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Hi everyone

 

I am here on behalf of my mum and I would really appreciate some help.

 

My mum is 67 years old and lives off a basic state pension and some pension credit.

She is a home owner but has no savings.

 

Prior to 2007 she had a basic, non-fee paying current account with the Halifax.

 

In 2007 she was advised by Halifax staff to open an Ultimate Reward current account.

Like many pensioners she struggles to manage on her pension

and she was told that she could have a "free" £300 overdraft

which would help her if she opened the Reward account.

 

As you know, the Ultimate Reward account offers "perks" such as

emergency home repair cover,

AA breakdown cover,

mobile phone insurance and

travel insurance.

 

I must point out that my mum doesn't drive and therefore doesn't own a car,

she has never owned a mobile phone and she is unfit to travel due to health reasons.

The only thing she could possibly benefit from is the home emergency repair cover.

She was never asked whether she drives, owns a mobile phone or travels.

 

As time went on she went further into the £300 overdraft but never went beyond it.

She had cause to contact the bank in March this year and the staff member

told her that they could extend her overdraft to £350 to help her manage.

 

In April the same thing happened;

she contacted the bank to check her balance and was told that she was almost at £350

into her overdraft but fear not, they could extend it to £400.

 

My mum just pays her way and has never had any debt, nor has she ever had a loan or mortgage.

 

In June this year she was diagnosed with cancer and is now recovering from a major operation

and has thankfully had the all clear.

 

Nevertheless she has had a pretty tough time of late.

I have never interfered with her finances and I only get involved if she asks me.

When she went into hospital in June she gave me her bank card

and asked me to pay a few bills etc for her.

 

I was horrified to see that she had an Ultimate Reward account.

 

When I asked her if she realised just how much she was being charged for this she didn't have a clue.

 

I know it sounds ridiculous, but she didn't even know about the "perks"

and she didn't realise that she was paying for her bank account

- I think it used to be £10 per month but it's now £15.

 

On top of that is the amount that she is paying for having an overdraft of £400.

 

The first £300 is free and beyond that she pays £1 per day, for every day that she is over £300.

I know she has been silly and very naïve but that's my mum I'm afraid.

She likes the staff as they are always nice and friendly on the phone...grrrr....

 

Now that I have explained to her that she has a debt to the bank that

she can't get out of due to massive charges each month and that she is receiving "perks"

that mean absolutely nothing to her, she is beside herself with worry.

 

I am trying to find the agreement that she signed when she opened the account

but as yet I haven't been able to locate it.

 

I have established the exact date when she opened the account.

I also have the dates when the overdraft was extended.

 

I made an appointment at the Halifax and attended with my mum on Monday.

I asked the staff member to close the account but she said it couldn't be closed until the overdraft was paid.

I asked if the debt could be treated as a loan which my mum could pay back at a fixed amount each month,

but the lady said this wasn't possible.

 

So until the overdraft is paid my mum is stuck with the account (and the monthly fee for the unnecessary perks).

 

I took my mum to another bank yesterday and she has opened up a new current account

for her pension to be paid into.

 

All we can do for now is try to pay money into her old Halifax account each month

to clear the overdraft, but obviously she will still have to put enough in each month

to cover the cost of the account itself.

If I had the £400 myself I'd gladly give it to her, but unfortunately I don't.

 

 

I'm sorry this is so long but I really would like to know how to proceed from here.

I feel this account was mis sold to my mum from the start

and I feel she should be reimbursed the fees.

 

Do I complain to the Halifax first, or do I go to the Ombudsman?

 

What do I say and how do I word it??

 

Do I need all her statements since she opened the account,

or do I just ask for the fees back and trust they will calculate it?

 

I am so angry that they have taken advantage of my mum who is so trusting

and yep quite naïve, but who has never been in debt in her life

and who has been throwing her meagre pension at the Halifax bank

who don't give a flying fig how much she is struggling.

 

 

I will be so grateful for any help that anyone can offer me.

 

 

Many thanks in advance.

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You would definitely need to make your complaint to the Bank first - head it "Formal Complaint"

 

Explain pretty much as you have above - in bullet point fashion.

 

Send it to their Head/Registered office and by one of the tracked methods - Recorded or Special delivery.

 

They have 8 weeks in which to deal with a formal complaint - either by resolution or a final response. After the 8 weeks or on receipt of hte Final response, then you can escalate your complaint to the Ombudsman.

 

I will flag your thread for site team to see if anyone has any further advice.

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Hi 1Mango

 

As CB has explained, write a Formal Letter of Complaint, mark it as such. Explain what's happened (mis-sold account), how they have let your mother down (not explaining how the account functions, monthly charges, the benefits are no use to your mother, not allowing the account to be closed, failing to refund the monthly fee) and what you want them to do (refund the monthly fee/close the account).

 

Also point out that because Halifax are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, the Halifax have to adhere to a set of legally binding key principles laid down in the Banking: Conduct of Business Source Book.

 

State that Halifax has treated your mum unfairly under the following BCOBS Principles:

 

Principle - Customers' interests - A firm must pay due regard to the interests of its customers and treat them fairly.

 

Principle - Communications with clients - A firm must pay due regard to the information needs of its clients, and communicate information to them in a way which is clear, fair and not misleading.

 

 

Send it to:-

 

Mr David Nicholson

Managing Director

Halifax Bank

[email protected]

  • Haha 1
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you should easily be able to get the fees back + 8% interest on each one

 

I did one for some else last year.

 

ok I did get all the statements. and I did do a spreadsheet.

 

the 'focus' of your complaint should be that the account

was sold to her for the OD and it was undertood the 'fees' was an OD fee

 

not this 'useless' package,

it would have been cheaper to just take out a £300 mortgage for a single 'set fee'

which was about £20 for 12mts.

 

so, the package was totally missold. so the advisor would get the commission they made.

 

dx

please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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you should easily be able to get the fees back + 8% interest on each one

 

I did one for some else last year.

 

ok I did get all the statements. and I did do a spreadsheet.

 

the 'focus' of your complaint should be that the account

was sold to her for the OD and it was undertood the 'fees' was an OD fee

 

not this 'useless' package,

it would have been cheaper to just take out a £300 mortgage for a single 'set fee'

which was about £20 for 12mts.

 

so, the package was totally missold. so the advisor would get the commission they made.

 

dx

 

I would be careful about that making a complaint on that basis.

 

The OP mentions that her mother was struggling to manage with just the pension. So the overdraft was intended to give some flexibility with that.

If the overdraft was interest free up to £300 in return for monthly fee of £10/15 that could be much cheaper than it would be with an alternative account.

 

And the advisor would not have got commission for anything.

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sorry but the advisor that sold the account

on the phone or whatever DID get commission

 

and there was no need for an altrernate account either

 

Halifax OD arrangement fees were about £27 one fixed fee for 12mts

then reviewed each 12mts.

and you could have one on their std account too in that period

 

they upgraded her to a ultimate reward account 'because it gave an OD'

but it cost £10PCM then £15PCM

that equates to over £150 in a year

 

supposedly for an OD with 'extras'

the OP did not want.

 

the OP wanted an OD

they could have done that for a one off fee of about £27.

 

she was had.

 

dx

please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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sorry but the advisor that sold the account

on the phone or whatever DID get commission

 

No they didn't.

 

If you don't know then you shouldn't just assume and it certainly doesn't give you the right to speak so authoritatively about the issue.

 

s

 

and there was no need for an altrernate account either

 

Halifax OD arrangement fees were about £27 one fixed fee for 12mts

then reviewed each 12mts.

and you could have one on their std account too in that period

 

they upgraded her to a ultimate reward account 'because it gave an OD'

but it cost £10PCM then £15PCM

that equates to over £150 in a year

 

supposedly for an OD with 'extras'

the OP did not want.

 

the OP wanted an OD

they could have done that for a one off fee of about £27.

 

she was had.

 

dx

 

So with their standard Current Account it would have cost just £27 for 12 months if you were to be continually overdrawn by up to £300 for that period?

I honestly don't know what they were offering that long ago, but I find that hard to believe.

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Hi Klandestine

 

Why should she want an account with perks?, we weren't party to the sales conversation, but it is very suspect.

 

'As you know, the Ultimate Reward account offers "perks" such as

emergency home repair cover,

AA Breakdown Coverlink3.gif,

mobile phone insurance and

travel insurance.

 

I must point out that my mum doesn't drive and therefore doesn't own a car,

she has never owned a mobile phone and she is unfit to travel due to health reasons.

The only thing she could possibly benefit from is the home emergency repair cover.

She was never asked whether she drives, owns a mobile phone or travels. '

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Hi Klandestine

 

Why should she want an account with perks?, we weren't party to the sales conversation, but it is very suspect.

 

'As you know, the Ultimate Reward account offers "perks" such as

emergency home repair cover,

AA Breakdown Coverlink3.gif,

mobile phone insurance and

travel insurance.

 

I must point out that my mum doesn't drive and therefore doesn't own a car,

she has never owned a mobile phone and she is unfit to travel due to health reasons.

The only thing she could possibly benefit from is the home emergency repair cover.

She was never asked whether she drives, owns a mobile phone or travels. '

 

You need to re-read the thread. Why on earth are you saying that to me?

 

It was dx100uk who said not to focus on the perks in the complaint and to instead talk about how the account was sold on the basis of the interest free overdraft.

 

I just commented that I'd be weary of basing your complaint on that because the interest free overdraft may well have actually saved the OP's mother some money.

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i think by reading your past posts on CAG

 

the OP can quite easily decide which 'side' you 'bat' for usually on here :madgrin:

please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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I don't need to read anything again, as far as I'm concerned, everything is important.

 

You need to re-read the thread. Why on earth are you saying that to me?

 

It was dx100uk who said not to focus on the perks in the complaint and to instead talk about how the account was sold on the basis of the interest free overdraft.

 

I just commented that I'd be weary of basing your complaint on that because the interest free overdraft may well have actually saved the OP's mother some money.

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i think by reading your past posts on CAG

 

the OP can quite easily decide which 'side' you 'bat' for usually on here :madgrin:

 

I've challenged what you've said and instead of taking it onboard and addressing it you resort to making silly comments. Fantastic!

 

I don't bat for any side. I may disagree with posters from time to time but it's far more helpful to be honest and base things on facts than to maliciously (or more likely ignorantly) spread wrong information and false hope.

 

I don't need to read anything again, as far as I'm concerned, everything is important.

 

I really don't understand what you're saying.

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you introduce speculation and doubt where you can,

 

now, if / if not the OP wants to listen/take notice of anyone

is their issue and decision.

 

however, I can assure you, not that I need too

that Halifax employees did indeed receive commission for selling those packaged accounts

one of their ex employees sits not 2 feet away from me...

please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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Share on other sites

you introduce speculation and doubt where you can,

 

now, if / if not the OP wants to listen/take notice of anyone

is their issue and decision.

 

however, I can assure you, not that I need too

that Halifax employees did indeed receive commission for selling those packaged accounts

one of their ex employees sits not 2 feet away from me...

 

Of course I ask questions and raise doubts in order ascertain facts.

And of course I challenge information which I know to false. I'm sure you also do both of these things.

 

Either you've mis-understood your colleague, he/she has simplified things for you or your definition of commission is wrong.

Sure, they have targets and bonuses but they do not work on commission.

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in 2007 it was commission based - no doubt about it.

or to be blunt - more money in wage packet

 

as was PPI, mortgage life insurance, MPPI and any 'sale'

of a whole list of 'extras'

 

not saying anymore - nuff said.

 

dx

please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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Complete rubbish. Don't confuse commission with targets and bonuses.

They are different and there is a reason the FCA would allow a target and bonus based incentive scheme but not a commission-based one.

 

Also the same people "selling" packaged bank accounts and PPI would not have been the same people selling mortgage-related protection policies. You need to stop assuming - I think that's why you keep mis-understanding things.

 

For your own reputation and more importantly in the interest of the OP I think it's best you don't say anymore. It's not fair to keep maliciously/ignorantly (whichever it is) spreading information which is untrue.

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Thanks everyone for taking the trouble to reply and for the sound advice. I will now get the ball rolling by putting my letter of complaint together. Can I just ask - should I be writing the letter from myself (as a concerned daughter), or should I write it from my mum? Which is best?

Thanks again.

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Hi 1Mango

 

It's best if you write on behalf of your mother. But you'll need to enclose an Ordinary Power of Attorney, otherwise they won't discuss anything with you.

 

http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/england/relationships_e/relationships_looking_after_people_e/managing_affairs_for_someone_else.htm#h_ordinary_power_of_attorney

 

Thanks everyone for taking the trouble to reply and for the sound advice. I will now get the ball rolling by putting my letter of complaint together. Can I just ask - should I be writing the letter from myself (as a concerned daughter), or should I write it from my mum? Which is best?

Thanks again.

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something along the lines of:

 

adapt to suit

 

Subscriptions Reclaiming

DearSir or Madam,

Accountname:

Accountnumber:

Ihave operated the above Account since

Latein ..... I run into some financial difficulties and requested an overdraft.

I was told the best way to obtain one was to upgrade my account to a ‘....as this came with a £.....one built in.

Ibelieve this account was mis-sold.

It was not made clear to me that the‘subscription’ was for the bundled insurances and other deals,

rather than afee for having an account with an overdraft that I could have otherwiseattained for a single fixed sum.

Ienclose copies of my statements dating back to when the first account fee wastaken out

and any related documents. I am writing to request a full refund ofthe fees I have paid plus any interest owed to me.

I look forward to your response withineight weeks, otherwise I won’t hesitate taking my complaint to the FinancialOmbudsman Service.

Yoursfaithfully,

please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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  • 2 months later...

Hello again

 

 

I did say I'd provide an update so here goes. The Halifax sent a letter to my mum in response to my letter to them. It's quite a lengthy reply so I've condense it as best I can. The letter is signed from someone from Customer Services. The main points are as follows.

 

 

1) During our URCA opening process, our procedure includes an explanation of the account benefits, inc the fee free overdraft and the monthly fee payable.

 

 

2) You were provided with a Welcome Pack which explains the benefits which come automatically with your a/c and includes the detailed policy wording applicable to each benefit. It also outlines the customer needs that would be met by each of the insurance products contained in the URCA.

 

 

3) It is usual practice for Travel Insurance providers to request customers to declare any pre-existing medical conditions to ascertain if these are covered and if any extra premiums are due. Therefore, the Welcome Pack explains you need to contact us to discuss this.

 

 

4) All customers are given a 14 day "cooling off period" to read through the information provided and decide if the a/c is appropriate. Should this not be the case we would have been happy to change the a/c for you, free of charge within this period. All customers can change their a/c at any point.

 

 

5) We have sent you regular statements for the a/c which detail the a/c fee being paid. When any changes were made to the T&Cs of your a/c we will have written to you giving the required notice of the change. We would have highlighted the features of the a/c and confirmed the fee being charged and invited customers to contact us to discuss any issues.

 

 

6) We operate a non-advice policy meaning we give customers the choice of which a/c they want to take. The a/c's are not sold to customers and for this reason we do not do a full assessment of needs for the a/c. Colleagues may explain the benefits of holding a certain a/c with us and offer info on any linked products, but ultimately the decision to take that a/c lies with the customer.

 

 

7) You have benefited from the URCA by making use of the fee free overdraft facility. You would have incurred overdraft usage fees on you previous a/c.

 

 

8) I can see you have saved money from having the a/c. Even if a shortcoming in the sale of the a/c was identified the benefit you have received has outweighed the cost. As a result of the fee free overdraft you haven't suffered any financial loss and I therefore cannot agree your a/c was mis-sold. This decision is based on recent guidance from the FOS. I will not be offering to refund the full a/c fees paid.

 

 

9) When you increased your o/d to £400 you stopped benefiting as much from the fee free overdraft. In order to help your situation I have agreed to refund £120 (for April to Dec charges) in fees. This is made with no admission as no error has occurred.

 

 

So... that's it! Interestingly, in point 6 above they say the accounts are not sold to customers, yet in point 8 they talk about the sale of the account. I really want to fight for what I believe my mum is owed, yet I don't really know where to go from here. I know it's now a letter to the Ombudsman, but I'm scared I'll get it wrong. I will be scouring the site for information, but if anyone has a spare few minutes to contribute their thoughts/advice, I would be really grateful.

 

 

Thanks.

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i'll pop in tonight

 

 

dx

please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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4) All customers are given a 14 day "cooling off period" to read through the information provided and decide if the a/c is appropriate. Should this not be the case we would have been happy to change the a/c for you, free of charge within this period. All customers can change their a/c at any point.

 

So has the account been downgraded now?

 

6) We operate a non-advice policy meaning we give customers the choice of which a/c they want to take. The a/c's are not sold to customers and for this reason we do not do a full assessment of needs for the a/c. Colleagues may explain the benefits of holding a certain a/c with us and offer info on any linked products, but ultimately the decision to take that a/c lies with the customer.

 

Whether the sale was advised or non-advised depends on the wording of the advisor and whether they made a personal recommendation.

 

If they simply gave information about the account and left your mother to decide how to proceed then it was a non-advised sale.

 

If your mother remembers anything more about this meeting you might be able to identify some grounds for your complaint on this basis.

 

7) You have benefited from the URCA by making use of the fee free overdraft facility. You would have incurred overdraft usage fees on you previous a/c.

 

8) I can see you have saved money from having the a/c. Even if a shortcoming in the sale of the a/c was identified the benefit you have received has outweighed the cost. As a result of the fee free overdraft you haven't suffered any financial loss and I therefore cannot agree your a/c was mis-sold. This decision is based on recent guidance from the FOS. I will not be offering to refund the full a/c fees paid.

 

I have a feeling you may have shot yourself in the foot by mentioning the fee-free and interest-free £300 overdraft in your complaint.

They are correct to state that this does reflect recent FOS technical guidance. Even if the FOS were to agree that the insurance side of the sale was unsuitable they wouldn't usually award any compensation because of the savings made.

 

Now I would now try and establish if your mother would actually have saved money with the overdraft. Currently overdrafts for other accounts are charged at £1 per day (so that's £365 per year if you were continuously overdrawn up to £300, compared to £180 a year for the URCA). I don't know what the overdraft charges were in the past but in an earlier post dx100uk suggested that they were "about £27" for a whole year. Now that isn't true but Google may give some results and some other posters who are/were Halifax customers may have a better idea.

 

9) When you increased your o/d to £400 you stopped benefiting as much from the fee free overdraft. In order to help your situation I have agreed to refund £120 (for April to Dec charges) in fees. This is made with no admission as no error has occurred.

 

To be honest, I would consider this to be a result. Of course you are still entitled to take this to FOS and you may well get more of the fees refunded - if you do I would focus on the suitability of the extras and possibly the advised-sale of the account.

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Hi Klandestine

 

 

Many thanks for your input with this. I take on board what you say. In answer to your question, no the account hasn't been downgraded. We asked for this , but the Halifax said they couldn't downgrade it until the overdraft has been cleared. My mum is being charged £15 per month for the account fee, plus £1 per day for being over £300 overdrawn.

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