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Helping a friend - against LTSB


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Having successfully reclaimed against Lloyds, I am now helping a friend with his claim (also against LTSB). Although I am in unchartered waters now because, when I claimed, LTSB defaulted before it got to a hearing.

 

I am fairly sure I have revised carefully and followed everything correctly, having frequently read lots of threads on here for several months, and followed all the very helpful CAG information provided by some fantastic-ly kind people on here.

 

Also made sure to include, along with over 130 pages in my court bundle, some T's & C's, which I've also posted here on Gary's thread: http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/lloyds-bank/90896-calling-all-lloyds-tsb-6.html?highlight=notlam.

 

The case is due to be heard in court (not Hull, fortunately) in a few days time (on Wednesday) and I am starting to feel quite apprehensive, mainly because it's my friends money (£5k) at stake, not mine.

 

Applied to the court yesterday (by fax) for the defence to be struck out under Rule 3.4(2)© on the basis that we have not received any court documents from the defendant. Will phone the court on Monday to check they received it and to see what's happening.

 

Meanwhile I am preparing for the hearing (assuming it still goes ahead)over this weekend some questions to put to the defence, in the unlikely event that Lloyds turn up. Does anyone have a list of court questions I should put please?

 

Also from what I've read this morning, I suspect the defence may also have requested a strike out on the basis of the recent Hull cases. I will also try to find out about this when I phone the court on Monday.

 

Also, has anyone got a list of the types of questions the judge may put to us, assuming the hearing still goes ahead?

 

Any other advice would be much appreciated.

Lloyds TSB - £3,300.00 + £250.00 from FOS.

***FULL SETTLEMENT RECEIVED***

 

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Here is the Defence (filed on 17th April 2007):

 

1. By opening an account with the Bank, the customer enters into a commercial arrangement with the Bank for the provision of banking services. The Bank is entitled, as part of that arrangement, to charge for those services. At account opening a customer is provided with details of the Bank's charges, currently in a leaflet a guide to our banking charges. By using the account, the customer acknowledges that the charges are incorporated into the contract. For personal customers, a number of services are provided for free, notwithstanding that they are an expense to the Bank. Such services presently include, but are not limited to, providing;

cheques

bank statements

the facility to make payments by direct debit and standing order

debits cards

ATMs (cash machines).

 

2. By maintaining the account in credit, or within any limit agreed with the bank, the customer may avoid most if not all charges. If the customer fails to ensure that there are sufficient cleared funds in the account to cover payments, whether by cheque, debit card, standing order or direct debit, the customer makes a request for a payment to be made from the Bank's own funds. If the Bank makes payment, or returns the payment, it provides a service as specified in the leaflet and makes a charge in accordance with the terms of the contract. On page 1 of the leaflet, the Bank explains that there are normally no charges for everyday banking at Lloyds TSB when your account is in credit. When you use an agreed overdraft, there is no monthly fee and we only charge interest on the amount you are overdrawn each day. Where you go overdrawn without an agreement or where you use special services, such as copy statements, we will make a charge. This guide explains how these charges work, and when they will apply. If you want to use a service that we haven't listed, we'll tell you the cost of that service before you give us the go-ahead.

 

3. There is no breach of contract; the charge cannot therefore be a penalty, consequently there is no requirement that the charge be a pre-estimate of the Bank's loss.

 

4. The customer is given advance warning of charges being imposed; statements show the charges, if any, the customer has incurred during the course of a month, and which will appear as debits on the following month's statement. Customers are warned by letter when they go overdrawn or over their agreed limit without arrangement with the Bank. If the customer fails to remedy the position, and payments such as standing orders and direct debits are refused then again the customer is warned by letter.

 

5. The charges are fair and reasonable, and it is denied that they are unlawful.

 

6. The customer is notified of the charges in plain intelligible language at the conclusion of the contract, and on each monthly statement. The charges are terms which relate to the price payable by the customer for a service provided by the Bank, and pursuant to Regulation 6 of the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999, are not subject to the assessment of fairness.

 

7. In the premises:7.1 the charges are for banking services, and are not damages nor a penalty; 7.2 the Bank is entitled by contract to impose the charges, which are fair and reasonable; 7.3 it is denied that the charges are unlawful or contravene any statute or regulation.

 

8. Further, insofar as part of the Claimant's claim is based on charges levied on his account prior to six years from the date of issue of his claim, that is 23rd March 2001, this part of the claim is statute barred by Section 5 of the Limitation Act 1980. The Defendant is unable to verify the amount claimed prior to the 23rd March 2001 as the Statement of Claim does not show how the amount claimed is arrived at.

 

9. The Claimant's claim is denied in it's entirety. It is further denied that the Claimant is entitled to the sum claimed or to any further sum from the Bank.

Lloyds TSB - £3,300.00 + £250.00 from FOS.

***FULL SETTLEMENT RECEIVED***

 

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That is exactly the same defence I got.

 

I am claiming on 2 accounts from Lloyds TBS the POC on both accounts was the same one was defended on too vague and the other was the same as yours.

 

Mine was transfered to my local court 3 weeks ago and I haven't heard anything from them yet so am totally stressed and confused as to what I should or shouldn't be doing

 

Some people suggest sending a letter to the banks solicitors telling them you are prepared to settle out of court but I don't know what to do

 

We are in the same boat by the looks of things notlam and so if anyone is going to help notlam out you will be helping me out too.

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SusyQ,

 

My friend's case was transferred on 23rd April. Then only three days later, I received a General Form of Judgement or Order letter from the court, saying:

 

THE COURT DIRECTS OF ITS OWN INITIATIVE AS FOLLOWS:

 

The Claimant shall, within 21 days of the date on which this order was drawn up by the court, file at court and deliver to the Defendant answers to the following questions, concluding with the following statement, dated and signed "I believe that the facts stated in this response are true":

 

- Provide a typed list of the charges in dispute, showing the date and amount of each charge and the rate of interest applied;

 

- If only part of the charges is in dispute, show how much is admitted and explain why;

 

2. UNLESS the Claimant complies with paragraph 1 of this order, the claim shall stand struck out and the Defendant may file a formal request for Judgment in default and for the assessment of any costs incurred in the proceedings;

 

3. A party affected by an order made of the court's own initiative may apply to have it set aside, varied or stayed within 7 days of service.

I sent the letter with the information requested (although I had already provided this to the Defendant previously).

 

On 04 May I got another letter from the court:

 

NOTICE of Allocation to the Small Claims Track (Hearing)
giving a date for the hearing, requesting me to contact the court 48 hours before the hearing (for confirmation) and saying
Each party shall deliver to every other party and to the court office copies of all documents on which he intends to rely at the hearing no later than 30 May 2007.
I sent my documents (134 pages per set) but havent had any documents from the Defendant.

 

I think you should ring the court tomorrow morning and ask them what's happening with your claim.

 

Post here, or PM me, if you need any help.

Lloyds TSB - £3,300.00 + £250.00 from FOS.

***FULL SETTLEMENT RECEIVED***

 

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I have phoned the court this morning and was told that as they have received so many claims the judges have asked for them all to be stock piled and they are going to deal with them on mass Wednesday this week - she said that they will probably then order for allocation questionnaires to be sent out.

 

I have to give it 10 days from Wednesday and I should have heard something by then

 

So I should just hold fire until then I guess?

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Good. Hopefully you wont be so worried now knowing things are in hand.

 

If I were you, I would keep a log with the date of every letter and every call you make and how you felt at the time (stressed and confused).

 

When it's all over (and you've won!) you could send a complaint to the FOS (Financial Ombudsman Service) about the bank, as I did:

 

 

From July 2000 to June 2006 we held a bank account with Lloyds TSB and repeatedly throughout this period LTSB made unlawful penalty charges to our account, creating a constant cause of distress for my wife and I for nearly 6 years. Then, just five days after I wrote to LTSB to complain, our overdraft facility was cancelled and the borrowing rate was increased, making our situation even worse. When in April this year the OFT confirmed the view that such charges were unlawful, I decided to try to take the matter up again with LTSB. I wrote letters asking for a refund of the charges and each time the request was refused without justification. I said that we would be willing to consider a reasonable offer to settle the dispute and gave them every opportunity to make one; at the time I did not want to have to face the trauma of a court hearing. Yet still LTSB refused even when they must have known of the well-publicised OFT statement on unlawful penalty and overdraft charges. We could not afford a solicitor so I had to prepare my own case and familiarise myself with court procedures. I spent over 20 hours researching my legal position and compiling 75 pages of supporting documents ready to present the strongest case to the court hearing. I bought and read thoroughly a law book because I wanted to be sure that I could stand up in court and explain my case succinctly and coherently. I also visited the County Court chambers in order to gain experience of the environment. Throughout this time we were both feeling distressed and worried about our finances and the daunting prospect of experiencing a court hearing for the first time.

 

The exchange of correspondence with the bank was as follows:

 

12/02/06 - Letter sent to LTSB to complain about unfair charges made over a six year period.

17/02/06 - Reply received from LTSB - removing my overdraft facility and increasing the rate of interest charged.

27/02/06 - Reply received from LTSB - refund refused.

06/06/06 - Letter sent to LTSB to request refund, in light of OFT statement (April 2005, unfair bank charges).

08/06/06 - Reply received from LTSB - refund refused. Final response.

10/06/06 - Letter sent to LTSB requesting list of all charges.

21/06/06 - Letter sent to LTSB - requesting refund.

28/06/06 - Reply received from LTSB - agreeing to provide details of charges.

15/07/06 - Letter sent to LTSB - claiming charges.

21/07/06 - Reply received from LTSB - refusing refund and declining to add any further comment.

22/07/06 - Letter sent to LTSB - Letter before action requesting refund and interest.

27/07/06 - Reply received from LTSB - enclosing copies of six years statements.

27/07/06 - Reply received from LTSB - Refused to discuss any further.

22/08/06 - Claim issued in County Court (ref. 6HM02120).

25/08/06 - Letter received from court giving Notice that Acknowledgement of Service Has Been Filed and informing me that LTSB intended to defend all of the claim.

30/08/06 - Letter sent to Court requesting amendment to claim.

01/09/06 - Letter received from Court enclosing form N244 to request changes.

05/09/06 - Application Notice sent to Court to amend changes.

28/09/06 - Letter sent to Court with Certificate of Service and amended Claim form.

18/10/06 - Request for Judgement sent to Court.

19/10/06 - Judgment for Claimant received from Court awarding in my favour (in default).

 

Obtaining judgement in default went some way to compensate us for our financial loss but I feel it did not provide any compensation for the non-financial distress, inconvenience and unfair treatment we received from LTSB. During the period we felt embarrassed and humiliated by the penalties being imposed by a large multi-national bank and we were eventually forced to change bank accounts after being a loyal customer for over 32 years, when our overdraft facility was withdrawn. We had to endure the threat and embarrassment of returned cheques, standing orders and direct debits being refused due unfairly and entirely to the aggregated debt that the bank had imposed on us over the period. We then had to apply to another bank in order to open a new account and I had to cancel standing orders and set up new ones and try to re-establish a healthy credit record with our new bank. The judgement award only covered repayment of money that was lawfully ours, plus the interest that would have accrued on the account during the six year period that we were indebted to LTSB. The award did not include any apology from LTSB, nor did it include any compensation for the time, expense, distress and inconvenience caused to us during the period it took to recover our money and we feel that our personal reputation and credibility has been tarnished by LTSB.

I got a further award from the FOS of £250.

Lloyds TSB - £3,300.00 + £250.00 from FOS.

***FULL SETTLEMENT RECEIVED***

 

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That letter is excellent - good on you!

 

I hate TSB with a passion, they have made our lives so stressful over the last 3 years and its only getting worse now with the whole court thing looming.

I know what I need to put in my bundle but understanding it so that when and if (but knowing my luck when) it goes to court I will be happy standing infront of a judge because I know what I am talking about - at the moment I have no clue.

 

Was the book you bought helpful? Would you recommend me doing the same thing?

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Thanks.

 

I felt the same but the main issues aren't that complicated and I and others here, far better than me, can point you in the right direction, if you ask.

 

Just go step by step and see what the next letter from the court says - at the rate it's going on your claim you should have plenty of time to read up on it on this site and the key points really aren't all that complicated.

 

I know it's easy to say but try not to get too worried.

 

The book helps to give some useful information but I would recommend you read more of the blogs on here to get really familiar with what you are doing.

 

Seems like you're doing ok.

  • Haha 1

Lloyds TSB - £3,300.00 + £250.00 from FOS.

***FULL SETTLEMENT RECEIVED***

 

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I think as long as I understand the law behind the whole unfair bank charges and the information in my court bundle and why it is included then I should be okay?

What info are you/did you include in your bundle?

 

You are being really helpful - I will click your scales. x

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Called the court this morning to see if the hearing is still on and whether the court had received my letter (requesting the defence be struck out, for not providing any documents).

 

The court office said the judge hadn't looked at the letter and that the provisional hearing was still listed as going ahead on Wednesday. Defendant doesn't have to send any further documents if it intends to rely soley on the defence already given. Fair enough.

 

Also asked the court officer if I can attend with my friend. She said I can but that I cannot participate in the hearing, as I'm not listed as a litigant. I pointed out that this seemed a bit unfair that LTSB can bring as many people along as they want but I can't.

 

She said I can write to the court about it if I want, which I will do today.

 

- Thanks SusyQ

Lloyds TSB - £3,300.00 + £250.00 from FOS.

***FULL SETTLEMENT RECEIVED***

 

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It looks that way but, while I hope I'm not being complacent, I feel I've prepared as well as I can and it's only a provisional hearing.

 

So I suppose the Judge will just try to narrow down on the key issues and give us more directions rather than strike out the claim. I hope so any way:(.

 

I would prefer it though, if it was my money I was playing with here, rather than my friend's.

Lloyds TSB - £3,300.00 + £250.00 from FOS.

***FULL SETTLEMENT RECEIVED***

 

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You are brave. I soooo hope my claim doesn't get that far but understand I have to prepare for it doing just that!

 

Let me know how you get on Wednesday?

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My friend received a payment from LTSB into his account yesterday. No letter, no explanation and £2,000 short of the £5.7k we now claiming.

 

When he tried to find out about it, nobody seemed to know; not his local branch, not the LTSB solicitors, not the phone number on his statement. He was just given the run around with a different phone number and then a continual message saying "sorry, due to the high number of calls..............zzzzzzzzzzzzz.............

 

So we go to court tomorrow morning not knowing what's going on.

Lloyds TSB - £3,300.00 + £250.00 from FOS.

***FULL SETTLEMENT RECEIVED***

 

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I can't believe how crap LTSB are - the only thing in your favour is that they have paid him some money and they are that irubbish they don't know when or why they did it!

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The fact thet athey are swamped is good for me and others at the same stage as me - It means they won't produce court bundles, miss deadlines etc

 

If they didn't mess about using delaying tactics and just pay up like we know they will they wouldn't be as swamped as they are :rolleyes:

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At the top level, I am sure, the bank's policy of apparent sloppiness and delaying is deliberate.

 

They know very well, the longer it takes, the more likely some of us will give up (die even) and eventually they will find a way to wriggle out of the mess they are in on all this.

 

They will gradually find more "friendly" judges, as they have started to do in Birmingham and Hull to seize on any feeble reason to strike out our claims and make outrageous decisions, against the public interest.

 

Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed their local court, being far less helpful/amenable recently, than they used to be?

 

Now Judges seem to be allowing the banks to miss deadlines, to not supply court documents and to not even to require them to turn up at court to defend themselves (and still win), which I find bloody amazing.

 

Ooops...getting on my soap box now :evil:

Lloyds TSB - £3,300.00 + £250.00 from FOS.

***FULL SETTLEMENT RECEIVED***

 

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Thanks SusyQ.

 

Hoping not to be in the news tomorrow, as another victim of rough justice!

 

Here goes.............

Lloyds TSB - £3,300.00 + £250.00 from FOS.

***FULL SETTLEMENT RECEIVED***

 

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Well, just got back from what I thought would be a provisional hearing, which I assumed meant we would be given outline directions or instructions for the proper hearing later but it soon became clear that this was the real thing. Felt like an ambush, in that respect and I'm still a bit numb.

 

A Witness statement from the defendant also landed on the mat this morning. Clearly the two week rule for documents doesn't seem to apply if you are a bank.

 

LTSB sent a Barrister from London but said she was only there to contest, in principle, the part of the claim for contractual interest (citing Halliday v HBoS plc), having been informed that LTSB had paid the rest of the claim the day before; but without sending any letter informing my friend what the payment was for, or without LTSB's own staff knowing what it was for exactly when he phoned to enquire.

 

Was madly scribbling notes throughout while also trying to follow what the judge was saying, as well as trying to put forward my own arguments.

 

Need to gather my thoughts now before saying too much but I felt I did as well as I could given that we were in there an hour and a half, which was much longer than I'd anticipated.

 

Trying to decipher my own notes now but in summary, briefly this is how I remember the main points:

 

- the Judge dismissed the balance of the claim (contractual interest at 29.8%) citing a) the recent Birmingham ruling, b) a case involving Lordsvale Finance PLC 1996 and another case involving Voller.

 

- instead of 29.8% the bank was instructed to pay 8% statutory interest plus court costs.

 

- there was no breach and the charges were not unfair and were not penalty charges. The bank had no obligation to repay the charges that had been made (even though it had already done so the day before the provisional hearing), nor to disclose commercially sensitive information about them and how it's profits are made. "Banks commercial affairs are complicated".

 

- the rates the bank charges for unauthorised borrowing bear comparison to other banks. So not unfair or unreasonable.

 

The judge seemed to be thoroughly pre-prepared for this case and had obviously read up a lot on everything, much more so than the Barrister even; she didn't have or need to say much at all. I have a feeling his summary of the legal issues will probably have implications for others and be referred to by other judges, not just for those claiming contractual interest but the whole claim, the issue of breach, or not, and penalty, or not.

 

Lots more to report but need to think about what went on today first.

Lloyds TSB - £3,300.00 + £250.00 from FOS.

***FULL SETTLEMENT RECEIVED***

 

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This is a horrifying turn of events - certainly reads like an ambush. You do sound as though,having been through it before, you were well prepared and very bravely offering to help your friend out.

 

It sounds like you got bounced into having a hearing there and then - you'd only just received a late defence paper (out of time it appears) and you had been informed this was a prelim hearing. I am left with the impression that the court - the judge - has acted in bad faith. I trust one of the moderators will advise you on this if this thread is brought to their attention (by private message?)

 

It does sound like one of these fairly hostile experiences which occasionally happens - haven't heard of them sending a barrister before - but I'm only fairly new to this forum and am awaiting a hearing date having claimed in March.

 

There are lots of strands to your record of your experience and some lessons need to be learned by the rest of us. The bank should not be allowed to abuse court process like this and the court should not be colluding with them. Bad.

 

You say they opposed the contractual interest, had to pay the 8%, but on what? if the charges were not allowed?

 

Then again, why would they pay out £3,700 while saying you are due nothing from them (in their defence).

 

Is there a right of appeal? The handling of this case really needs to be looked at - I'm sure you should complain to the relevant authority (on advice) and go for the full amount, notwithstanding this bruising encounter.

 

Take a few days off and take a fresh look at your options! This is a strange one indeed!

 

Best of luck whatever you decide. Apart from anything else, you are a true friend. It's not his/her money you're dealing with, it's his/her debt. Lloyds has the money!! That's what you're in this for.

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It sounds like you got bounced into having a hearing there and then - you'd only just received a late defence paper (out of time it appears) and you had been informed this was a prelim hearing.
It certainly felt like that.

 

I asked the judge if we could have time to consider what was being said by the defence and by him but he said something like "the court schedule was too tight to allow that and presumably the Barrister wouldn't be happy to wait around (or words to that effect).

 

I would love to get hold of the full transcript but I am led to believe it is very expensive.

Lloyds TSB - £3,300.00 + £250.00 from FOS.

***FULL SETTLEMENT RECEIVED***

 

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