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Ill-advised By LloydsTSB's Collections Call Centre...


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Chaps and chapesses,


Late last year I managed to secure my first mortgage in principle which was nice, but the underwriters approving were a complete nightmare and LloydsTSB's collections dept (which I think is outsourced?) were pretty much the cause of it, in my view.


Years ago I took out a loan with Lloyds (or Black Horse, I'm at work and can't confirm which) for roughly £4k-5k for various ends and I was paying off around £170pm to repay the debt. Late in 2008 my entire IT department was let go (we were all let go after our 6 month probations (myself) or left once people started going (others after my departure)) over the course of a few months which left me out of work with very little financial cover. Luckily I was living with my parents still and they helped me a fair bit but to help cut down on my outgoings with nothing coming in I called Lloyds and asked what my options were. I was told that I could pay a reduced amount per month and at no point was I told that this would have a negative effect on my or my credit rating at all.


My account was then passed over to another dept (that I now know was the collections dept - not good!) and we agreed that £100 could be paid for around 6 months until I found a new job and had regular income again. No probs.


A year later when the underwriters looked at my application submitted by my mortgage broker they said that I would have to clear up some outstanding debt first and then they'd consider it. So I borrowed some money from my parents to get both cards paid off and I had to call the collections centre to get a settlement figure for this outstanding loan. They quoted me the figure and twice I asked the rep to confirm that there would be no other charges and that once the settlement had been paid that was it. Nothing else to pay. So I paid up, collections passed the loan handling back to Lloyds and still the underwriters quibbled over outstanding debt.


I was now stuck between LloydsTSB who insisted that there was an outstanding amount on the loan remaining and the collections centre who insisted their account was closed and no further info on my situation was available. This involved two weeks of daily calls which was extremely frustrating and stressful as the property I'd put an offer in for was a repro which has to complete in four weeks of the offer being accepted.


Eventually it transpired that the settlement had been a reduced amount - which I'd absolutely not been informed of at the time of settling, quite the opposite had been implied - and that I'd have to pay the outstanding figure of £700 to get this debt wiped off.


Now me and my parents barely managed to scrabble the amount together to pay up as we'd already gone over the four week deadline at this point and my offer on the property could've been forfeit at any time, but is there any way that I can claim that £700 back from the bank with no change to my credit file?

I say this because when I ask for a settlement involving what I consider to be a substantial amount of money changing hands I expect to be advised in a clear and comprehensive manner with no hidden surprises. When I have a final settlement figure confirmed to me I expect it to be just that - a final figure that I can factor into my finances and not have a nasty surprise at a time-critical moment when I'm already under a lot of stress and pressure commiting funds to a property purchase! In my mind an outstanding amount is not my problem when I've conducted my business according to what I've been told by the very people who then demanded more money because of their error.


I've lodged an official complaint with Lloyds over their handling of this situation which seems to have stalled as I've not heard back from them, can anything be done so that I can claim that £700 back from them?

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