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Bank of Ceylon (BOC) UK branch - Adjudicator messed up - Ombudsman Followed


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Complaint was about Bank of Ceylon (BOC) United Kingdom (UK) branch.

After months of waiting in the assessment queue, my complaint finally ended up on an adjudicator's desk.

 

Adjudicator from what it seems to me went through the file so quickly he missed vital details I'd given on the form and via email. For example, I told the FOS I had further evidence to produce and also to contact me by email, as I was abroad.

 

He ignored both these.

He concluded that he had enough to issue a decision.

He then attempted to call me on the mobile (even though I said - contact me by email only.

I told the FOS a while ago and there was a 'case warning' added to the file about that.

He had ignored this warning or misunderstood it).

After he failed to contact me by phone, he went on to issue his conclusions in favour of BOC (UK).

 

His conclusions contained language such as "BOC (UK) have said ....".

So I had no alternative but to disagree with his conclusions and ask for the evidence he relied upon.

I also told him he hadn't contacted me even once to introduce himself before reaching his conclusions and that he failed to ask for the evidence I had specifically mentioned before.

 

He got back saying he will provide me the case file evidence only after I send him "further evidence". I then contacted his manager to complain. She asked him to send me the case-file evidence straightaway.

 

I then lodged a service complaint against the adjudicator, and his manager (removed) found that he had committed no wrong.

 

 

I escalated it to a senior manager and asked for the complaint to be looked at by a different adjudicator.

 

 

The senior manager found the Adjudicator (removed) could have done things better.

But he said the complaint could not be assigned to a different adjudicator.

 

In effect the conclusions stood even though it was made without considering all the evidence.

He offered for the complaint to be passed to an ombudsman, for review.

 

Of course, the review is based on what the adjudicator concluded.

Ombudsman wasn't going to start afresh.

Truth be told, in nearly 90% of cases ombudsman "rubber-stamps" the adjudicator's decision.

 

In this case even though I sent in new evidence to the Ombudsman

she ignored it (or interpreted it in favour of the bank) so that the adjudicator's decision stood.

 

After all, you can't have an ombudsman reverse an adjudicator decision that was the result of serious procedural irregularities.

 

By the way, FOS takes at least a month to below

decision FOS.pdf

Edited by dx100uk
external link to pdf removed.pdf attached directly - dx
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To me, it seems as though the Adjudicator and Ombudsman issued a reasonable and sensible decision in your case.

 

What exactly were you hoping to achieve?

 

Thanks for your input. I respect and value your opinion.

 

Although, I MUST say you've based your opinion on the OMBUDSMAN's VERSION of events and my INITIAL commentary only.

 

I'm yet to provide further evidence on this forum, which I will do shortly; Even though I doubt of ever persuading or convincing you (even AFTER providing this further evidence).

 

Final comment, you can see Ombudsman are under pressure to reach decisions quickly. Have a look at the two paragraphs:

 

As things were not settled, Mr N brought his complaint to this service where an adjudicator

investigated it. The ombudsman service does not cover Bank of Ceylon and so we could not

look into Mr N’s complaints about acts or omissions of that bank.

 

From the evidence, the adjudicator was satisfied that Bank of Ceylon (UK) had taken

reasonable steps to try to assist Mr N is his complaints to Bank of Ceylon. It was not in a

position to provide advice about the international transfers, as these were between

Bank of Ceylon and another UK bank.

 

Now go ahead and check the decision for DRN7913016 (see attached file).

 

As things were not settled, Mr V brought his complaint to this service where an adjudicator

investigated it.

 

From the evidence, the adjudicator did not consider that PayPal had treated Mr V unfairly or

acted outside the terms of the account. Because of that, the adjudicator did not recommend

that the complaint should succeed.

 

Don't tell me she's NOT using a template letter and changing a few words around. More to the point, how long do you think she spent writing the decision?, how long to review the file? The inconsistencies are so glaring, it couldn't have been long. Actually slightly longer for my complaint, because comments like

 

...something of a mis-match between the service Bank of Ceylon (UK) is prepared to provide and the service Mr N feels he could reasonably expect to receive.

 

cannot be pulled out of thin air.

 

In answer to your question.

 

> What exactly were you hoping to achieve?

 

I was hoping for a fair, impartial and unbiased process, followed by a fair, impartial and unbiased decision. Are my expectations too high?

 

> To me, it seems as though the Adjudicator and Ombudsman issued a reasonable and sensible decision in your case.

 

my thought's on the reasonableness is pretty clear from the above. Sensible decision?, Not in the long-run.

fos decision DRN7913016.pdf

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Although, I MUST say you've based your opinion on the OMBUDSMAN's VERSION of events and my INITIAL commentary only.

 

That's true. Though, I could only base my opinion on what you presented here.

 

Final comment, you can see Ombudsman are under pressure to reach decisions quickly. Have a look at the two paragraphs:

 

...

 

Now go ahead and check the decision for DRN7913016 (see attached file).

 

...

 

Don't tell me she's NOT using a template letter and changing a few words around. More to the point, how long do you think she spent writing the decision?, how long to review the file? The inconsistencies are so glaring, it couldn't have been long. Actually slightly longer for my complaint, because comments like

 

...

 

cannot be pulled out of thin air.

 

Most published Ombudsman decisions that I've seen follow a similar format and use similar simple phrases. That isn't evidence of rushing to reach a decision quickly.

 

In answer to your question.

 

> What exactly were you hoping to achieve?

 

I was hoping for a fair, impartial and unbiased process, followed by a fair, impartial and unbiased decision. Are my expectations too high?

 

There's no evidence that the the decision was not fair, impartial or unbiased.

 

Let me rephrase my question - What were you hoping that the FOS would decide in relation to your complaint against BOC (UK)? What would've been your ideal resolution?

Edited by StJane
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Oh!, I'm sure you know a lot more than what I've presented here.

 

How did you reach that conclusion? Earlier you pointed out that I had only based my opinion on the FOS decision outcome and your INITIAL commentary. Yet, you haven't posted your "further evidence" so how is anyone meant to take it into account?

 

Allow me to repeat my question - What were you hoping that the FOS would decide in relation to your complaint and what would've been your ideal resolution?

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How did you reach that conclusion? Earlier you pointed out that I had only based my opinion on the FOS decision outcome and your INITIAL commentary. Yet, you haven't posted your "further evidence" so how is anyone meant to take it into account?

 

Allow me to repeat my question - What were you hoping that the FOS would decide in relation to your complaint and what would've been your ideal resolution?

 

I suspect that if you don't agree 100% with the OP you'll be criticised, regardless of if the OP has given all the info or not.

 

If you don't agree : either

1) you are making your decision without knowledge of all the facts (and that is YOUR fault, not the OP's, and no doubt you are meant to be psychic, or

2) You are as unreasonable as the Ombudsman.

 

I wonder if the OP wants advice or mere validation.

 

Incidentally : I concur that the use of a "standard format reply" only means they are using a standard format reply : taking that to mean the issue hasn't been considered is a stretch too far.

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Kindly learn to have some patience. When I post the full commentary, you can draw your own conclusions, rather than me having to spell it out for you.

 

We (consumers) often have to wait months on end for the Ombudsman to decide complaints. So, the least you can do is wait a couple of days (at most).

 

If YOU lot take too long, it's always lack of resources. If we don't post everything all at once (because it's too long), then you've already made up your mind. A proper analogy here would be: Shoot first, think afterwards.

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Easy: don't post without posting the full information.

 

In recognition of the poor service you've had, I'm returning the fee you've paid for my help. Zilch. Nothing.

Let me double that : still nothing.

 

If you waiting until you can post all the relevant information means you needing to "have patience" instead of moving the requirement to "have patience" onto those giving their time and energy, gratis, to help others : so be it.

 

If it means a delay (for you) of "a couple of days (at most)" : so be it.

Nothing you have posted suggests any urgency needed for a reply.

 

If you want "instant gratification" : go pay a solicitor.

If you want both instant gratification and unbridled validation : go pay a poor quality solicitor.

 

Why waste our time with "part of a story"?

And then blame those you expect help from, free of charge, for wanting the full story.

 

Self help site : means you have to help yourself.

Your attitude just makes it less likely people will bother with you.

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Can I suggest that this thread is removed of emotion. Nobody on CAG gets paid to help anyone, mods included. As such any opinion (not advice) is based on what we are told. Telling half the story isn't enough I'm afraid.

 

I fully agree with Bazzas reply to you.

 

Please keep this thread civil or it risks being closed.

If you are asked to deal with any matter via private message, PLEASE report it.

Everything I say is opinion only. If you are unsure on any comment made, you should see a qualified solicitor

Please help CAG. Order this ebook. Now available on Amazon. Please click HERE

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Back in September 2016, I made a SAR to the FOS, so I was able to get documents and call recordings relating to this complaint (after a lot of friction mind you). In one of the calls, a BOC (UK) employee tells the FOS, bank accounts need to be dormant for six years before closure, and that it applies to all customers (hear audio recording attached. check around 50 seconds in to the audio)

 

I think she is wrong. A dormant account is a dormant account. Different rules apply.

 

When a bank closes an account it needs to justify the reasons. BOC (UK) told me it was because the account was inactive and due to the strength of the banking relationship. However, the strength of the relationship was strong. I had been contacting BOC (UK) regularly, However, the ombudsman decided to leave that part out and focus on just the inactive element.

 

Anyway, in one of my emails to the FOS I said:

 

[bOC UK employee Mrs ..... ] has herself said to Ms [FOS staff member] that accounts need to be dormant for six years before closure, and that this applies to ALL customers. Clearly this was not the case with my account closure.

 

In the final decision, the ombudsman says:

 

He understands that six years must pass before an account becomes dormant and is closed, but that did not happen in his case. He also has concerns about whether Bank of Ceylon (UK) kept to the banking conduct of business rules when deciding to close his account.

 

This is not how I understood it, I was telling the FOS what the BOC (UK) staff member told FOS. I was merely saying that she said one thing but did something else, because clearly it hasn't been 6 years since October 2013. this part is indisputable.

 

The ombudsman here has clearly got the wrong end of the stick. Although, for someone who's been issuing decisions for some time now, it seems unlikely this was (amongst others) a genuine error. The errors seem very premeditated and calculated to redeem the bank of it's actions. Not to mention redeem the adjudicator on how he conducted the investigation.

 

The banking conduct of business sourcebook (BCOBS) is clear on when an account can be closed, I emailed FOS the link, and pointed to the relevant part. The ombudsman decision just says:

 

He also has concerns about whether Bank of Ceylon (UK) kept to the banking conduct of business rules when deciding to close his account.

 

Then goes on to say:

 

The dormancy rules which Mr N refers to are to do with the circumstances in which an account may be closed and the proceeds passed to the Dormant Account Scheme (managed by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme).

 

Again, I didn't refer to the dormancy rules, the BOC(UK) staff member did.

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Still shocked by this decision.

 

When BOC (UK) issued their final response letter in May 2016 (after FOS became involved). They said:

 

As we informed you before , Bank of Ceylon (UK) Ltd is a subsidiary of Bank of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and is thus a separate legal entity....

 

This was completely false. They had at no point told me the UK branch was a subsidiary or that it was a seperate entity. The final response letter was the first time they mentioned it.

 

Between the adjudicator issuing his conclusions and the complaint being passed to an Ombudsman, I was communicating with the Manager, Ms F (Because the adjudicator had been pulled off the case). I sent Ms F copies of nine emails; emails between me and BOC (UK), and vice versa, and also BOC (Sri Lanka) to me, where BOC (UK) has been copied. One of the emails from the Chief Operating Officer in BOC (UK) to me copied in BOC (Sri Lanka). It was sent on 30 April 2014 (see attached) and said:

 

May I kindly ask you to communicate direct with BOC [sri Lanka] branch with a [copy] to [Mrs P]* our Customer Services Officer [uK] for anything in relation to the above account in the future...

 

During the ombudsman complaint, I asked Ms F for case file evidence that confirms if I was made aware about BOC (UK) being a subsidiary. She didn't respond to this. I asked her again, then she responded saying:

 

I’ve had a look through the case file, and I’ve not seen any correspondence where the bank refers to itself as a separate entity from Bank of Ceylon (Sri Lanka).

 

I’ve attached a copy of an email dated 30 April 2014, which states to communicate directly with Bank of Ceylon [sri Lanka] branch for anything relating to the account in the future.

 

I’ve also attached all of the emails and additional information you’ve sent me to your case file, and can confirm that an ombudsman will be writing to you with their final decision shortly....

 

She was taking what the BOC (UK) Chief Operating Officer had said completely out of context. (see attachment) The officer who came to the UK branch on a secondment was finishing his tenure, and returning to Sri Lanka. He was basically saying copy in London customer services, and not him as usual.

 

I replied to Ms F saying this:

 

The email dated 30 April 2014 actually says:

 

"May I kindly ask you to communicate direct with BOC [sri Lanka] branch with a [copy] to

[Mrs P] - our Customer Services Officer for anything in relation to the above account in the

future....."

 

As you can see Mr M also says "..with a [copy] to [Mrs P]". As you are aware [Mrs P] is an employee of Bank of Ceylon (UK). "

 

Also, his comments need to be taken in context of the situation. i.e. He was leaving for Sri Lanka for good, after finishing his secondment at Bank of Ceylon (UK). He would have been concerned that any email I send him may go unanswered.

 

As I pointed out in my previous email of 27 January 2017, Bank of Ceylon (UK), did go on to successfully handle/liaise with Bank of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) in November 2015 (much later than 30 April 2014).

 

Therefore, I really cannot accept that we could equate what is said on the 30 April 2014 email with "As we informed you before , Bank of Ceylon (UK) Ltd is a subsidiary of Bank of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and is thus a separate legal entity...."

 

My email was sent 2 days before the ombudsman issued her decision. The ombudsman in her decision says:

 

In fact, he [says he] was invited to copy in the London customer services team with his communications to the branch in Sri Lanka.

 

But then her explanation to this is:

 

It [bOC UK] told Mr N to copy in its customer services department, when he was having problems with Bank of Ceylon in 2014 – though that email also makes clear that he should communicate directly with Bank of Ceylon about the matter.

 

Completely ignoring the remainder of that email. This is a typical example where the FOS picks out evidence that suits their pre-determined notions (and ultimate decision/outcome). The email actually says contact the SL branch for anything relating to THAT account and copy the UK branch. It doesn't tell me it's a subsidiary branch (or a separate legal entity). BOC (UK) went on to handle problems about BOC(SL) after April 2014. If they had told me they were a subsidiary and thus a separate legal entity, surely they wouldn't have handled the later support queries.

 

BTW, when I contacted the BOC (UK) branch about the international transfers, I was of the belief that the transfers originated in UK, because that's what the Halifax bank (recipient bank) had told me.

 

yep, the English language has many uses, but to use it in the manner FOS does. Shakespeare will be turning in his grave.

01-30-April-2014-BOC-UK-to-N-BOC-SL-copied.pdf

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Please see attached FOS Manager's email saying she has not seen any corrospondence from BOC (UK) where they've said it's a separate entity. (Attachment: fos-to-me.pdf)

 

It's worth noting though, after the Ombudsman got involved, BOC (UK) compliance team told the Ombudsman (see attachment boc-uk-compliance-to-fos.pdf ):

 

This customer has been with our Bank for a long period, with BOC (UK) LTD product and the Bank has previously mentioned to him in telephone conversations that any matters relating to Bank of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) needs to be dealt with by them.

 

Funny that!, for one, they don't mention the 30 April 2014 email from Mr M, like FOS has done, but seem to rely on "telephone calls". The other, I've only spoken with them on the phone a couple of times in 2013/14. That was about the account opening. Jurisdiction never came up. If it did, would BOC (UK) have really gone on to assist me with BOC (Sri Lanka) issues as late as November 2015. (see attached email boc-lk-to-me.pdf)

 

By the way, BOC (Sri Lanka) had told me they "routed payments" through the UK branch (See boc-lk-to-me.pdf, page 1)

boc-lk-to-me.pdf

fos-to-me.pdf

boc-uk-compliance-to-fos.pdf

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