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Suing Santander for failing to remove adverse report


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My wife and I  went in branch to withdraw all funds and close our Santander bank accounts and to pay off the balance and  close my credit card account. Having closed the current accounts,  the cashier told me how much was needed to settle the credit card account and I paid the figure requested (around £3500) and closed the account. A few days later I received a letter from the branch manager saying they did not actually close the account because it still had 11p as a positive balance in it. Somehow they didn't know what to do with the 11p they owed me.

 

Later,  I  received a phone call from customer services saying an Amazon debit had been applied for £9 but they would absorb the debit . Then another call saying Tesco had also had a £120 debit applied but they would not absorb that one. In short, they would not close the account unless I cleared new debit. These payments were  online payments which had been in the pipeline for a few weeks but which had not been processed by the retailers until the items were actually sent. I had forgotten about them, but would have expected them to have been rejected  by Santander (the retailers then complain to me for a new payment method). Instead Santander honoured them a week after they should have closed the account in the first place and refunded my 11p.

 

During the phone call,  I argued the amounts  should have been rejected,  but I would pay them straight away. I ended the call and went online to transfer the funds, only to find that because my current accounts had been closed, my login details had been blocked and I could not access my accounts to check the exact amount due to pay off the credit card account. So I did not make the payment that day. I tried again later and also failed, then a few days later went back to the branch.

I was now told that I now had a late payment charge added to the amount.

 

After much correspondence (effectively me stating I was happy to pay the amount due and would do so when they waived the charges and now interest), they continued to refuse and made monthly late payment and interest charges and suplied adverse reports to Experian.

 

Eventually, they sent me a default warning notice and gave me two weeks to pay. I decided to pay the amount of the two transactions and the charges and interest, under duress and only to avoid the default notice being issued. They accepted the payment and I received a letter stating the account was now zero.............but it would still not be closed for 6 months.

 

I then checked my credit reference file and have found they have lodged 5 adverse reports of late payment. I complained to the FSO but my complaint was made 6 days beyond the 6 months deadline for making the report after Santanders final response.

 

So, I am now going to issue the summons for repayment of around £68 in late payment and interest charges. But more importantly, I want the judge to examine whether the account  should have been closed on the date and time I paid it off. And whether Santander should simply have sent me an 11p cheque rather than keep the account open. It seems to me, that because I was unable to clear these later two payments because I had been blocked from login on, the issue was caused by Santander.

 

The question  I need help with is how to word the claim form. Whether I seek  for the judge to make a declaration ordering Santander to remove the adverse reports and repay the money. Or whether I sue for the  money and aske for the judge to order the removal of the adverse reports.  Of course, If I win the claim for the small amount of money, I would think that would imply the adverse reports should be removed. I just need to make sure my claim actually details the cause of action properly.  I am more interested in having the reports removed than the money. 

 

Any thoughts gratefully received.

 

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1. On 16 April 2021 the claimant visited Santander at xxxxxxxx  to close his Credit Card account xxxxxxxx.

 

2.The cashier requested £xxxxx to pay the balance due.

 

3.The claimant paid in the requested amount.

  

4. The defendant failed to close the account as the amount paid in was 11p too high.

 

5. The defendant also failed to place a block on further transactions and later accepted (rather than
return unpaid) two payments totaling £XXX

 

6. The claimant  sought to pay this sum but was unable to access his account as the defendant
had blocked his online sign in details.

 

7. The defendant then charged late payment charges and interest.

 

8. Correspondence ensued where the claimant sought to make payment subject to the charges being waived.

 

9. The defendant refused and applied adverse reports to the claimants credit reference file.

 

10. The claimant paid the balance in full under duress of additional adverse reports.

 

11. The claimant asks the court order the reports be deleted and seeks repayment of the charges, £15 costs and compensation at the discretion of the court.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Summons did the trick. They acknowledged the summons  to say they were defending the whole claim. Then I had an email saying they denied liability but would settle the amount claimed in full as a gesture of goodwill but refused to remove the adverse reports. I refused their offer. Then I had an email saying they agreed to pay in full AND remove the adverse reports. So I call that a good win, although I didn't get the thrill of a court hearing and a judgment.

 

One thing though. Their offer was on the condition I would advise the court that I was discontinuing the claim. I agreed saying I would do so once payment was made. Today, I am told the cheque is on its way but would I discontinue the claim in order to not waste any more of the courts time.

 

The question I have is that when entering details on MCOL, the options are Paid, Discontinued or Settled. It seems to me I should be marking the claim as paid or even settled rather than discontinued. Is there a benefit to Santander in trying to get me to click the discontinue box before I actually get the cheque? And why are they asking me to discontinue in the first place rather than just mark the claim as paid? Should I be smelling a rat?

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Personally I wouldn't tick anything until I received the money and the reports were removed.

That is the leverage that got them to at least commit to the result you wanted and I wouldn't give it up until they have made good on their commitment.

If they are not happy with this sequence of events then you are quite happy to go to court to resolve the matter, and they better get a move on before you are asked to pay the hearing fee.

They know full well that if you do not make good on your commitment to discontinue that either the claim will eventually be stayed or they could likely apply to strike out the claim and be awarded costs, but not until they have carried out their side of the agreement.

 

Did they offer to pay your costs of issuing the claim?

Personally I would tick settled and if they don't like it they can defer to the court for their next steps but be mindful they may make a point of challenging this as they care a lot about their reputation, ultimately I wouldn't imagine it to be of great significance as the solicitors will be mainly be focussed on boasting to their client that they saved their bacon at less cost than going to court.

Did you issue a paper N1 or issue the particulars separately as I cannot see that they would have fit into the MCOL text limits?

Did they agree a date by which the reports would be removed?

Who did Santander use as their solicitor?

 

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They removed the adverse reports the same day as making the payment which included the issue fee. They used their own legal dept.   Ben Spivey, Legal Council Retail Litigation, Santander, Deansgate, Manchester.  I ticked the Paid box on MCOL to discontinue the claim.

 

I am disgusted with their tactics. I had written letters to their  Chief Exec, N Bostock but all replies were made by  Michelle  Anderson Senior Complaints Manager. Everything absolutely refuting their contribution to the whole problem and refusing to cancel the fees and removing the reports. I issued a formal complaint to the FSO, but made it a few days too late. Santander rejected the compliant as out of time and refused to allow the FSO to consider it further.

 

I issued Notice Before Action and the summons, and they paid up within within 3 weeks.

 

Seems to me this is their whole strategy. To fight to the bitter end and hoping their customers will not bother to pursue. Then settle the ones that do, because it is cheaper in the long wrong.  Little disappointing to not have it heard in court, but not much I could do about that. 

 

You are right about MCOL not having enough room for detailed particulars. I squeezed it in by making it all one paragraph without spacing lines.

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