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Unitedfan

Paid Halifax for surveyor fees, now they are saying no mortgage * WON *

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i've read a few threads and cannot find the answer so if you could help me that would be great. The Halifax offered us a mortgage (or so we thought) They took £270.00 off us for a survey. Then told us after further credit checks they have declined the mortgage and we have lost the fees as they have gone to the surveyor. The lady at the bank said the survey should not have been done until an official offer of mortgage was given but although they were wrong they will not give us our money back. I've since spoke to a couple of people including a mortgage advisor who say this is outrageous. It's not standard practice to do a survey and take our money unless it's an official mortgage offer. I've also spoke to the ombudsman service and they told me, although they should not have done a survey at this point legally I am not entitled to this money back. Is it worth me trying to get this money back. Myself and my partner (and my 2yr old child) all bank with Halifax. If I send them a letter would they offer me anything as a goodwill gesture or have I lost this money.Or could you link me to the relevant information. Thanks

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OK, this happened to us (although not with Halifax)

 

When we got another mortgage company, they basically used the same survey but had it re-typed onto the other providers paper, and it cost us about an extra £45 I think.

 

So if you are going to go for another provider, you should be able to do this.

 

It is not right though but I am really sorry in that I don't know what to suggest short of asking for it back. WIll have a look around, maybe Zoot will know as she is excellent on stuff like this.


Please note that I am not a legal expert and all advice given is without prejudice and is purely my opinion only.

 

** Nationwide - £1821.15-PAID IN FULL - Aug 06 **

** Halifax Mortgage -£390 - PAID IN FULL - Nov 06 **

Lloyds TSB - MCOL issued 09/03/07 - £2953 + costs - ON HOLD....

 

 

 

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It is certainly bad practice.

 

I would suggest that you may be able to imply a contract here. They have offered you a mortgage. You have accepted that offer by conduct in paying for the survey. This creates a collateral contract (ie ancilliary to the main mortgage contract) whereby they have promised to give you a mortgage you have accepted this promise which was backed up by consideration (legal talk for you have provided something of value). They are in breach of their promise by withdrawing their mortgage offer. You are entitled to damages for this breach in the form of your losses ie the payment of surveyors fees and any other expenses which you may have incurred.

 

Hope this helps

 

Zoot

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Thanks for your reply, it is really appreciated. Below is a copy of my first draft I am sending to the bank. Please let me know if you have any suggestions to improve, Thanks.

Halifax PLC

Customer Relations

P O Box 548

Leeds

LS1 1WU.

Your Ref: A/3XXXX25/1

18th September 2006.

Dear Sir/madam,

I refer to your letter dated 30th August 2006.

I am writing to you regarding the above mortgage application. We were accepted for a mortgage and given an offer in principal. We were instructed by the Halifax branch on XXXX XXXX in XXXX to have a survey done, which we did at a cost of £270. We then waited for everything to be completed only to receive a letter from the Halifax instructing us we that, after further credit checks, we were not accepted for the mortgage. We were told by your advisor that the Halifax were in the wrong as they should not have had the survey done at this point, but we cannot have our £270 back.

The way I understood this was that a collateral contract was created – an ancillary to the main mortgage contract, whereby you have promised to give us a mortgage and we have accepted this promise and backed it up by consideration. You are in breach of this promise by withdrawing your mortgage offer and I would suggest I am entitled to damages for this breach in the form of our losses.

I have sought advice on this matter from several sources including a mortgage advisor and the relevant Ombudsman service. I was informed of the details in my previous paragraph and at the very least this was considered extremely bad practice, however under law you may be able to do this to my family – legally.

I would like you to consider the financial strain this decision has had on us. It is not normal practice to do a survey at this point and decline the mortgage thereafter. Furthermore, your own advisor admitted it was a mistake to do a survey at this point. The mortgage advisor I spoke to thought this was outrageous. Is this your normal practice?

We are not high earners, this is our first house and we were very excited by the impression we were given by your bank. To have this taken away from us at the last minute due to your mistake may not be devastating for an organisation such as yourselves, but for us it was very upsetting. An amount such as this can have a big effect on a young family trying to scrape together a deposit for a mortgage.

Myself, my partner and my two year old child all bank with you. My account was a monthly saver which was set up in Manchester. At the time I set this account up I agreed to feature in an article with the Daily Mail with my family, promoting the savings account I had with the Halifax. I agreed with the articles words (which I never said) about the qualities of banking with the Halifax. This has been put into question with the recent events. I believe myself, my partner and my daughter have always been good customers and I find it hard to believe that you could treat good customers this way.

I do not want to close all our accounts with you (along with the house insurance we have taken with you) All I am asking for is some discretion. We feel that we are good customers and the whole episode could have been handled better by yourselves.

To reiterate, it was your decision to pay a surveyor, but both sides are aware this was not the best practice and I am asking you to consider that your actions were not in our best interests. At the very least I am sure you will agree this is not the correct practice for a mortgage and I am asking for a reasonable response to my concerns. I also request that your response is not generic and you will enter into a sincere dialogue with me regarding these personal issues I have raised.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours Sincerely,

Mr X

Any thoughts? also is the address OK or local branch.

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Hi Unitedfan,

Suggested changes (in red) below with added legal bits! As you are claiming for breach of contract you do have a legal basis for your claim and can pursue it through the courts should you so wish. This is of course up to you. Its probably best to leave out the bit about there activity being lawful according to Ombudsman, they obviously hadn't considered this angle. You might want to send it straight to Rachel Hinchliffe, head of litigation at the Trinity Road address. The customer relations people will have no idea what to do with it!

All the best

Zoot

Dear Sir/madam,

 

I refer to your letter dated 30th August 2006.

 

I am writing to you regarding the above mortgage application. We were accepted for a mortgage and given an offer in principal. We were instructed by the Halifax branch on XXXX XXXX in XXXX to have a survey done, which we did at a cost of £270. We then waited for everything to be completed only to receive a letter from the Halifax instructing us we that, after further credit checks, we were not accepted for the mortgage. We were told by your advisor that the Halifax were in the wrong as they should not have had the survey done at this point, but we cannot have our £270 back.

I would like you to consider the financial strain this decision has had on us. It is not normal practice to do a survey at this point and decline the mortgage thereafter. Furthermore, your own advisor admitted it was a mistake to do a survey at this point. The mortgage advisor I spoke to thought this was outrageous. Is this your normal practice?

 

Having taken advice on this matter I believe that your actions amount to a breach of contract for which you are liable to pay damages. You offered us a mortgage in principle. We accepted that offer by acting on the offer in paying the survey fees. Acceptance by conduct is an established method of acceptance as established in Brogden v Metropolitan Railway (1877) 2 App. Cas 666. Furthermore consideration was provided for this contract by the Halifax in the form of promising to offer a mortgage and by us in the form of paying for the survey. Consideration owed to a third party can constitute valid consideration to a new contract see Scotson v Pegg (1861) 6 H & N 295 and New Zealand Shipping Co Ltd v. Satterthwaite (The Eurymedon) [1975] AC 154 PC. In failing to fulfil its promise to offer the mortgage the Halifax are in breach of this collateral contract which is ancilliary to any possible contract of a mortgage.

I have sought advice on this matter from several sources including a mortgage advisor and the relevant Ombudsman service. I was informed of the details in my previous paragraph and at the very least this was considered extremely bad practice.

 

We are not high earners, this is our first house and we were very excited by the impression we were given by your bank. To have this taken away from us at the last minute due to your mistake may not be devastating for an organisation such as yourselves, but for us it was very upsetting. An amount such as this can have a big effect on a young family trying to scrape together a deposit for a mortgage.

 

Myself, my partner and my two year old child all bank with you. My account was a monthly saver which was set up in Manchester. At the time I set this account up I agreed to feature in an article with the Daily Mail with my family, promoting the savings account I had with the Halifax. I agreed with the articles words (which I never said) about the qualities of banking with the Halifax. This has been put into question with the recent events. I believe myself, my partner and my daughter have always been good customers and I find it hard to believe that you could treat good customers this way.

 

I do not want to close all our accounts with you (along with the house insurance we have taken with you) All I am asking for is some discretion. We feel that we are good customers and the whole episode could have been handled better by yourselves.

 

To reiterate, it was your decision to pay a surveyor, but both sides are aware this was not the best practice and I am asking you to consider that your actions were not in our best interests. At the very least I am sure you will agree this is not the correct practice for a mortgage and I am asking for a reasonable response to my concerns. I also request that your response is not generic and you will enter into a sincere dialogue with me regarding these personal issues I have raised.

However, failure to return the sums taken from us following your breach of contract, will result in us taking further action. We will give 14 days to comply with our request after which time we will write a further request for this money. If you still fail to respond after 14 days we will be issuing a court claim for the return of moneys.

 

I look forward to hearing from you.

 

Yours Sincerely,

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Hi Zoot,

 

Thank you very much for your reply, I appreciate it very much.

 

Been on Holidays so haven't replied sooner, letter is ready to go but my partner is really nervous about sending it. We have since had a confirmed offer from Birmingham Midshires (BM is the same as the Halifax, as I'm sure you know:-| ) GF wants to send it when we move in, because she is scared of it all falling through again , which I know sounds silly, but I want to keep her happy after the dissapointment of the Halifax episode. I won't be letting this go and I will let you know the banks reply to the letter. It sounds like you researched this a bit so thanks for taking the time.

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Hope you had a good time!

 

I'm surprised that BM would not use the survey or was it a different house? There's no harm in waiting to send the letter until the sale goes through... you have up to 6 yrs to bring a claim and I can understand your girlfriend not wanting to risk losing it again.

 

Hope you have a smooth transaction

 

All the best

 

Zoot

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It was the same house, which we are all moved into now!

 

Letter going first class recorded today. Thank you for all your suport.

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Recieved response.

 

Your Complaint

 

Dear Mr Unitedfan

 

Thank you for your recent letter, the details of which have been passed to me for reply in view of my responsibilities as Service Recovery Manager.

 

My understanding of your complaint is that you are unhappy that you have paid a survey fee for your Mortgage Application which has subsequently been declined. You have been advised this is not correct procedure but you are not able to have a refund of the fee totalling £270.00

 

May I firstly say how sorry I am that you have found it necessary to contact us. At Halifax we pride ourselves on delivering an excellent level of customer service and it is disappointing when we fail to achieve this.

 

I have passed details of your complaint to The Manager of Blackpool office for a full investigation. As soon as I recieve a reply, I will be able to provide you with a full response to your complaint. Please accept my sincere apologies for any inconvenience caused.

 

You will find enclosed a copy of our leaflet which tells you how we will handle your complaint.

 

Your concerns will be dealt with as quickly as possible, but if you need to speak with me in the meantime please telephone me on 08456041220 between 9:30am and 3:30pm Monday to Thursday,

 

Yours Sincerely

 

Sue Fry

Service Recovery Manager.

 

Whilst it seems quite positive, I can't help but think thier eventual response will be in keeping with paragraph 2.

 

I think I should send a second letter, but I am unsure of what to write. Could anybody advise? some bullet points would be great (don't expect anybody to write it for me!). Or Maybe I should just wait until they write back?

 

Thanks

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Hi United fan,

 

I would just write and thank them for their letter, but confirm that it was not just a complaint but request for the money they owe you for breaching the contract as outlined in your original letter and give them a further 14 days notice that you will be issuing a court claim if they fail to return the money.

 

All the best

 

Zoot

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Thanks Zoot. The address on this letter is:

 

Halifax Plc

PO Box 548

Leeds

LS1 7UF.

 

I know this is a silly question but I have heard of banks passing claims from pillar to post, should I use this or keep to the initial Rachel Hinchliffe address. Thanks

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I think Rachel Hinchliffe probably only deals with cases after a court claim has been filed. So it will probably only be passed over.

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Great thank you Zoot.

 

I have drafted the following letter, could anyone offer any advice or changes?

 

Sue Fry

Service Recovery Manager

Halifax Plc

PO BOX 548

Leeds

LS1 1WU

Your Ref: A/XXXXXXX

20th November 2006.

Dear Sue,

 

Thank you for your reply dated 15th November 2006, I am very grateful for the personal dialogue. Whilst I appreciate your investigations, they do not appear to be time-bound.

I would like to clarify that my initial letter was not just a complaint, moreover a request for the return of monies owed for breach of contract as outlined in my original letter.

I hope you will understand that, should this matter not be resolved by 6th December 2006, I shall begin litigation via the County Court. As you may be aware the court would expect that I try to resolve this complaint with The Halifax outside of the court, hence my written communications. Please feel free to contact me via the above email address or by letter.

I trust this clarifies my position.

Yours Sincerely,

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Very good you might like to add that if you are forced to take the matter to court you will claim court costs and interest. Just to give them a little incentive to settle!

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How does this sound?

 

However, should this matter only prove resolvable through the courts, I will also be claiming for court costs and interest at the judicial rate.

Cheers.

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Looks good... you mention judicial rate are you in Scotland?

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Yes should be statutory. You gave me a fright then I have no idea of about Scottish contract law!

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Hi all. Unitedfan has asked me to update this thread (He's my mate and has been doing this through my PC)

 

I was at his new house yesterday when the letter popped through the letterbox - fast response!

 

Dear Mr Devlin

 

I refer to the above complaint and my recent letter. I have now recieved a further letter from you dated 20th November 2006. Whilst I appreciate you have been waiting for a response, I have only just completed my investigation into your complaint and was not in a position to respond to you sooner. Please accept my apologies for the delay, but it is imperative that I have all the necessary information to assess your complaint fairly.

 

Your mortgage application was made on the 11th August 2006 and Shirley Edgar was the mortgage advisor involved. As part of the application process, the valuation fee of £265 (not £270 as we originally thought) was paid by you so that the application could progress. An agreement in principle was given subject to Terms and Conditions (ahem) and is not an offer of mortgage. A copy of the declaration is enclosed for your information.

 

I would draw your attention to condition 15 of the declaration which clearly states that payment of the Valuation Fee does not commit Halifax to making a mortgage advance. It also states that the fee is non refundable.

 

As you had more that two (not my typo) correspondance addresses in the last two years, additional checks were required and it was at this stage that derogatory information was detected and your application declined accordingly.

 

I regret I am unable to agree to refund your Valuation Fee of £265.00 based on the above information. I realise this is not the response you were looking for but trust my comprehensive response explains the Halifax's position.

 

You recently recieved a leaflet explaining our procedures (WOOHOO!)

 

Should any of your concerns remain unresolved please let me know what you'd like me to do to put matters right. We are keen to resolve your concerns, if we are unable to do so we'll provide you with details of how you can contact the Financial Ombudsman Service for help (Where have I heard that litle gem before!!)

 

If I don't hear from you in the next 8 weeks I will assume you are happy.

 

Sue Fry

Service Recovery Manager.

 

OK, so were deciding our next move when the phone rings. Its Sue Fry.

to cut down the conversation she says 'there has been a development, our area manager has decided to pay on this occasion. My friends are elated - and I am still stunned how quickly they reversed thire decision without puttting pen back to paper - we had plenty of questions for you Zoot!!!

 

So that is that, my friends are booking a holiday to Prague and United fan has just given me he card details and I have just donated to CAG on his behalf.

 

Many thanks Zoot and Dolly.:D

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15. the payment of any property assessment and/or arrangement fees is non-refundable and shall not mean that you have to make an advance

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Fabulous news!

 

Pass on my congratulations!

 

I'm particularly proud of this one. I remember intitially reading the first thread and I didn't think that there was a claim. I was half way through typing a response setting out why there was no claim when the collateral contract argument came to me and I had to delete what I had written and start again!

 

I'm so pleased with this result.

 

All the best

 

Zoot

  • Haha 1

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Wow, I've literally just applied for a mortgage with halifax via countrywide and im dreading that this would ever happen to me. Knowing my luck it probably will. im praying that it doesnt. What if it does? Do you just have to apply for another mortgage with another lender? How long would that take?

Congratulations on your success!! Fight the b*st*rds!!! xxx

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hi there came across this site looking for some help me too got stung by my own bank ie halifax bank of scotland applied for mortgage first time buyer went through mortgage application and credit check all came back fine was told to go and look for a property which i did spent a fortune on fuel and a lot of my own personal time travelling to view houses eventually found a new build under the shared equity scheme the housing association required a mortgage promise which the bank did not hesitate in giving me everthing was going smoothly i had ordered new furniture to fit house and hey presto got a pone call from bank of scotland saying my mortgage coulnt go a head due to a further credit check advice and further help with regards to this matter would be greatly appreciated just for the record im not scotsbabe this is my friends account she has let me use it to post my problem

Edited by scotsbabe

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I have just had exactly the same happen to me.

Following separation from my Partner I approached my mortgage company Barclays about either A) Buying her out or B) Seeing how much they would lend me. I had an agreement in principle and could choose either option. I decided that we would sell the house and move on.

I duly put the house up for sale (unfortunatley with an agent/contract with 'Able Willing etc clause') and a few months later (after the initial DIP had expired) we agreed a sale and I found a property I wished to buy. Again for a second time I went through the decision in principle process and again was accepted.

Completed/Signed all the forms and returned them to Barclays.

Barclays then passed application through to the underwriters and the application was declined. The application was declined citing a problem with missed payments on a credit card some 3 years earlier (during a dispute with MBNA, note no defaults took place). Financially I am easilly able to pass the affordability tests and it is purely the dispute with MBNA which has caused this decline at full application time

I have been with Barclays for the present mortgage for 17 years (never missed a single payement etc), and other than the MBNA episode have an exemplary credit history. I haven cleared quite a lot of outstanding debt (car loans etc) prior to the second decision in principle being granted, so am in an even better position than I was at the first application

 

I'm now potentially left with a bill for £3500 pound for failed sale of my property (not to mention a battle with ex partner) and solicitors costs if I pull the plug on my house sale (not to mention the purchasers loosing their survey money etc) or having to move out/effectively be homeless with a 15 year old son, and potentially into rented accommodation if other mortgage lenders follow the same track as Barclays did.

 

To say that I currently despise Barclays for this decision would be an understatement. They were fully aware about my credit history (as I disclosed this dispute with MBNA to them at both DIP applications) and their actions in all of this is nothing short of negligent.

 

I will be fighting this all the way to the ombudsman and beyond. Mortgage lenders should not be able to change their mind from a DIP to full application due to these reasons. They have not shown due diligence at the various stages of the application.

 

I hope this post acts as a warning to others thinking of applying to Barclays for a mortgage. There are other lenders who also failed to show due diligence at the DIP stage. I would never have put my property up for sale had I know at the initial DIP that I would be declined.

 

Simon

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