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More OFT questions


crfx250
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It seems clear to me that the OFTs initial review on current account charges and recent anouncement of a further in-depth investigation

into the whole retail banking market, has and will involve far too much

influence and pressure from the banking industry, if the OFT is to come

up with a truly independent, balanced and credible conclusion.

 

To that end I've whacked off another FoIA request to try and find out

if they listen to anyone else other than the banks.

 

 

From: xxxxxx

 

 

To: Jennifer Slocombe

CPE Group

Office of Fair Trading

2-6 Salisbury Square

London

EC4Y 8JX

31/03/07

 

 

Freedom of information request

 

 

Dear madam

I wish to make a formal request under the freedom of information act.

 

Please find enclosed a cheque for £600. Please let me know if you require any additional fee.

 

 

This request, unlike my previous and unsuccessful effort, I suspect, would be simple, quick and inexpensive to fulfil. Also, although a layman in this area, I cannot think of any exemptions that could be used against it.

 

However, if you do manage to seek out the cosy haven of an exemption, could you please answer the general enquiry (enclosed) which takes the form of a multi-choice questionnaire which would require even less effort, time, and not to mention, honesty.

 

 

Information requested

 

(All the information relates to your recent initial review of bank current account charges)

 

 

1) The total number of banks, financial institutions and trade bodies consulted to date in consideration of the review

 

2) The total number of people from the banking industry consulted to date in consideration of the review

 

3) The total number of consumer groups consulted to date in consideration of the review

 

4) The total number of consumers consulted to date in consideration of the review

5) Err.. that’s it

 

 

Regards

 

xxxxxxxxxx

 

Multi-choice questionnaire

 

 

Please highlight the correct or most relevant answer

 

 

(All the information relates to your recent initial review of bank current account charges)

 

 

 

1) Can you estimate the number of banks, financial institutions and trade bodies consulted to date in consideration of the review.

 

a) 50

 

b) 100

 

c) 250

 

 

2) Can you estimate the number of people from the banking industry consulted to date in consideration of the review.

 

a) 100

 

b) 250

 

c) 500

 

 

3) Can you estimate the number of consumer groups consulted to date in consideration of the review.

 

a) 0

 

b) 1

 

c) 2

 

 

4) Can you estimate the number of consumers consulted to date in consideration of the review

 

a) 0

 

b) 1

 

c) 2

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  • 3 weeks later...

I've had confirmation from the OFT that they will deal with this by

May 5th but the letter was full of the usual potential exemptions why

they may not honour it.

 

In the meantime I'm still looking for some meaningful answers to the credit

card defualt charge issue and I won't rest until I get em.

 

From: crfx 250

 

To: Jennifer Slocombe

CPE Group

Office Of Fair Trading

Fleetbank House

2-6 Salisbury Square

London

EC4Y 8JX

 

20/4/07

Your ref T/C/3815

 

 

Dear Jennifer

 

Thank you for your letter of 29 March 2007.

 

In response to your answers, I’ll deal with them as they were laid out.

 

1) Your answer to this point was wholly inadequate but as you stated you are not prepared to add anything to this point, I won’t bother asking you again. I’ve since taken this issue up with another department and for the record I’d like to explain why:

 

The statement ‘’calculating fair default charges in credit card contracts’’ was by your own admission, nothing to do with calculating fair default charges whatsoever. The £12 figure quoted in the statement again, by your own admission, had nothing to do with what a fair figure should be whatsoever. I only know this because I’ve read the statement in full and badgered you for clarification.

 

The important thing here, Jennifer, is that the vast majority of people won’t have the luxury of my knowledge and put the statement’s title together with the £12 figure and come to the not unreasonable conclusion that £12 is a fair default charge. This has led to not just consumers

believing that this is indeed the case, but the credit card issuers, industry wide, are abusing this misinformation by quoting this as the ‘’recommended fair charge of the OFT. The damage this glaring faux pas has done is incalculable and will continue unabated.

 

2) Your answer to this one was pretty much as expected. The banks were left to decide themselves what figure to use. And that figure ,the laughable £12, you claimed to bring ‘’considerable benefits to the consumer’’ was simply pathetic. How you can claim a default charge of 1000 percent above what it should lawfully be as a ‘benefit to the consumer’ is beyond my imagination. My guess is that the OFT’s relationship with the banking industry is far too cosy for you to regulate an industry with so many chums on the other side of the fence. With people like Cavendish Elithorn and Christine Farnish to name but a few, swapping sides it can only make the OFT’s ability to make independent, credible and honest decisions impossible.

 

I’m afraid the OFT is fast becoming the laughing stock of the consumer world and yet seems oblivious to this and the real concerns of everyday people as it continues it’s meaningless voyage into the sunset aboard the HMS Useless.

 

3) I will make an apology on this one as the subject of the question was not bank charges but credit card charges, so here it is again.

 

You state that ‘’We consider that to investigate charges set at a lower level would not be the most appropriate use of our resources which would be better directed at cases involving more serious consumer detriment’’ But can you justify this by naming one other area of consumer detriment that surpasses the scale of credit card default charges aside from bank default charges? As the real cost of administering defaults is measured in pence, the amount the consumer is ripped off by in £12 charges runs into billions and affects the poorest and most vulnerable in society.

 

Regards

 

crfx 250

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The next step is easy. Send a 14-day LBA for £40 billion as a result of the negligence on the part of the OFT/DGFT since UTCCR 1994 were passed. :p

 

I think this thread needs to go to the 'Garden. Unless of course you did actually send a letter of that text to the OFT, in which case you are hereby awarded the Order of the Balls of Steel, for incredible steel-ballery in the face of an inept government body. We should also see the responses too.

HSBCLloyds TSBcontractual interestNew Tax Creditscoming for you?NTL/Virgin Media

 

Never give in ... Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy. Churchill, 1941

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