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    • Hi all, Love this site and it's no nonsense advice, have dipped in and out of the consumer forums over the years, mostly to assure myself that what I was doing was the right thing when dealing with various businesses (almost 100% success rate, thanks in part to reading and more reading here.). Anyway, the time is almost approaching where I might need to ask for some specific help and I have a couple of queries that I can't see definitively answered. Due to financial mismanagement and severe anxiety issues I stopped paying all unsecured debt in December 2018 (one slipped to the first week in Jan 2019 when the last payment was made having rechecked my bank statement from that period - all my unsecured debt direct debits were cancelled in early Jan 2019). This has left half a dozen debts;  a couple of credit cards, a bank loan, Shop Direct and some Hitachi Finance stuff having been sold on and passing the rounds through the usual suspects, Lowells, Link, PRA Group, others related to them, and then back to them again. I have somehow successfully managed to maintain radio silence and avoided anything more worrying than their begging letters.  I have blocked their phone calls and texts, bumped all emails to the spambox and had a chuckle at their desperate letters.  I've never had anybody at the door.  I have been at the same address since before I defaulted and all correspondence comes to my current home address.  I have NEVER contacted them or admitted any debt. In anticipation of them perhaps ramping up action at the last minute I've had a look at my credit report on Credit Karma (rec'd from this very place) and I see that the default dates on these range from May 2019 to November 2019. Also in preperation I've been reading, reading and reading lots here as advised. Obviously being in Scotland there are a lot fewer posts relating to these matters and it's always quite annoying when OP's do not follow up with any outcome on their cases - how rude! This has also left me a bit confused of when I am able to finally breathe easy (although cancelling all the direct debits in Jan 2019 was the biggest sigh of relief as I knew it was all going to be unmanageable and, well, default one, default all.). I've been reading that defaults should be filed 3-6 months after the missed payment but one of my larger debts was defaulted on 27th August 2019 when the last payment I made was 10th December 2018, meaning the first missed payment was 10th Jan 2019.   My query for now is - when should I infer that these debts are prescribed?  From when the payment was missed, or taking the default date plus 5 years from the credit report? The three I have with the May date are moot anyway as either way they are gone  - some letters from Lowell offering me 90% off to settle is what got me thinking these must have been near SB status, however I have one big 10k+ with a July date and another 10k+ at the end of August I am feeling a bit anxious again, even though I know there is nothing to worry about with the begging letters.  Reading the various forums I am not sure why the OC's didn't take action against me when I read time and again the surprise that other posters haven't already been taken to court for lesser amounts - I'm also surprised I've avoided any action this long as there are plenty in this forum and sub forum who are whisked off to the court by the beggers minions after only a year or so after defaulting.  There are no CCJ/decrees listed on my credit report and I have not received any such judgements against me.  I still just regularly receive the begging emails to the spambox, the blocked phone calls and the letters from the they. I'm also reading that there is no need in Scotland to send an LBC so what should I be looking out for to know that the time has come to engage with CCA requests etc? I'm afraid in a fit I threw a lot of the paperwork out but I have a box of stuff I'm going to go through which may have the original letters from the OC's. Thanks in advance for any advice.  
    • I'm at work now but promise to look in later. Can you confirm how you paid the first invoice?  It wasn't your fault if the signal was so poor and there was no alternative way to pay.  There must be a chance of reversing the charge with your bank.  There are no guarantees but Kev  https://find-and-update.company-information.service.gov.uk/company/09766749/officers  has never had the backbone to do court so far.  Not even in one case,  
    • OK  so you may not have outed yourself if you said "we". No matter either way you paid. Snotty letter I am surprised that they were so quick off the mark threatening Court. They usually take months to go that far. No doubt that as you paid the first one they decided to strike quickly and scare you into paying. Dear Chuckleheads  aka Alliance,  I am replying to your LOCs You may have caught me the first time but that is  the end. What a nasty organisation you are. You do realise that you now have now no reason to continue to pursue me after reading my appeal since you know that my car was not cloned. Any further pursuit will end up with a complaint to the ICO that you are breaching my GDPR.  Please confirm that you have removed my details from your records. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ I haven't gone for a snotty letter this time as they know that you paid for your car in another car park. So using a shot across their bows .  If it doesn't deter them and they send in the debt collectors or the Court you will then be able to get more money back from them for  breachi.ng your data protection than they will get should they win in Court-and they have no chance of that as you have paid. So go in with guns blazing and they might see sense.  Although never underestimate how stupid they are. Or greedy.
    • Thank you. Such a good point. They did issue all 3 before I paid though. I only paid one because I didn’t have proof of parking that time, only for two others.    Unfortunately no proof of my appeal as it was just submitted through a form on their website and no copy was sent to me. I only have the reply. I believe I just put something like “we made the honest mistake of using the incorrect parking area on the app” and that’s it. Thanks again for your help. 
    • They are absolute chuckleheads. You paid but because you entered a different car park site also belonging to them they are pursuing you despite them knowing what you had done. It would be very obvious to everyone, including Alliance that your car could not have been in two places at the same time. Thank you for posting the PCN so quickly making it a pity that you appealed since there are so many things wrong with it that you as keeper are not liable to pay the charge. They rarely accept appeals since that would mean they lose money but they have virtually no chance of beating you in Court. Very unlikely that they will take you to Court given the circumstances. Just in case you didn't out yourself as the driver could you please post up your appeal.
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The Great MBNA/Virgin Interest Rate Escalator Trick


MacBoy
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All

 

Hi from a CAG member currently residing in the Halifax Forum :D

 

I've noticed one or two threads about this MBNA con-trick targetting the most vulnerable customers in here, so I thought I'd start another to bring this together and hopefully provide a little insight and help.

 

I have just got off the phone from them this morning to tackle the latest letter and have succeeded again in resisting their proposed rise - this time a whopping 6% :eek::evil:.

 

Background

I have a high balance on a Virgin Card (although nowhere near the limit), which was blocked and my interest rate increased about 2 years ago because of some detrimental information that appeared on my Equifax file (mortgage arrears caused by Alliance & Leicester's incompetence at moving my direct debits when i changed my current account to them from Halifax).

 

Ever since this time (and although the mortgage account was subsequently brought up to date with no other detrimental info on any of my credit files), the block has remained in place and I have had a standard letter every six months (like clockwork) from MBNA/Virgin; giving me a month's notice of an impending interest rate increase (a hefty one, bearing no relation whatsoever to movements in the money markets).

 

Tellingly, the letter is invariably signed off by some arbitrarily-named (and probably non-existent) Marketing Manager/Director.

 

My experience in dealing with it

I have so far succeeded 100% in getting these rises withdrawn. I think I am onto their [problem] and I'm going to share my thoughts. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong and help me refine this, but my approach has worked for me every time so far.

My assessment of the [problem]:

This is a selective and automated process aimed at customers with less-than-perfect account conduct. It is punitive and I believe the objectives are twofold - to squeeze these 'undesirable' clients for as much money as possible while they are on the books - and to rid themselves of those of us who are able to pay off their balances. It's the old inertia trick. Do nothing about it and you're stuffed.

 

The letter is short, sweet and fluffy - a lot of people would probably overlook it or bin it. At any rate few will question it, believing something bearing the 'I'm on the side of the little guy' Richard Beardy branding would be anything other than perfectly above board. Truth is, Beardy sold them this brand long ago and MBNA have done everything in their power to ensure that it has long since ceased to have any cachet :rolleyes:

 

But they wouldn't do it if it didn't work.

 

How I've succeeded in putting a stop to it on my account

  • Call the contact centre - remain calm and friendly at all times - try not to lose your temper.

  • You will be put through to an operator. Explain that you are calling because you received an rate-increase letter and you would like to know the reason why (as the letter doesn't give this)

  • You will then be given a standard (and vague) line about the fact that it isn't only you that is affected. They will stop short however, of saying that it is an across-the-board increase. They may also throw in a comment about the conduct of your account. Bite your lip.

  • Explain to them firmly and calmly that none of this has been detailed in the letter, that you are unhappy and would like to escalate the matter, as you feel sure that the rate rise is punitive and has been applied selectively. You may get some guff about the fact that your agreement provides for a variable rate but stand your ground.

  • You should at this stage be put through to a supervisor, where you'll likely have to go through the scenario again. This time insist that the reason for the rise is set out in a letter to you. If you encounter resistance threaten to report the matter to the FOS for investigation, stating that in order to do this you will consider raising a Subject Access Request under the Data Protection Act 1998, in order to see a copy of all the data they hold about you, in order to understand why you are being automatically selected for usurous interest-rate increases every six months.

It is at this stage that they have backed down on every occasion.

I'm not sure whether what I'm doing is 100% the legally-correct course of action, but something is obviously pressing the right buttons.

 

Good luck and please share your experiences and feedback in this thread so we can fight this disgraceful and questionable [problem] together!

 

Regards

Mac ;)

  • 04/04/07 - £104 exit fee refund - Portman BS
  • Halifax Current a/c 20yr (closed) - in progress - all 20 years statements recovered!
  • Halifax Platinum Card 15 yr - Court Action Commenced - all 15 years statements recovered!
  • A&L Current a/c - You're next..

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COMPLAIN about the ANTI-CONSUMER way in which the OFT Test Case is being handled!

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Why?

  • 04/04/07 - £104 exit fee refund - Portman BS
  • Halifax Current a/c 20yr (closed) - in progress - all 20 years statements recovered!
  • Halifax Platinum Card 15 yr - Court Action Commenced - all 15 years statements recovered!
  • A&L Current a/c - You're next..

Write to your MP and

COMPLAIN about the ANTI-CONSUMER way in which the OFT Test Case is being handled!

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:lol: Yes, they're all former Brookside/Hollyoaks actors!

 

:::ducks to avoid incoming from any scouse fellow CAG-gers:::

 

I suppose it could work as a letter, would need to think about the wording though. All I know is that this has worked so far for me.

 

Good luck with it if you decide to have a go...

 

Mac :D

  • 04/04/07 - £104 exit fee refund - Portman BS
  • Halifax Current a/c 20yr (closed) - in progress - all 20 years statements recovered!
  • Halifax Platinum Card 15 yr - Court Action Commenced - all 15 years statements recovered!
  • A&L Current a/c - You're next..

Write to your MP and

COMPLAIN about the ANTI-CONSUMER way in which the OFT Test Case is being handled!

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Dear Sir,

I recently received a letter telling me the interest rate on my Virgin account was increasing to 34.5%. I would be grateful if you explained the reasons for this rise to me as the letter did not have this information in it.

I believe this rate rise to be punitive and selective and is detrimental to your most vulnerable customers.

I shall be reporting this to the Financial Ombudsman and Trading Standards for investigation, as I believe you as a company are penalising the people who can least afford it.

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Good start, phatram - Mods/Helpers - anyone care to advise?

 

I'm happy to continue to recommend doing this by phone as it works, but some may wish to write in.

  • 04/04/07 - £104 exit fee refund - Portman BS
  • Halifax Current a/c 20yr (closed) - in progress - all 20 years statements recovered!
  • Halifax Platinum Card 15 yr - Court Action Commenced - all 15 years statements recovered!
  • A&L Current a/c - You're next..

Write to your MP and

COMPLAIN about the ANTI-CONSUMER way in which the OFT Test Case is being handled!

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I feel energised about this now. I've just been back on the phone to them and have asked for a letter explaining why I have been selected for these punitive periodic rate rises.

 

The manager I spoke to said she will only write to me explaining that is was a 'bank decision'. That's fine because it will provide a starting point - I intend to take this as far as I can now - they have my blood up! :D

  • 04/04/07 - £104 exit fee refund - Portman BS
  • Halifax Current a/c 20yr (closed) - in progress - all 20 years statements recovered!
  • Halifax Platinum Card 15 yr - Court Action Commenced - all 15 years statements recovered!
  • A&L Current a/c - You're next..

Write to your MP and

COMPLAIN about the ANTI-CONSUMER way in which the OFT Test Case is being handled!

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Where would we stand if we refused to pay it?
Not sure - as we have signed variable-rate agreements that part would probably be covered in the T&C's. However in my view that's a red herring.

 

It is not so much about denying them the ability to vary their rates, but the selective and punitive way in which it's being applied - namely to their most vulnerable customers. This is where they start to become nervous on the phone and tend to cave in. I'm sure they are scared to death of being forced to make details of their selection methodology public ;)

  • 04/04/07 - £104 exit fee refund - Portman BS
  • Halifax Current a/c 20yr (closed) - in progress - all 20 years statements recovered!
  • Halifax Platinum Card 15 yr - Court Action Commenced - all 15 years statements recovered!
  • A&L Current a/c - You're next..

Write to your MP and

COMPLAIN about the ANTI-CONSUMER way in which the OFT Test Case is being handled!

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Good for you Phatram!

  • 04/04/07 - £104 exit fee refund - Portman BS
  • Halifax Current a/c 20yr (closed) - in progress - all 20 years statements recovered!
  • Halifax Platinum Card 15 yr - Court Action Commenced - all 15 years statements recovered!
  • A&L Current a/c - You're next..

Write to your MP and

COMPLAIN about the ANTI-CONSUMER way in which the OFT Test Case is being handled!

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  • 1 month later...

Hi Mac Nice going mate

 

I didn't even get a manager to escalate to - They were in The Legendary "MEETING" (Coffee and a giggle about customers they have got more interest from to meet their bonuses) - got another agent who told me they spoke to a manager - (within 2 minutes is that possible) and they are gonna keep the interest rate as it is at lower rate but couldn't send out a letter so will see on my next statement . if its changed i got the name and id number so i guess we will see. :rolleyes:

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Great stuff Dolphin - well done!

  • 04/04/07 - £104 exit fee refund - Portman BS
  • Halifax Current a/c 20yr (closed) - in progress - all 20 years statements recovered!
  • Halifax Platinum Card 15 yr - Court Action Commenced - all 15 years statements recovered!
  • A&L Current a/c - You're next..

Write to your MP and

COMPLAIN about the ANTI-CONSUMER way in which the OFT Test Case is being handled!

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  • 2 weeks later...

It seems that Capital One are also now engaged in this questionable practice. I had a letter this morning saying that 'based on an account review' (I have a high balance, but monitor my credit record and there have been no negative changes to this since I toook out this card). they are going to increase my interest rate by a WHOPPING 7% APR :eek:

 

I've requested a management callback and will keep you updated, I may also cross-post in the Cap One section.

 

Looking at the agreement, it seems that on the surface of things they can probably do this legally, but I am becoming more and more convinced that due to the:

 

• Apparent selectiveness of the process - i.e. the active targetting of the most vulnerable and the punitive nature of the changes

 

• The sheer amounts of increase involved

 

..that there may be some mileage in challenging this. I'm wondering if these rises could be possibly construed as (dare I say it) penalty charges? I would welcome input from any legal eagles/mods etc if possible.

 

Thanks in advance

Mac

  • 04/04/07 - £104 exit fee refund - Portman BS
  • Halifax Current a/c 20yr (closed) - in progress - all 20 years statements recovered!
  • Halifax Platinum Card 15 yr - Court Action Commenced - all 15 years statements recovered!
  • A&L Current a/c - You're next..

Write to your MP and

COMPLAIN about the ANTI-CONSUMER way in which the OFT Test Case is being handled!

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UPDATE

Another callback today. It seems that they may be backing down in my case, but the person calling me used fairly weasly and vague language, so I'll be reserving judgement until the clarification letter I asked for (along with my original CCA) arrives. I'll let you know what transpires.

  • 04/04/07 - £104 exit fee refund - Portman BS
  • Halifax Current a/c 20yr (closed) - in progress - all 20 years statements recovered!
  • Halifax Platinum Card 15 yr - Court Action Commenced - all 15 years statements recovered!
  • A&L Current a/c - You're next..

Write to your MP and

COMPLAIN about the ANTI-CONSUMER way in which the OFT Test Case is being handled!

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Hmmm.. that was strange! My last post appears to be slotted in before a previous one. How odd. Mods?

  • 04/04/07 - £104 exit fee refund - Portman BS
  • Halifax Current a/c 20yr (closed) - in progress - all 20 years statements recovered!
  • Halifax Platinum Card 15 yr - Court Action Commenced - all 15 years statements recovered!
  • A&L Current a/c - You're next..

Write to your MP and

COMPLAIN about the ANTI-CONSUMER way in which the OFT Test Case is being handled!

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UPDATE

 

Got the management callback. They're not backing down. Have asked them for a more detailed letter asking for the specific reason that I was selected for this penalty. They say they will comply.

 

I have also requested an original copy of my CCA.

 

Keep you posted ;)

  • 04/04/07 - £104 exit fee refund - Portman BS
  • Halifax Current a/c 20yr (closed) - in progress - all 20 years statements recovered!
  • Halifax Platinum Card 15 yr - Court Action Commenced - all 15 years statements recovered!
  • A&L Current a/c - You're next..

Write to your MP and

COMPLAIN about the ANTI-CONSUMER way in which the OFT Test Case is being handled!

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I'm reposting this for clarification as due to the CAG system clock incident yesterday, what should be my latest update is still halfway up the page :lol:

 

UPDATE

 

Another callback today. It seems that they may be backing down in my case, but the person calling me used fairly weasly and vague language, so I'll be reserving judgement until the clarification letter I asked for (along with my original CCA) arrives. I'll let you know what transpires.

  • 04/04/07 - £104 exit fee refund - Portman BS
  • Halifax Current a/c 20yr (closed) - in progress - all 20 years statements recovered!
  • Halifax Platinum Card 15 yr - Court Action Commenced - all 15 years statements recovered!
  • A&L Current a/c - You're next..

Write to your MP and

COMPLAIN about the ANTI-CONSUMER way in which the OFT Test Case is being handled!

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi,

 

I no longer have my MBNA/Virgin card but they're definitely on my hit list along with Natwest and Paragon.

 

Something else I noticed which I thought was particularly dodgy about them though was that they shifted the direct debit / statement payment date, apparently on a four weekly basis, rather than monthly as would be expected, so that payments would suddenly be before the first of the month, so effectively before you expect and usually before you get paid!!

 

As there wasn't any money in my account at the time it happened to me they used that as an excuse to whack on more charges and interest!

 

It was this, their ppi, and their high interest rates that persuaded me to get rid of it. Seems like another clever way of extorting money from the people who can least afford it, I had a high balance at the time...

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There is definitely a scienctific, systematic rip-off going on Gump. Using a combination of advanced mathematical software and the nooks and crannies of their Ts & Cs, they will bleed you dry for as much as they can. :rolleyes:

  • 04/04/07 - £104 exit fee refund - Portman BS
  • Halifax Current a/c 20yr (closed) - in progress - all 20 years statements recovered!
  • Halifax Platinum Card 15 yr - Court Action Commenced - all 15 years statements recovered!
  • A&L Current a/c - You're next..

Write to your MP and

COMPLAIN about the ANTI-CONSUMER way in which the OFT Test Case is being handled!

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The question is if their constant access to credit files legal?

I know they said things to me which made me also believe they had that capability. Pity but I can't remember anything more specific about it now.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Gump

They have to declare every time they make an enquiry about your files to a CRA (it shows on your credit file as an 'Enquiry'), but don't forget they also have their own extensive data on customers which they can access , manipulate and mine at will.

  • 04/04/07 - £104 exit fee refund - Portman BS
  • Halifax Current a/c 20yr (closed) - in progress - all 20 years statements recovered!
  • Halifax Platinum Card 15 yr - Court Action Commenced - all 15 years statements recovered!
  • A&L Current a/c - You're next..

Write to your MP and

COMPLAIN about the ANTI-CONSUMER way in which the OFT Test Case is being handled!

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  • 1 month later...

Hello

 

Am new to the group but very glad I found it. I also have a Virgin/MBNA card with a 0% transfer that is coming to an end. I called them last Monday as wanted to confirm the interest rate which they confirmed to be 16.9% and also transferred more money from another card (highter interest) as haven't been able to get a new 0% card. This meant that I am up to my limit but the limit is not huge (

 

I then received a letter on Friday telling me that the interest will be 29.9% from the day after my March statement date and that they wanted to give me "plenty of notice" - what a laugh! Needless to say, I was furious. I am thinking of calling the CCCS and then do as Mac has adviced. But wanted to actually know if I should bother with CCCS? Am just so incredulous that this could actually be legal.

 

Also, I have a Virgin telephone & broadband contract coming to an end and as am so infuriated with this thing that am thinking of going with another provider although not sure I would really like to. Am just a bit unsure if it is actually Virgin I should be mad at?

 

Unfortunately, I am not in a situation to pay off the debt (have tried three or four cards and one personal loan), quite the opposite in fact and feel that this is why they have targetted me :'-( Am having sleepless nights just thinking about the situation. All help very welcome and sorry for the longwinded post.

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