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    • Hi @BankFodder
      Sorry for only updating you now, but after your guidance with submitting the claim it was pretty straight forward and I didn't want to unnecessarily waste your time. Especially with this guide you wrote here, so many thanks for that
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Fred_Funk v NatWest


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Guys,

 

Firstly, I'd like to offer my thanks to those responsible for this website and all the extremely helpful information it contains.

 

I've been dipping in and out of the forums for a few weeks now and have reached the stage where I want to move things forward.

 

I've done my best to avail myself of all the advice offered so freely but, be that as it may, there remain a couple of things I'd like to get clear in my head before proceeding. With that in mind, I'd be grateful if there's anyone who can help me with the following...

 

(1) I've just agreed a repayment plan with the NatWest lending centre to reduce my level of borrowing from in excess of £2,000 to within my £1,000 overdraft facility over the course of the next six months.

 

That being the case, and bearing in mind I would estimate I'm owed a sum in the region of 5k, is this 'a good time' to fire off my DPA letter?

 

That's to say, on receipt of my correspondence, is NatWest likely to renege on our agreement and demand immediate repayment of everything I owe them which, clearly, would cause me significant difficulties?

 

(2) Assuming that, ultimately, I succeed in getting my money back is it safe to assume NatWest will, at that point, either remove my overdraft facility or, worse still, close my account? And, if it's the later, what kind of effect might this have on my already poor credit rating?

 

Thanks in anticipation of your help and co-operation.

 

Fred_Funk

NatWest: seeking unlawful charges + interest incurred as a result of those charges of £4,292.82 and contractual interest (compounded) of £4,559.41. Court claim issued 16.01.08; acknowledgement of service filled by Cobbetts on 30.01.08

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Hi, welcome and good luck.

 

I don't think I've read about them taking such action but I understand your thinking. I have a large overdraft facility with them and I to would be screwed if the demanded it back, but I think its a calculated risk which you need to take.

 

The FAQ section answers almost everything.

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Omega 3,

 

Thanks for your reply which is pretty much the conclusion I reached myself.

 

Rest assured, I have read the FAQ section and do, I think, have a fairly good grasp of all the issues - it's just nice to have a bit of reassurance you're thinking along the right lines when starting out on something like this.

 

One final thing; can anyone provide me with definitive advice as to which NatWest account charges I can and can't hope to get back? Again, I have trawled through all the threads - or, at least, the great majority of them - but have found a variety of different answers.

 

Thanks again.

 

Fred_Funk

NatWest: seeking unlawful charges + interest incurred as a result of those charges of £4,292.82 and contractual interest (compounded) of £4,559.41. Court claim issued 16.01.08; acknowledgement of service filled by Cobbetts on 30.01.08

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Thanks again Omega 3.

 

Okay, just a couple more questions which, try as I might, I can't find definitive answers to anywhere...

 

(1) I'm still slightly confused by the precise period for which I can seek repayment of my bank charges. I know it's six years, but how exactly is that defined - is it the six years previous to the date of my initial contact with NatWest seeking reimbursement; the six years prior to the landmark OFT ruling; or something else again?

 

(2) I have all my statements going back more than six years and, assuming I can get a definitive answer to the question above, could make a pretty accurate estimate of all the charges I have incurred without making a DPA request. As I see it, the only advantage to be gleaned from going down the DPA route is that NatWest would be obliged to tell me of any manual interventions and, assuming there were none, this would significantly weaken any defence they might subsequently employ.

 

This being the case, is it worth my while pinging off a DPA request, even though I am already in possession of the majority of this information, or do I have nothing to lose from going straight to the second stage?

 

Once again, thanks in anticipation of your help and cooperation!

 

Fred_Funk

NatWest: seeking unlawful charges + interest incurred as a result of those charges of £4,292.82 and contractual interest (compounded) of £4,559.41. Court claim issued 16.01.08; acknowledgement of service filled by Cobbetts on 30.01.08

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Sorry for bumping this back to the top but I'm still hoping someone will be able to provide me with some definitive answers to questions 1 and 2, above.

 

Thanks in anticipation.

 

Fred_Funk

NatWest: seeking unlawful charges + interest incurred as a result of those charges of £4,292.82 and contractual interest (compounded) of £4,559.41. Court claim issued 16.01.08; acknowledgement of service filled by Cobbetts on 30.01.08

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Guys,

 

Sorry for starting a new thread - when I already have one devoted to my claim against NatWest - but this is a question to which, I suspect, I am not the only one seeking an answer.

 

What's more, I have trawled all around the site and while I do not doubt it's out there somewhere, I'm buggered if I can find it!

 

Anyway, it's a simple question - at least, it is if you know the answer...

 

From where does the second lot of interest, ie the one you claim only if things go as far as court, derive? And, more to the point, why is it only applicable if things go that far?

 

Like I say, I'm sure there's a (relatively) straight-forward answer but I'm a journalist not an accountant or a legal expert and I'm blowed if I can work it out.

 

As ever, thanks in anticipation,

 

Fred_Funk

 

Mod note: Answered in Spreadsheet with calculation.

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NatWest: seeking unlawful charges + interest incurred as a result of those charges of £4,292.82 and contractual interest (compounded) of £4,559.41. Court claim issued 16.01.08; acknowledgement of service filled by Cobbetts on 30.01.08

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1) I believe the 6 years is from now - the time you found out the charges were unlawful. It would usually be from the date of your first contact with them - DPA or prelim letter. The statute of limitations sets this limit. However, some people are trying to claim over this limit using other legal arguments, so if you have a lot of charges more than 6 years old you may want to check this out.

 

2) You're right. You don't have to do the DPA request if you alreayd know the charges but the manual intervention thing is a good point. however, they have 40 days to confirm and I think they're rather busy at the moment:-D so it would mean delaying your claim for up to 40 days.

 

It's up to you, I don't know how much not having the confirmation of no manual intervention would affect the case. If they argued it happened, they would have to prove it anyway but it would be nice to have that confirmation before court (if it gets that far).

If you found this post useful please click on the scales above.

 

Egg - £400 - Prelim sent. On hold.

Mint - On the list Est £800

GE Capital - On the list (3 accounts!) Est £4000

 

MBNA - £545 Prelim sent 13/11/2006

LBA sent 1/12/2006

£350 partial payment received 18/12/2006.

Full settlement received 20/1/07

 

NatWest - Est £4000 not incl interest

Data Protection Act Sent 10/1/07

Statements received 24/1/07

Prelim sent 3/2/07

Full Settlement received 22/2/07

 

The contents of this post are the sole opinions of The Cornflake and not necessarily the opinions of any other members of this group. They do not constitute sound legal or financial advice and if in doubt you are advised to seek advice from a qualified professional

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Guys,

 

As ever, your comments would be very much appreciated. Thanks.

 

Fred_Funk

 

 

 

NatWest Customer Relations

Freepost NAT12685

Borehamwood

WD6 1BR

LETTER BEFORE ACTION

Dear Sir/Madam,

 

Account number: XXXXXXXX

Sort code: XX-XX-XX

 

I am writing to request you refund the charges which you have levied from the above account over the last six years.

 

I understand the regime of fees which you have been applying in relation to unpaid direct debits, returned cheques, unarranged borrowing, etc, etc, is unlawful in common law, statute and consumer regulations and unfair according to the Office of Fair Trading report of April 5, 2006.

If you dispute this, then will you please let me have a full breakdown of the costs you have incurred, in order to reassure me that your penalties are justifiable.

 

With this in mind, I must draw your attention to the terms of the contract which we agreed to when I opened my account. It was an implied term of that contract that NatWest would conduct itself lawfully and in a manner which complies with UK law.

 

I calculate that you have taken £X,XXX, as well as a further £XXX in overdraft charges arising as a direct result of these fees. This equates to a total of £X,XXX.

 

Additionally you have entered a default notice against my credit record. This default occurred merely in respect of unlawful charges levied by you or was the result of impecuniosity caused directly by the taking by you of penalty charges which you had applied unlawfully to my account.

 

In addition to full payment of the sum above I require that you remove the default entry from the register. Please note that mere correction or amendment to the entry will not be acceptable.

 

I hope that you will enter into a sincere dialogue with me about this matter and I am writing this letter to you on the assumption that you will choose to do this rather than patronize me with a standard response.

I will give you 14 days to reply to me accepting, unconditionally, my request in principle and letting me know a date by which I will receive payment.

 

If you do not respond, or you do not respond positively, within this time period, I shall send you a letter before action giving you a further 14 days in which to reflect. I believe that these targets are more than sufficient for a large company such as yours, with dedicated staff and departments.

 

After that, there will be no further communication from me and I shall issue a claim at the expiry of the second deadline.

 

Yours faithfully,

 

Fred_Funk

NatWest: seeking unlawful charges + interest incurred as a result of those charges of £4,292.82 and contractual interest (compounded) of £4,559.41. Court claim issued 16.01.08; acknowledgement of service filled by Cobbetts on 30.01.08

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Vampiress,

 

With the help of your trusty spreadsheet, I'm in the process of calcualting my £XXX. Unfortunately, I'm at work now and don't have my bank statements to hand so I can't enter my interest payments right now.

 

Be that as it may, I've played around with some imaginary figures and think I get the gist of it.

 

Would it be fair to say that if I take my estimate of previous charges to be zero - the reality I'm sure is rather different but I don't want to make this any more complicated than it already is - and assume that I've utilised my £1,000 overdraft facility almost every month then, in the first instance, the interest on penalties will be negligible but, after a while, it may well represent the entire month's charge?

 

I'm not sure whether a default notice has been placed though I've certainly been threatened with one; I was rather depending on NatWest to tell me if this wasn't the case. Moreover, I find it hard to believe my credit rating hasn't suffered as a result of all the charges I've incurred. All the same, do you think I'd be better to leave this bit out for now pending a response to my DPA letter (I've got all my statements, hence the letter before action, but will be sending off a DPA letter for confirmation of any manual intervention or not, as the case may be.

 

And finally... given my penalties amount to £4,135, I reckon there's every chance the additional interest might well push the total figure over the 5k mark. This being the case, and bearing in mind what's been said about the small claims court and costs, would I be best advised to cap my claim at this level?

 

Thanks again.

 

Fred_Funk

NatWest: seeking unlawful charges + interest incurred as a result of those charges of £4,292.82 and contractual interest (compounded) of £4,559.41. Court claim issued 16.01.08; acknowledgement of service filled by Cobbetts on 30.01.08

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It sounds like all yoiur interest could relate to penalties, but as you've a large claim you may run the risk of having to prove it. If you use the spreadsheet, at least you can show you've made a qualified effort.

 

Put a reasonable figure in the box relating to prior years, if you can come up with a fair figure.

 

It has been suggested on the site that you split your claim into 2, but do not claim them at the same time. Say, the last three years, then the previous 3 years.

 

Thanks for using my spreadsheet.:D

[

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Guys,

 

The clock is finally ticking; having made a few small changes, sent a copy of my letter before action to NatWest Customer Relations in Borehamwood yesterday - by recorded delivery - and also dropped a copy off at my local branch...

 

NatWest Customer Relations

Freepost NAT12685

Borehamwood

WD6 1BR

LETTER BEFORE ACTION

Dear Sir/Madam,

 

Account number: XXXXXXXX

Sort code: XX-XX-XX

I am writing to request you refund the charges which you have levied from the above account over the last six years.

I understand the regime of fees which you have been applying in relation to unpaid direct debits, returned cheques, unarranged borrowing, etc, etc, is unlawful in common law, statute and consumer regulations and unfair according to the Office of Fair Trading report of April 5, 2006.

If you dispute this, then will you please let me have a full breakdown of the costs you have incurred, in order to reassure me that your penalties are fair and just.

 

With this in mind, I must draw your attention to the terms of the contract which we agreed to when I opened my account. It was an implied term of that contract that NatWest would conduct itself lawfully and in a manner which complies with UK law.

 

I calculate that between June 1, 2000 and May 31, 2006, you will have taken £4,165, as well as a further £660.88 in overdraft charges arising as a direct result of these fees – see enclosed. This equates to a total of £4,825.88.

I hope that you will enter into a sincere dialogue with me about this matter and will provide me with something more than your standard response.

I will give you 14 days to reply to me accepting, unconditionally, my request in principle and letting me know a date by which I will receive payment.

 

If you do not respond, or you do not respond positively, within this time period, I shall send you a letter before action giving you a further 14 days in which to reflect. I believe that these targets are more than sufficient for a large company such as yours, with dedicated staff and departments.

After that, there will be no further communication from me and I shall issue a claim at the expiry of the second deadline.

 

Yours faithfully,

Fred Funk

... am now looking forward to receiving the stock response which, of course, I've already told them I will be dissatisfied with, some time over the course of the next two weeks.

In the meantime, any further advice and/or encouragement would, as ever, be gratefully received.

Thanks again to all those who have helped me get this far - especially Vampiress, without whose spreadsheet I wouldn't have known where to start as regards interest charges.

TTFN

Fred_Funk

NatWest: seeking unlawful charges + interest incurred as a result of those charges of £4,292.82 and contractual interest (compounded) of £4,559.41. Court claim issued 16.01.08; acknowledgement of service filled by Cobbetts on 30.01.08

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Bugger. No one spotted my deliberate mistake! :evil:

 

I inadvertently headed my correspondence 'Letter Before Action' when I should, of course, have titled it 'Preliminary Request for Repayment' or something along those lines.

 

I guess this shouldn't pose a problem - especially as I've been so explicit about exactly what it is I'm looking for - but would, nevertheless, appreciate any reassurance anyone is able to offer. :)

 

Thanks in anticipation,

 

Fred_Funk

NatWest: seeking unlawful charges + interest incurred as a result of those charges of £4,292.82 and contractual interest (compounded) of £4,559.41. Court claim issued 16.01.08; acknowledgement of service filled by Cobbetts on 30.01.08

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Thanks Vamp. That's what I was hoping. :)

 

Fred_Funk

NatWest: seeking unlawful charges + interest incurred as a result of those charges of £4,292.82 and contractual interest (compounded) of £4,559.41. Court claim issued 16.01.08; acknowledgement of service filled by Cobbetts on 30.01.08

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Guys,

 

I got the standard response to my preliminary request for repayment in the post yesterday - save for one thing; it did not contain the following para which, thus far, seemed pretty standard...

 

The OFT has been in contact with us and with seven other major credit card companies to discuss the level of charges on credit cards. It is important that I emphasise these discussions were limited to charges on credit cards only. We will be considering the detailed statement made on 5 April but the OFT on credit card administration charges and we have until 31 May to respond.

 

... given, it would appear, Nat West has made a conscious decision to remove this para from it's standard response what, if anything, can we read into this?

 

Are they on the back foot? Could it be that they've had their knuckles rapped by someone for attempting to mislead their customers? Perhaps someone with a better legal mind than mine might care to comment.

 

Fred_Funk

NatWest: seeking unlawful charges + interest incurred as a result of those charges of £4,292.82 and contractual interest (compounded) of £4,559.41. Court claim issued 16.01.08; acknowledgement of service filled by Cobbetts on 30.01.08

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Maybe they have just realised that the 31st May is WEDNESDAY, they are

breaking into a sweat with no clue how to respond -"charges are fair, reasonable and transparent" doesn't look like a satisfactory response to the OFTs' strong assertions.

And they don't want to remind us [ or themselves?] that the 11th hour is nigh?

This could be a very interesting week.

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As anticipated, I received the following letter from our mutual friend Mr Higley, on Saturday:

 

Thank you for your letter of 25 May 2006 and I apologise for any dissatisfaction caused by the application of charges to your account.

 

We believe that our charges are fair, reasonable and transparent. We consider that the amounts debited to your account have been applied strictly in accordance with your agreement with us and our published tariff, which we are satisfied, complies with all applicable laws and regulations. We are also committed to ensuring the transparency of the information that we give to our customers about the operation of our products.

 

Consequently, againt that background, we must differ with the views that you have expressed and will not be refunding any of the charges applied to your bank account.

 

I am disappointed to note that you are contemplating legal action against the bank. Whilst I hope you will feel able to reconsider, should you decide to go ahead, please ensure that any Proceedings are served on our Registered Office address, which appears at the foot of this letter*

 

I suspect that this is unlikely to be the answer you might have hoped to receive but nonetheless thank you for taking the time and trouble to contact us.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Stuart Higley

Customer Relations

Interesting, if predictable, that though I offered NatWest the opportunity to justify their charges and asked them not fob me off with their standard response, they failed on both counts.

 

Fortunately, they did at least respond promptly which means I can get on and send my LBA.

 

Bring it on! :)

 

Fred_Funk

NatWest: seeking unlawful charges + interest incurred as a result of those charges of £4,292.82 and contractual interest (compounded) of £4,559.41. Court claim issued 16.01.08; acknowledgement of service filled by Cobbetts on 30.01.08

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Here's the letter I sent to NatWest today. As ever, I'd be interested in what anyone might have to say...

Dear Stuart Higley

Account number: XXXXXXXX

Sort code: XX-XX-XX

I am writing in response to your letter of May 26, which, I regret, failed to provide me with any reassurance whatsoever that your penalty charges are fair and just.

In light of that, I maintain that the regime of fees you have levied on my account over the last six years is unlawful in common law, statute and consumer regulations and unfair according to the Office of Fair Trading report of April 5, 2006.

With this in mind, I must, once again, draw you attention to the terms of the contract which we agreed to when I opened my account. It was an implied term of that contract that NatWest would conduct itself lawfully and in a manner which complies with UK law.

As I indicated in my previous letter, I calculate that between June 1, 2000, and May 31, 2006, you will have taken £4,165, as well as a further £660.88 in overdraft charges as a direct result of those fees – see enclosed. This equates to a total of £4,825.88.

I require repayment in full of this money. If you do not comply within 14 days then I shall, without further notice, begin a claim against you for the full amount as well as interest and my costs.

Furthermore, I shall submit a complaint to the Office of Fair Trading on the basis that you have failed to comply with its direction of April 5, 2006, and are, therefore, not a 'fit and proper person' to hold a consumer credit licence under the Consumer Credit Act 1974.

Yours faithfully,

Fred_Funk

cc National Westminster Bank Plc, 135 Bishopsgate, London, EC2M 3UR

NatWest: seeking unlawful charges + interest incurred as a result of those charges of £4,292.82 and contractual interest (compounded) of £4,559.41. Court claim issued 16.01.08; acknowledgement of service filled by Cobbetts on 30.01.08

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Predictably enough, I received the standard response to my leter before action:

 

Dear Fred_Funk,

 

Thank you for your further letter of 29 May 2006.

 

I regret there is little I can add constructively to my last letter and note your proposed course of action. I have alerted our lawyers and litigation department accordingly. May I please remind you that the address to use when initiating legal documents is that of our Registerd Office, below.

 

Thank you for letting me know of your intentions.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Stuart Higley

Customer Relations

 

Anyway, I've registered on the Money Claim website and have begun to fill in my claim but, despite now having spent huge amounts of time reading up on everything, there are a couple places where I'm still more than a little confused and would appreciate some help...

 

The claimant claims interest under section 69 of the County Courts Act 1984 at the rate of 8% a year from {date when the money became owed to you} to {the date you are issuing the claim} of £ {put the amount} and also interest at the same rate up to the date of judgment or earlier payment at a daily rate of {enter the daily rate of interest}.

 

Tell me, what do I put for the 'from' date? I mean, some of the money has been owed to me for six years and some just for a matter of days. I assume I take June 1, 2000 - the date I used in my preliminary letter and my letter before action - as the date when money became owed to me.

 

As regards the amount, would I be right in thinking I have to use Vampress's second spreadsheet to calculate this? And, that being the case, I then add this to the £4,825.83 I asked for in my leter before action to arrive at the 'amount claimed'. Yes?

 

Okay, so far so good. Unfortunately, this is where, as far as I'm concerned, it begins to get really tricky.

 

I'm not at all sure what else to put in my 'particulars of claim'.

 

I've read BankFodder's advice in the Bank Templates Library but I'm not sure I'm capable of turning it into the requisite legalese.

 

BankFodder advises...

 

Your action is on the grounds that:

You have a contract with the defendant bank dated XXXX and which is conducted on their standard terms and conditions. You are claiming the return of money taken by the defendant in the way of charges over the last xx years plus the interest they have levied on those charges. The bank's charges are a disproportionate penalty and therefore unenforceable as they are contrary to common law. Further, as a disproportionate penalty they are invalid under the Unfair (Contracts) Terms Act 1977 s.4 and under the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999. Para.8 and sch.2(1)(e). In the event that the charges are not a penalty then they are unreasonable within the meaning of the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 s.15. You have repeatedly asked the bank to justify their charges but they have declined to do so.

 

Which I've translated to...

 

I have banked with National Westminster Bank Plc, according to its standard terms and conditions, since 1986. I am now claiming the return of money taken by the defendant in the way of charges over the last six years, plus the interest it has levied on these charges. The bank's charges are a disproportionate penalty and therefore unenforceable as they are contrary to common law. Further, as a disproportionate penalty they are invalid under the Unfair (Contracts) Terms Act 1977 s.4 and under the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contract Regulations 1999. Para.8 and sch.2(1)(e). In the event that the charges are not a penalty then they are unreasonable within the meaning of the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 s.15. I have repeatedly asked the bank to justify its charges but it has declined to do so.

 

... will that suffice?!

 

BankFodder also suggests that you should 'lay out your charges'. That being the case, what degree of detail is necessary? Given the lack of space, am I right to assume this can, at this stage, be fairly simplistic?

 

Right, that's enough for now. Thanks in anticipation of your help and co-operation.

 

Fred_Funk

 

 

 

 

 

NatWest: seeking unlawful charges + interest incurred as a result of those charges of £4,292.82 and contractual interest (compounded) of £4,559.41. Court claim issued 16.01.08; acknowledgement of service filled by Cobbetts on 30.01.08

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Tell me, what do I put for the 'from' date? I mean, some of the money has been owed to me for six years and some just for a matter of days. I assume I take June 1, 2000 - the date I used in my preliminary letter and my letter before action - as the date when money became owed to me.

Put the date of the earliest charge.

As regards the amount, would I be right in thinking I have to use Vampress's second spreadsheet to calculate this? And, that being the case, I then add this to the £4,825.83 I asked for in my leter before action to arrive at the 'amount claimed'. Yes?

Either spreadsheet will calculate the 8% interest.

 

I have banked with National Westminster Bank Plc, according to its standard terms and conditions, since 1986. I am now claiming the return of money taken by the defendant in the way of charges over the last six years, plus the interest it has levied on these charges. The bank's charges are a disproportionate penalty and therefore unenforceable as they are contrary to common law. Further, as a disproportionate penalty they are invalid under the Unfair (Contracts) Terms Act 1977 s.4 and under the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contract Regulations 1999. Para.8 and sch.2(1)(e). In the event that the charges are not a penalty then they are unreasonable within the meaning of the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 s.15. I have repeatedly asked the bank to justify its charges but it has declined to do so.

 

... will that suffice?!

 

I would change it slightly to:

 

Claimant has a contract with the Defendant which is conducted on their standard terms and conditions, since 1986. Claimant is claiming the return of money taken by the defendant in the way of charges over the last six years, plus the interest it has levied on these charges. The Defendant's charges are a disproportionate penalty and therefore unenforceable as they are contrary to common law. Further, as a disproportionate penalty they are invalid under the Unfair (Contracts) Terms Act 1977 s.4 and under the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contract Regulations 1999. Para.8 and sch.2(1)(e). In the event that the charges are not a penalty then they are unreasonable within the meaning of the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 s.15. Claimant has repeatedly asked the Defendant to justify its charges but it has declined to do so.

  • Confused 1

Opinions given herein are made informally by myself as a lay-person in good faith based on personal experience. For legal advice you must always consult a registered and insured lawyer.

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barracad,

 

Thanks for that. As I said, I'm not very good on legalese.

 

Still a bit confused as regards the interest. I used Vamp's spreadsheet which gave me £660.88 interest on penalties totalling £4,165.00.

 

My understanding was that this figure, ie £660.88, represents the interest I wouldn't have incurred were it not for the penalties the bank had unlawfully levied.

 

I thought the statutory 8 per cent interest applicable at the court claim stage was something altogether different and, as far as I can ascertain, involved an entirely separate calculation.

 

Once again, any help gratefully receieved! ;-)

 

Fred_Funk

NatWest: seeking unlawful charges + interest incurred as a result of those charges of £4,292.82 and contractual interest (compounded) of £4,559.41. Court claim issued 16.01.08; acknowledgement of service filled by Cobbetts on 30.01.08

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