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Ombudsman and adjudicator. Poor service, incompetent, or just lazy?


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Complaint regarding Barclays after i lost my job and had to make reduced payments.

 

Barclays defaulted one of my credit card accounts after 7 months of arrears. They defaulted the other after 10 months. I complained that the second default date was completely inaccurate and asked for it to be changed to one similar to my other account.

 

The adjudicator upheld my complaint but Barclays would not accept his decision and complained. The adjudicator then changed his mind saying he had not taken into account Barclays internal procedures which resulted in the delay.

 

I showed that the delay in the default date is in breach of the ICO guidelines on defaults which state a maximum of 6 months. I also showed that the ICO guidelines specifically state that internal procedures should not be the determining factor when a default is registered.

 

Ombudsman: "The ICO guidance does state that defaults should be registered within 3-6 months, but our service would not insist that this is followed in all cases."

 

Regarding the delay between the first and second account default date.

Ombudsman: "I'm persuaded the bank thought the applicants financial situation could improve." "It was required to treat customers positively and sympathetically"

 

I find it disappointing that it was fair and reasonable for Barclays to delay a default to one of my credit cards but also find it fair and reasonable that they decided it was not necessary to do so on another.

 

Ombudsman: Referring to the bank. "It says it has no record of the account the applicant refers to. It appears the applicant cant provide information about that account either."

 

I provided my credit file which has the account details and adverse information which is reported and updated monthly by Barclays. Is the ombudsman awake?

 

Ombudsman: "The bank says it generally issues formal demands to customers after an account has been in arrears for 7 months, and that it then given the customer a further 28 days notice before registering a default. It appears the bank did this in this case."

 

This was almost word for word what the adjudicator said. Truly amazing since i had already explained to the adjudicator the maths;

 

"I still do not understand how the default date 29th July is 28 days after the formal demand 1st June? I make this 59 days."

 

What else can i say. A terrible and very poor service.

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Oh yes the wonderful FOS (not).

 

I lodged a complaint with a debt purchaser and when they didn't resolve it in 6 weeks I went to FOS. Despite the debt purchasers letters saying they were discussing my complaint with the original creditor, they advised FOS they hadn't received my complaint letter and the not very smart adjudicator told me it was my duty to chase up my complaint before going to FOS and that she believed their explanation as to why they hadn't responded (although FOS had the copies of their letters stating they were trying to resolve my complaint).

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Callahan, was this a first tier adjudicator decision or had you asked for it to be seen by the ombudsman proper? If the former, then ask for a review by the Ombudsman.

 

I agree, there doesn't appear to be any consistency in Barclay shark's actions.

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Yes I agree. If you haven't escalated this to the Ombudsman, you should do so. I have done this and they've said there wiil be a delay as more people are going to the Ombudsman than usual. Just shows people aren't happy with the Service.

 

Have you complained to the ICO? It might be worth it.

 

 

Callahan, was this a first tier adjudicator decision or had you asked for it to be seen by the ombudsman proper? If the former, then ask for a review by the Ombudsman.

 

I agree, there doesn't appear to be any consistency in Barclay shark's actions.

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Complaint regarding Barclays after i lost my job and had to make reduced payments.

 

Barclays defaulted one of my credit card accounts after 7 months of arrears. They defaulted the other after 10 months. I complained that the second default date was completely inaccurate and asked for it to be changed to one similar to my other account.

 

The adjudicator upheld my complaint but Barclays would not accept his decision and complained. The adjudicator then changed his mind saying he had not taken into account Barclays internal procedures which resulted in the delay.

 

The adjudicator took into account your side of the story, it's only right that they hear Barclays' side.

 

I showed that the delay in the default date is in breach of the ICO guidelines on defaults which state a maximum of 6 months.

 

That's not what the ICO guidelines say. There is no strict maximum of 6 months.

 

I also showed that the ICO guidelines specifically state that internal procedures should not be the determining factor when a default is registered.

 

That isn't what the ICO guidelines say either. It says that other internal policies and practices (such as collection activities or decisions to write off debts) should not be the determining factor in when and how a default is filed.

 

Ombudsman: "The ICO guidance does state that defaults should be registered within 3-6 months, but our service would not insist that this is followed in all cases."

 

Indeed. The FOS looks at complaints based on what is fair and reasonable as opposed to sticking rigidly to the law and industry guidance. In any case, the ICO guidance does not state that defaults have to be registered strictly within a 3-6 month timeframe.

 

Regarding the delay between the first and second account default date.

Ombudsman: "I'm persuaded the bank thought the applicants financial situation could improve." "It was required to treat customers positively and sympathetically"

 

I find it disappointing that it was fair and reasonable for Barclays to delay a default to one of my credit cards but also find it fair and reasonable that they decided it was not necessary to do so on another.

 

Assumably, each account had a different balance and possibly even a different interest rate and therefore a different minimum monthly repayment - so you can't really compare one to the other.

 

Ombudsman: "The bank says it generally issues formal demands to customers after an account has been in arrears for 7 months, and that it then given the customer a further 28 days notice before registering a default. It appears the bank did this in this case."

 

This was almost word for word what the adjudicator said. Truly amazing since i had already explained to the adjudicator the maths;

 

"I still do not understand how the default date 29th July is 28 days after the formal demand 1st June? I make this 59 days."

 

Is the formal demand letter the same as a notice of default letter?

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Guidance note 11

“Although there will be some flexibility in the definition of a breakdown, we believe there should be general rules for the minimum period of arrears which should exist before a default can be filed. Equally there should be a maximum period after which, if anything is to be recorded with a credit reference agency, a default must be filed.”

 

“Accounts should not be routinely filed as being in default where full payments or those due under a rescheduled agreement are fewer than three consecutive months in arrears.”

 

“Accounts should normally be filed as being in default where those payments due have not been received for six months.”

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Klandestine

"Assumably, each account had a different balance and possibly even a different interest rate and therefore a different minimum monthly repayment - so you can't really compare one to the other."

 

Registering of defaults on credit cards is based on how many months arrears the account is in. There is no mention in the ICO guidelines with regards to balance or interest rate. But as you asked the interest rate was identical and the balance on one is very similar to the other.

Edited by callahan
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Klandestine: "Indeed. The fos looks at complaints based on what is fair and reasonable as opposed to sticking rigidly to the law and industry guidance."

 

Some might argue that the law and industry guidance (of which Barclays contributed to develop) is fair and reasonable.

Edited by callahan
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Callahan, was this a first tier adjudicator decision or had you asked for it to be seen by the ombudsman proper? If the former, then ask for a review by the Ombudsman.

 

I agree, there doesn't appear to be any consistency in Barclay shark's actions.

 

No consistency. What is upsetting is that the adjudicator initially told me that he was not satisfied with Barclays explanation regarding the 10 month delay and would uphold my complaint. He had written to Barclays to explain this. He then made a U-turn explaining that Barclays internal policy should be taken into account.

 

I argued that this policy is inconsistent with an almost identical Barclaycard of theirs, and inconsistent with industry practices and the ICO guidance on reporting defaults.

 

Unfortunately these guidelines and industry practices have taken a backseat in place of the banks internal procedures. This is most frustrating as the procedures are inconsistent with themselves and I feel that there is a reasonable level of ambiguity regarding Barclays explanation of why they are reporting such a late default date.

 

As for the Ombudsman. I can only imagine that they were briefed as to the arguments by the adjudicator and made their decision based on what he said. I can't believe that the Ombudsman would overlook the inconsistencies the adjudicator did... particularly;

 

1. Barclays claim that they had no information regarding the other earlier defaulted credit card. Even though i had provided the Ombudsman with my credit file which showed the card details and that Barclays are reporting and updating it monthly.

 

2. The 28 day calculation.

 

All in all a very disappointing experience.

Edited by callahan
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