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  • FIRST POST
    dannorman
    Bank-smart now charging me!
    • #1
    • 21st Jul 09, 12:48 PM
    Bank-smart now charging me! 21st Jul 09 at 12:48 PM
    Two and a half years ago (Jan '07) I engaged a company called Bank-Smart to reclaim my bank charges.
    I now know I could have done this myself but I find this sort of thing difficult and this company were doing it for 10% of the charges which is a lot less than some companies were charging at the time.

    There were three accounts to claim amounts ranging from 300 to 800 pounds each from. Halifax, LloydsTSB and Co-operative.:rolleyes: Much correspondence and information providing has taken place, often in duplicate. Many many, letters of authority have been sent, etc. Pounds and pounds have been spent photocopying statements to back up claims of hardship.

    About a year ago they started claiming that one of the accounts was classed as an unproductive account due to it being more than six years old and that because of this they required payment of £100 from me for their efforts. I replied that at the time of their engagement, this account was not six years old and was therefore valid and potentially very productive.
    Since then I have had a succession of confusing updates from them via their website, some stating that the amount has now increased due to non payment and others stating that the charge has been dropped.
    Since pointing this out I have now been locked out from their website and prevented from accessing my 'account' information.

    I have also offered to pay the £100 fee when the account charges are returned to me as I do not actually have £100 spare to be able to give them.
    I am a single parent with a six year old daughter and I work part time as a teaching assistant to pay my bills. I do not have any money 'left over' each month to give to these people. I am in financial difficulty, I am behind with my coiuncil tax, my credit card is on the limit, this is why I am trying to reclaim my bank charges.

    They have now contacted me by telephone and are threatening legal proceedings if i do not pay. I received an email yesterday stating that the amount had that day increased by £150 and would carry on increasing until it reached the £750 threshold for bankruptcy, whereupon said action would commence.

    Are they actually entitled to pursue me for this bogus amount when they have not really provided a service to me? Can they keep on adding to this amount as they wish until they cross the £750 line?
    Am I entitled to claim my fees back myself even whilst they are supposedly engaged in the process?

    Your thoughts please.

    Daniel
Page 1
  • natweststaffmember
    • #2
    • 21st Jul 09, 1:52 PM
    • #2
    • 21st Jul 09, 1:52 PM
    When was the first charge on the account?
    I have not worked for NatWest Bank since February 2009

    This username is no longer active.
  • GMan83
    • #3
    • 25th Jul 09, 4:27 PM
    Bank Smart con artists
    • #3
    • 25th Jul 09, 4:27 PM
    Hi,

    Ive just read your post and am having a similar experince as you although I have recently received a letter to from BAnk smart to say that their current commission and chargers stand at £1289. I have absolutely no idea how they have managed to arrive at this number....
    They have been pursuing my claim for over two years and its largely something I've forgotten about. However, they continue to say me letters and ask me if I want to pursue a hardship claim as the FOS are still accepting these.
    I am really concerned about this and do not know what to do....My claim for bank charges is on £700 so already I apparently owe bank smart nearly £600 above this...
    Anyone else in same boat...what have you done???what should I do???needless to say I do not have £1200 pounds to pay them...I'm worried they will end up taking me to court now and that this number will get biiger and bigger...
    anyone in a similar boat please get in touch as I need to sort this out and if we could get a few people together we may have more clout...
    PLEASE HELP!!
    • Orford
    • By Orford 25th Jul 09, 6:12 PM
    • 2,149 Posts
    • 1,614 Thanks
    Orford
    • #4
    • 25th Jul 09, 6:12 PM
    • #4
    • 25th Jul 09, 6:12 PM
    Their T&C's are here (cant paste them):
    http://www.bank-smart.co.uk/images/TermsAndConditions_X4.jpg

    which as far as I can see says that their fees are payable once any refund has been received

    About a year ago they started claiming that one of the accounts was classed as an unproductive account due to it being more than six years old and that because of this they required payment of £100 from me for their efforts
    This is b**ox. FSA waiver covers that

    Since then I have had a succession of confusing updates from them via their website, some stating that the amount has now increased due to non payment and others stating that the charge has been dropped.
    Make sure you keep these letters

    They have now contacted me by telephone and are threatening legal proceedings if i do not pay. I received an email yesterday stating that the amount had that day increased by £150 and would carry on increasing until it reached the £750 threshold for bankruptcy, whereupon said action would commence.
    More bo**ox, This is 2.4 of the T&C's if they have to take legal action to recover their fees. Only trouble is no fees are due yet since there has been no refund. The bankruptcy rubbish is just scare tactics, it will cost them hundreds to issue proceedings


    I would write back and ask them for a complete breakdown of their fees which they allege are payable and an explanation of why any fees are payable when they have singularly failed to secure one penny in refund
  • esmerellda
    • #5
    • 25th Jul 09, 9:05 PM
    • #5
    • 25th Jul 09, 9:05 PM
    Please don't let these people get to you. You don't owe them a penny yet.

    Send a subject access request to them to get all the information they hold on you, and if you could post (or pm) the email they sent you yesterday it would be very helpful. Also do as orford suggested above ask for a written explanation of the fee breakdown and where its stated in the T&Cs.

    you should also enter a complaint to the Ministry of justice (info@claimsregulation.gov.uk) to make them aware of bank-smarts parctises.

    I would also fully expect MSE to receive unjustified libel action threats over your post and i have therefore copied it over to another site where we are looking into a lot of these claims management companies.

    If you would like a hand with subject Access request letter or complaint to the moj, give me a shout. Don't let them intimidate you, they have lost in court once already that we know of over their fees.
    Last edited by esmerellda; 25-07-2009 at 9:13 PM.
    LegalBeagles
  • esmerellda
    • #6
    • 25th Jul 09, 9:12 PM
    • #6
    • 25th Jul 09, 9:12 PM
    Hi,

    Ive just read your post and am having a similar experince as you although I have recently received a letter to from BAnk smart to say that their current commission and chargers stand at £1289. I have absolutely no idea how they have managed to arrive at this number....
    They have been pursuing my claim for over two years and its largely something I've forgotten about. However, they continue to say me letters and ask me if I want to pursue a hardship claim as the FOS are still accepting these.
    I am really concerned about this and do not know what to do....My claim for bank charges is on £700 so already I apparently owe bank smart nearly £600 above this...
    Anyone else in same boat...what have you done???what should I do???needless to say I do not have £1200 pounds to pay them...I'm worried they will end up taking me to court now and that this number will get biiger and bigger...
    anyone in a similar boat please get in touch as I need to sort this out and if we could get a few people together we may have more clout...
    PLEASE HELP!!
    Originally posted by GMan83
    Again if you have a copy of this letter it would be very interesting to see.

    Your bank charges claim is only £700 ? they havent received anything yet they say you owe them £1200 ?

    They try taking you to court you can defend this.
    LegalBeagles
  • esmerellda
    • #7
    • 25th Jul 09, 9:16 PM
    • #7
    • 25th Jul 09, 9:16 PM
    heres the case they lost in court - http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.html?p=19797637&highlight=#post19797637
    LegalBeagles
  • esmerellda
    • #8
    • 26th Jul 09, 1:42 AM
    • #8
    • 26th Jul 09, 1:42 AM
    Re the first poster.

    Re the £100 increasing to £750 and them making you bankrupt.

    according to their T&Cs they can charge you 4% above base rate a month compounded quarterly plus a fee of £150 + vat for collection. would take a while to hit £750. they cant charge the 4% on the collection fee.

    Need to see the email they sent you really.

    The £100 is their minimum charge for handling an account - cant see anything about 6 years tho so I think they are just trying that on and trying to charge their minimum fee.

    you can take it over yourself - you can claim back to 27 July 2001 under the FSA waiver or 6 years back from when you notified the bank of your complaint if you started the claim before july 07. or you can argue the limitations act.
    LegalBeagles
  • esmerellda
    • #9
    • 26th Jul 09, 1:49 AM
    • #9
    • 26th Jul 09, 1:49 AM
    Re the other poster - £700 charges and banksmart asking for £1200 odd.

    Bank smart charge you £100 for doing the claim, then 10% of the claim total refund, and 8% simple interest on the charges. If you do the spreadsheet with your charges on you'll probaly find the £1200 is £100, plus 10% of the total claim (charges plus 8% stat interest) and then all the 8% stat interest added on. So basically all you would end up with on £700 charges is £530 ish where if you had taken it to court yourself and got the £700 charges plus stat interest back you;d be getting nearly £2k.

    You wont have to find the money it will come from the refund.

    Basically they claim your charges, and you forfeit the stat interest to them, plus 10% of total claim (not 100% on whether the £100 is on top of that or a minium included in that)
    Last edited by esmerellda; 26-07-2009 at 1:53 AM.
    LegalBeagles
  • GMan83
    £1200 in charges
    Thanks Esmerallda.

    I am happy to scan the letter into here whenI'm back at work tomorrow. Essentially what the letter says is the...
    Your claim for the return of £842 in charges has been recalculated, including interest,Bank-Smart's commision and incurred costs to date excluding legal fee as:
    £1,189.29
    Which actually fits in with your number. I take it they reclaim their charges, interest etc from the Bank?
    Although to be honest I dont really trust these people and I'm very dubious about their practices.For my own piece of mind I would prob like to get out of contract with them. If this mean I need to pay them £200 or something to this tune maybe I should just do that?
    Thanks again
  • esmerellda
    recalculated will, i assume, be them updating the stat interest spreadsheet.

    Yes if the bank sends the refund, eventually, direct to them, they will extract the interest, costs and 10% from it before sending you the balance.

    You should ask them to send you a copy of the up to date spreadsheet really to check this is all correct.

    To get out of the contract with them they will charge you £100+VAT plus costs for work done so far - many companies have an hourly rate type fee, but bank smart do state this may be the full fee depending on the work done. And basically all the work on your case has been done and its just sitting waiting for the nod from the OFT/FSA. So I think you are pretty much stuck with it unless you can negotiate. bit gawling isnt it, but we learn by experience, and I hope if you have any other claims you will do them yourself ?
    Last edited by MSE ForumTeam3; 22-04-2012 at 3:48 PM. Reason: Personal details
    LegalBeagles
  • esmerellda
    Also for ref they have recently changed their terms and conditions to this - to cover their branching out into unenforceable credit agreements; check which version of the terms you have agreed to.

    This basically changes the fee to 29% of the entire claim, as opposed to 10% plus any stat interest claimed.

    2.8) Due to the complicated nature of the claim and the expenses involved, we charge the following fees:
    2.8.1) Twenty nine percent of the amount your bank agrees to pay in settlement of the claim or deduct from any debt you have with the 3rd party plus VAT plus:
    2.8.2) costs (which includes VAT, all court costs and legal fees) requested from the Third Party by the Company and such fee will be deducted from the final settlement payment received from the Third Party or be paid to Bank-Smart by you within 14 working days of receiving settlement should payment be made directly to you or your debt with the Third Party be reduced by the same amount.
    2.9 The costs payable under condition 2.8.2 above will either be deducted from the final settlement received or be payable by you (should payment from the Third Party be made directly by you or your debt with the Third Party be
    reduced by this amount). You agree to authorise payments to be made direct to Bank-Smart under reference EC.2.1.
    2.10 The Company will deliver invoices during the course of the claim for our fees (as set out in condition 2.8) whenever a payment from the Third Party is made (whether or not such payment is in part settlement or full settlement) and for the avoidance of doubt further invoices will be issued whenever any further settlement is paid.
    2.11) You agree to pay a minimum fee of ninety nine pounds sterling plus VAT per claim plus all court costs and legal fees where these have been paid by the Company.
    LegalBeagles
  • lea881
    jesus now youve panicked me! ive just started dealing with this company.Ive asked to cancel and they have said that they will charge £119 anyway i may as well continue.

    This morning i have been asked to give them my bank details and 2 forms of identity so they can prove who i am. I cant even speak to anyone over the phone and they are not answering my questions fully. So far i have been sent 4 letters saying i owe £119, total around £880! so where should i get this from if im not working? the reason im claiming is because i have no money and then ive had an email saying ill send you a standing order. Im not even totally convinced they are a real company
  • Premier
    ... Im not even totally convinced they are a real company
    Originally posted by lea881
    As they've been to court, I'm sure they really exist

    Though why someone who claims themself to have no money would employ the services of such a claims company is beyond me.
    Surely you realised there would be fees involved somewhere along the line?

    You can do whatever these claims companies do yourself for free by following the various MSE guides. Your chances of success are the same whether you do it yourself or you pay someone else to download, print and post the letters.

    (Actually you might have more chance yourself as you'll make sure the job is actually done!)
    "Now to trolling as a concept. .... Personally, I've always found it a little sad that people choose to spend such a large proportion of their lives in this way but they do, and we have to deal with it." - MSE Forum Manager 6th July 2010
  • zppp
    I like their website on the signup page:

    NOTE:

    **Estimate based on the information you have provided and averages for previous claims. This
    estimate is meant as a guide only and is in no way guaranteed. Your actual settlement could
    be much greater or much less than this estimate.

    STANDARD TERMS AND CONDITIONS:

    Full terms and conditions will be provided with your no obligation claim pack. Simply complete
    the form above and click Finish. You are under no obligation to use Bank-Smart until you sign
    the contract and return it to us by post.

    IMPORTANT TERMS:

    All claims are subject to our standard terms and conditions.
    A fee may apply if you decide to cancel, no charges are found or you submit duplicate claims.
    All claims are subject to our standard minimum fee.
    Best Regards

    zppp

  • Premier
    Who needs the National Lottery, when we have claims companies like this?



    Yes that really is over £1.5m they estimate they are able to claim on my behalf!

    Any ideas on how to spend my windfall please?
    Answers on a postcard ...
    "Now to trolling as a concept. .... Personally, I've always found it a little sad that people choose to spend such a large proportion of their lives in this way but they do, and we have to deal with it." - MSE Forum Manager 6th July 2010
  • zppp
    Who needs the National Lottery, when we have claims companies like this?



    Yes that really is over £1.5m they estimate they are able to claim on my behalf!

    Any ideas on how to spend my windfall please?
    Answers on a postcard ...
    Originally posted by Premier


    I bet you could fit that claim management company's knowledge on these matters on the postage stamp!
    Best Regards

    zppp

  • ninjabassplayer
    These companies are probably set up by by mid level bankers and bank rolled by the banks themselves! It would be interesting to see who the company directors are and if they have any former ties to the banks.
  • Matt Wales
    More Problems With Bank Smart
    I too have experienced nothing but bad things with this comany, my claim has been going on for 5 yrs, they have got me no money on my bank accounts. About 3 yrs ago they tried billing me cancellation fee's even tho i didnt ask to cancell!! Back then i managed to get a phone number via direct enquiries, (since removed) and told them i have not asked for it cancelled. They then stopped asking for money. Now they are asking me for 20 pounds for fee's they faced for collecting statements from my bank, evben tho i clearly entered into this on a no win no fee basis. I told them this and refused but now they are treatening increasing the amount by requesting debt collection agency to collect monies owed. Since i complained to them they have locked my out of my account so i cant make payment online or see invoice evwen if i wanted too....

    I have contacted there regulators ministry of justice but they are unable to action individual cases even tho they back my case and agree they shouldnt charege. me. So I am at a loss no. I could easily pay the 20 pound but i am worried that they will start asking for more, for something else.. they have history of this on forums on internet... I want to get out of contract, but I am worried they will try to bill me again.... ministry of justice said to seek resission of contract as it has gone on over extensive period and not met there end of the deal in getting me charges back.
  • Matt Wales
    if anyone else has or has had trouble with this company please complain to regulator at info@claimsregulation.gov.uk

    I have just spoke to them again but they need complaints from as many people as possible to take any action. I know thre must be others, it only a quick email
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