might not work ... but it's fun to tweak their tails ... and it has been known to work a few times before ......

 

Let's know how your letter goes with them too please Adam . It'll help others along the way :)

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Nemo me impune lacessit

 

 

Advice & opinions given by johnnymitch 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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Good advice Johnny.

 

I've tried to escalate through the phone system but only received a £25 credit.

 

I agree that face to face is best - but we had a credit in November 2009 of £50 - so it's not the first time.

 

I'll try the revised letter and see what response I get.

 

My Mortgage is also with HSBC so I can use that as additional leverage to get the "penalty charges" written off.

 

I'll update my post with any progress,

 

Cheers,

 

Adrian

Edited by Adrian_Woodhead
spelling mistake
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My Mortgage is also with HSBClink3.gif so I can use that as additional leverage to get the "penalty charges" written off.

 

That is a great lever Adrian , my daughter used this the other week with her branch and got most of her money back , ...plus a better credit card deal ....... so it certainly pays I think ..... :)

Nemo me impune lacessit

 

 

Advice & opinions given by johnnymitch 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.

 

 

If you think I've helped you please feel free to tickle my star :-D

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Here's the final version. I've thrown everything in that I can think of....

 

I'll post HSBC's response!

 

Email subject title: £70,000 “informal overdraft” cost to HSBC

 

Dear service management quality team,

 

 

HSBC has charged me £220 in “informal overdraft arrangement fees” during a 6-month period from 14th February 2010 to 5th August 2010*.

 

HSBC's “overdraft arrangement fees", are simply penalty charges disguised with legalese. Even your customer service representatives agree:

Evidence? At 19:02 on 26 July, Mars** your customer service agent said:

“You are getting charged a penalty for going over your overdraft facility.”

 

In June 2009, November 2009 and December 2009 I explicitly stated that I do not want an “informal overdraft” facility on my account. On each occasion, HSBC refunded the penalty fees (£52, £50 and £50 respectively) but I was told that HSBC is “unable” to prevent the informal overdraft arrangement.

The “informal overdraft arrangement” contract term is imposed unfairly as I am unable to 'opt out' of this arrangement. Because HSBC has not offered to make “informal overdraft arrangements” subject to effective customer control, HSBC is in breach of Regulation Five of the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations.

 

Please repay the £220 in full within 14 days. If this is not done, I will begin a claim against HSBC for the full amount, plus interest and my costs.

 

Moreover, if the “penalty charges” are not repaid, I will close down my current account and move my HSBC Mortgage to another provider.

Losing me as a mortgage customer for the next 21-years will cost HSBC £65,000 to £70,000 in lost interest charges.

I await your response,

 

 

 

 

*Summary of penalty charges

Period 15 June to 14 July 2010 100.00

Period 14 May to 15 June 2010 25.00

Period 15 April to 14 May 2010 45.00

15 March to 14 April 2010 25.00

15 February to 14 March 2010 25.00

 

** Mars works in the Direct Financial Services team and was contacted on 26 July 2010 using 0800 023 2430. The call lasted 58.37 minutes from 18:15.

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by Adrian :I'll post HSBClink3.gif's response!

 

Oh , please do Adrian , I want to see how they're going to weasel out of this one ! That's a great e-mail ! :)

 

 

|Just an afterthought ..... why not copy it to :

 

Paul Thurston, Chief Executive HSBClink3.gif :-

 

[email protected] om

 

at least if they know he's aware of it , you're going to get a prompt, coherent reply

Nemo me impune lacessit

 

 

Advice & opinions given by johnnymitch 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.

 

 

If you think I've helped you please feel free to tickle my star :-D

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I'll let you know how I get on!

 

I added a little up-front positioning piece before sending quantifying the consequences of ****ing me off...

 

Dear service quality team,

 

My dissatisfaction with the "Informal overdraft charges" on my current account may cause me to close down my HSBC mortgage account. Losing me as a mortgage customer for the next 21-years will cost HSBC £65,000 to £70,000 in lost interest charges.

 

Allow me to explain. HSBC has charged me £220 in “informal overdraft arrangement fees” during a 6-month period from 14th February 2010 to 5th August 2010*.

 

In June 2009, November 2009 and December 2009 I explicitly stated that I do not want an “informal overdraft” facility on my account. On each occasion, HSBC refunded the charges (£52, £50 and £50 respectively) but I was told that HSBC is “unable” to prevent the informal overdraft arrangement.

 

HSBC’s customer service representatives confirm that the “overdraft arrangement fees", are simply penalty charges. Evidence? At 19:02 on 26 July, Mars** HSBC’s customer service agent said:

 

“You are getting charged a penalty for going over your overdraft facility.”

 

The “informal overdraft arrangement” contract term is imposed unfairly as I am unable to 'opt out' of this arrangement. I do not want an informal overdraft facility on my account. Because HSBC has not offered to make my “informal overdraft arrangements” subject to effective customer control, HSBC is in breach of Regulation Five of the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations.

 

Please repay the £220 in full within 14 days. If this is not done, I will begin a claim against HSBC for the full amount, plus interest and my costs.

 

Moreover, if the “penalty charges” are not repaid, as stated, I will close down my current account and move my HSBC Mortgage to another provider.

 

I await your response,

Edited by Adrian_Woodhead
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:D

Nemo me impune lacessit

 

 

Advice & opinions given by johnnymitch 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.

 

 

If you think I've helped you please feel free to tickle my star :-D

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"tweaking their tails"

 

Response within 10 minutes of sending email!

 

 

Thank you for your e-mail addressed to the Chief Executive, Paul Thurston, and am very sorry that you feel let down by HSBC, at the present time. I have passed your e-mail to a senior manager, within HSBC, who will investigate the matter and respond to you as soon as possible.

 

Kind regards

Lorna B.....

Executive Assistant to Paul Thurston

Chief Executive, HSBC Bank plc

 

lornabugeja (at) hsbc.com

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subbing with interest.

 

I have about £800 of charges alone thanks to their non opt out "informal overdraft" (despite me saying when I opened the account I never wanted an overdraft on it!)

When you've had all the help you need, make sure you stick around to help others too!

Just think, if everyone left the site after they'd got their help, there might not be anyone left the next time YOU come back needing more assistance!!!!!!!

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Subbing with interest...

 

I have just sent off a prelim request for a refund of all charges due to their informal overdraft policy.

 

Will let you know how I get on.................

"In this situation, you know what you have to do? Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming." Dory - Finding Nemo.:wink:

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On 29 July, I received a standard generic letter by post. Interestingly their ref was SVFAIL3/SFIFLT

 

I wonder what SVFAIL means…?

 

The HSBC letter started by listing the HSBC terms and conditions (I won't re-type this).

 

It continues…

 

I am unable to agree your request for a refund of fees at this time as they have been applied in accordance with your Current Account terms and Conditions. You have exceeded your agreed overdraft facility on several occasions by withdrawing funds and using your debit card when there have been no available funds.

I would like to assure you that the provision of a high quality service is a key priority for us and I regret any misunderstanding on this occasion.

I trust matters have now been resolved to your satisfaction. If not you can escalate your concerns by writing to the Senior Manager of our Service Quality Team at the following address:

The senior manager

Service Quality team

HSBC Bank plc

Arlington Business Centre

Millshaw Park Lane

Leeds

LS11 0PP

Or call us on 0800 88 11 55 or email us at [email protected]

I am obliged to inform you that complaints we cannot resolve can ultimately be referred to the Financial Ombudsman service. However if we do not hear from you within the next eight weeks, we will consider matters resolved.

Thank you for taking the time to bring your concerns to our attention. I am only sorry it was necessary for you to do so.

 

Yours sincerely,

HSBC Customer Relations

 

 

 

 

This letter did not address either of my two points. My response:

 

To the Senior Manager, Service Quality Team, HSBC Bank plc.

My dissatisfaction with the "Informal overdraft charges" on my current account may cause me to close down my HSBC mortgage account and begin a claim against HSBC for the full amount, plus interest and my costs.

The 'generic response' letter from Leigh Hoult, dated 29 July, did not address either of the two key points in my email on 28/7/2010 and I wish to formally escalate my concerns.

For brevity, I have listed the key points below.

1. On four separate occasions, I have explicitly requested that you (HSBC) remove the “informal overdraft” facility from my current account. As I am unable to 'opt out' of this arrangement, HSBC is in breach of Regulation Five of the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations because the “informal overdraft arrangement” contract term is imposed unfairly.

2. Moreover, if the “penalty charges” are not repaid, as stated, I will close down my current account and move my HSBC Mortgage to another provider. Losing me as a mortgage customer for the next 21-years will cost HSBC £65,000 to £70,000 in lost interest charges.

Please write off all charges within 14 days or I will begin a claim against HSBC for the full amount, plus interest and my costs.

Best Regards,

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Don't forget to thank Paul Thurston for his input and send him a copy of this one .... ;)

Nemo me impune lacessit

 

 

Advice & opinions given by johnnymitch 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.

 

 

If you think I've helped you please feel free to tickle my star :-D

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  • 2 weeks later...

Update...

 

I received a call from Nicola Martin in the "Complex Complaints" department on 5 August. (11:58). 0131 338 8180.

 

She said in the test case, the courts ruled that bank charges are not unfair.

 

I explained again that HSBC was missing my point. I'm not claiming the charges are unfair but the fact they won't remove the "informal overdraft facility" from my account is in breach of Regulation Five of the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulation.

 

Nicola went on to say, “This was also looked at in the court case. In the test case, every aspect of the overdraft was reviewed and each element was found in favour of the bank."

I again stated, "Please remove this facility from my account." She replied that it is not technically possible to do so. I said that’s not true, before the “Informal Overdraft” facility was introduced in 2007, if I tried to make cash withdrawal, the bank would not let me go over my overdraft limit.

Nicola followed up the call with a generic letter stating that charges are my responsibility etc.

So my next step.... I have 3 options.

1. Complain to the financial ombudsman

2. Start a claim in the county court (small claims)

3. Give up as it’s not going to work

My question to CAG members... Did the court ruling look at regulation 5 and the way informal overdrafts are imposed?

 

 

 

 

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Somewhere in the back of my mind it strikes me that the bank have covered themselves on this ........ they say they are responding to customer surveys which apparently said the customers wanted to be able to go over without having payments bounced ......... so they made it a blanket rule a couple of years ago ............

 

Maybe someone else can enlarge on this ............ :confused:

Nemo me impune lacessit

 

 

Advice & opinions given by johnnymitch 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.

 

 

If you think I've helped you please feel free to tickle my star :-D

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Hi Adrian,

Thanks for your most useful thread and in response to Johnnymitch's query. Last year when using HSBC ATMs I was being informed automatically how much cash I had available to draw on and what my balance was. I frequently observed that the amount available was considerably less than my balance and that I could not withdraw more than the arbitrary balance that HSBC showed as being available. What I failed to understand was how they calculated these amounts, why was I not allowed to withdraw up to balance avaiable, I might have been paying in at the same time? I am afraid that I am unable to accept HSBC's comment that they are unable to prevent limits being breached! Has anyone else experienced this type of control. HSBC are quite capable of returning cheques when it suits them?

 

Carningli

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Tweaking their Tails as Johnnymitch suggests :-)

 

Don't think I'll ever get a refund... But I can ensure they incur extremely high legal costs defending my claim in court...

 

Nicola Martin

Complex Complaints Department

Service Quality Team

HSBC

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Dear Nicola,

Please find below a summary of what we discussed during our telephone call at 11:51am. on 5 August 2010.

Unfair treatment

As a customer you are not treating me fairly. In June, November and December 2009 and May, July and August 2010 I have explicitly requested that you remove the “informal overdraft” facility from my current account.

During our call, I again requested that HSBC removes the "informal overdraft" facility from my account. You highlighted that it was "not technically possible."

Misunderstanding Consumer Contracts Regulations

I acknowledge that the Supreme Court ruled that bank charges are not unfair. As you know,the November 2009 judgement looked at the fairness of bank charges under Regulation Six of the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations. However, my claim relates Regulation Five of the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations and your treatment of me as a customer .

During our 40-minute conversation, I stated four times that because HSBC won't remove the "informal overdraft" facility from my account, HSBC is in breach of Regulation Five of the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations. Regulation Five is concerned with the fairness of any term of any consumer contract, which is imposed unfairly.

You refuted my assertion that this is a legitimate claim and at 11:53 you explicitly stated, “This was also looked at by the Court; every aspect of overdraft charges were reviewed and each element was found in favour of the bank." This is simply not true.

Unfair contract terms

I suffer from caffeine anaphylaxis and raised catecholamine levels. The symptoms are similar to bipolar ailment or schizophrenia. One side effect is impaired judgment and impulsiveness - a lack of inhibition. To help control the compulsive spending side effects of caffeine anaphylaxis, I need the "informal Overdraft" facility removing. HSBC is not giving due regard to my personal request and your unfair treatment is resulting in unmerited bank charges via informal overdraft charges.

I will make one final request before I escalate my claim to the County Court - Remove the "informal overdraft" facility from my current account. If you do not comply with my request, you are most certainly in breach of Regulation Five of the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts.

If you wish to avoid a court case and thousands of pounds in legal costs stemming from defending a complex legal claim - then simply remove the "informal overdraft" arrangement from my account.

Regards,

Edited by Adrian_Woodhead
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i've can't wait to see the result on this, i tried to go the medical condition route and got swatted like a fly by the FOS (numpties) and HSBC.

Veester

 

"Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful." -- Joshua J. Marine‏ ;)

 

Better than the truth itself is truthful living.

 

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