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PhantomD Vs Barclaycard


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Hey folks,

This one's been going on since November, but I've been far too lazy to post anything up so far. I'm going to try and rectify that over the next few days, but to keep things simple, I'll tackle it one part at a time. First up, some background:

I first opened my Barclaycard account when I was a student. It was the usual 'open an account and get a freebie' offer that they like to lure students in with, and the credit limit was only £350, so I wasn't too worried about being able to pay it off each month.

Like most students though, I ran out of money towards the end of the winter term. Barclaycard very kindly charged me £15 for missing a payment. They didn't write to me or anything, just added £15 on to my usual statement as a penalty charge. Of course, being a somewhat naive student, I thought this was par for the course and let it go.

Unfortunately for me, it was around this time that Barclaycard stopped sending me statements regularly. Occasionally they'd turn up before a payment was due, but generally if they turned up at all, it would be too late for me to make a payment in time. I know it's my responsibility to make sure payments are made on time, but surely Barclaycard could have done more to make sure I got my statements? I was getting a late payment fee (now raised to £20) nearly every month, my credit record was being shot to pieces, and because I couldn't afford to clear the balance, the charges had now taken me over my credit limit and were causing me to incur even more charges on top!

Repeated calls to Barclaycard on the matter didn't fix anything - I still wasn't getting my statements on time. My three attempts to get them to set up a direct debit were unsuccessful. Three times I sent off a signed direct debit form, and three times they claimed it didn't arrive - you'll notice later on in this saga that Barclaycard likes to blame the post office for a lot of their shortcomings...

Finally, in August 2005 I had enough money to pay off my Barclaycard in full and close the account. This was the last I thought of it until I read an article on the internet in October 2006 about how the charges I'd incurred had been illegal. Having moved house a fair few times since I first opened my Barclaycard, I knew I didn't have all of my statements, so I took the usual first step of sending off a DPA letter...

More on that the next time I have a few minutes free.


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Welcome. Or maybe not if you've been around a while. Whatever. :-D


Don't worry about time, one thing with B/card is that you'll have plenty of that on your hands to chat! They pay in full, but by gum, they take their sweeeeeet time about it!!! :rolleyes:

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Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin…

Right, I left off with me sending a DPA subject access letter off to Barclaycard to get copies of the statements that I had either lost or never received in the first place. I made sure I included the £10 statutory fee, and gave Barclaycard 40 days to reply. Knowing Barclaycards habit for claiming not to have received things, I sent my letter by recorded delivery. Someone at Barclaycard signed for it on 01/11, so I started the 40 days from then.

By early December, I’ve had nothing from them, so I decided as a courtesy to phone them to remind them that they have only ten days left to reply. This was a big mistake. The customer services agent I spoke to didn’t seem able to comprehend any questions that wasn’t in the Barclaycard approved script. I eventually managed to get put through to a supervisor who told me that my complaint hand been responded to in mid-November. Of course, I hadn’t received it.

After much discussion, it turned out that they had sent their reply to the address the card had been registered with, not the address I had put on my letter. Luckily for me this is my parents’ house, so I could have asked them to post it on to me, but I instead asked Barclaycard to send another copy to my new address and eagerly awaited its arrival.

I shouldn’t have got my hopes up. The letter that turned up (the day before the 40 day deadline expired) was a form letter expressing regret that I had decided to leave Barclaycard, and confirming that they had now closed my account. Bear in mind that this was an account I’d already closed over 12 months ago.

On 12/12, with the 40 day limit expired, I made a complaint to the Information Commissioner.

And more on how that went next time…


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Welcome. Or maybe not if you've been around a while. Whatever. :-D


I've been lurking about since February, but frustration about my conversation with Barclaycard yesterday finally prompted me to start writing about my experiences. It's mainly for my own benefit - it's quite cathartic to have a moan. But it’s nice to know that someone's reading it too!


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I left off last time having just sent a complaint in to the Information Comissioner on 12/12. The ICO sat on my complaint over the Christmas holidays (hardly surprising), but finally responded on 16/1. It’s a pretty standard response:


I understand from your correspondence that you made a subject access request to Barclaycard via recorded delivery on 1 November 2006 enclosing a cheque for £10. You have received no correspondence from Barclaycard in response to this request or your chaser letter. As the 40 day response period has now passed you wish to complain about a possible breach of the Act.


On the basis of this information, it does appear that there has been a contravention of the sixth data protection principle, which requires data controllers to process personal data in accordance with data subjects' rights. This is because Barclaycard has not responded to your subject access request. We have formed the view, therefore, that it is unlikely that the processing concerned has been carried out in compliance with the provisions of the Act.


So, after receiving a nudge from the ICO, Barclaycard hung around for a month and then finally sent me copy statements dating back to the account opening. The letter was standard boilerplate, which doesn’t really apply in my case – they claim they sent me microfiche-stored statements as a gesture of goodwill towards one of their customer, but I haven’t been a Barclaycard customer for over 18 months. Besides, giving me what I am legally entitled to weeks after the legal deadline is hardly a goodwill gesture, is it?


I’m far too much of a geek to use any of the interest calculators on this website – I’d much rather make my own (If anyone would like a copy, I’ll see if I can post it up somewhere). By my reckoning, Barclaycard have taken £365 from me in unfair charges, and I’ve been unnecessarily charged just under £50 of interest by them because of those charges. By the time you add statutory interest at 8%, my claim is for just over £500.


So on 26/02 I finally had the information I needed to send them a letter requesting repayment of unfair charges. I sent off the usual boilerplate, and gave them 14 days to respond. They didn’t.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hey Kids,


I left you having just sent off a letter requesting repayment of unfair charges from Barclaycard. They didn't reply within the 14 days I gave them, so I sent them a letter warning of my intention to begin legal preceedings against them if they didn't repay my charges within a further 14 days.


I finally got a reply from them last week, enclosing a letter they claim to have sent to me two weeks beforehand. In true Barclaycard fashion, it never arrived. How they can run their business with so poor a postal service in this country amazes me ;). I have made sure all my letters to Barlclaycard have been sent by recorded delivery so that I can check they have been recieved. It's a shame they can't be bothered to do me the same courtesy.


Anyway, the general drift of their letter was that 'as a goodwill gesture and without any admission of liability' they had refunded to my account the difference between the amount they charged me and the '£12 fee recommended by the OFT'. I closed my account over a year ago - Does anyone know if it is legal for Barclaycard to re-open a credit card account in my name without my permission?


In the OFT's own words, 'A default charge is not fair simply because it is below £12'. This is hardly a recommendation that banks charge £12, and yet Barclaycard are obviously of the opinion that I am stupid enough to believe their letter. I am also pretty annoyed that they have re-opened my account and put some hush money in it as 'a goodwill gesture'. I would be far more impressed if they had offered payment and left it to me to decide if I want it. I assume it's some sneaky accounting technique?


There are some choice quotes in this letter - I'm assuming it's a standard one, but I particularly liked:


We believe that our charges are both fair and transparent...
Versus the OFT:


Where credit card default charges are set at more than £12, the OFT will presume that they are unfair...
I also liked their bit of advice towards the end of the letter:


May I take this opportunity to remind you that the best way to avoid similar charges in the future is to remain within your credit limit and ensure that your monthly payment reaches us with [sic] the required timeframe.
Why, thanks for the advice, Barclaycard, but as I'm no longer one of your customers, what business of yours is it how I run my finances?


Anyway, the 14 days I gave them to respond are now up, so I intend to begin a claim using MCOL. I have refused their offer of settlement via telephone (another big mistake - dealing with Barclaycard by telephone is like pulling teeth), and have said I will confirm this by letter. Do I need to refuse their offer first, or can I start court proceedings immediately?





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