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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 2
  • soozie1964
    Re : Bank-SMart.... Hi Matt, I have had similar probs recently. They got £200 or so back from Halifax for me 2 Years ago. ( I got £144 of that ) Case was closed Oct 2008..have heard nothing since. End of August started gettting e-mails requesting an 'unpaid invoice for £10.00'.. after god knows how many emails to them asking what it was for, they eventually said it was for a copy of my accounts from the Halifax to persue the correct amount of charges for the claim... I said , 'But that was the initial thing you would have done back in May 2008 ?'..why have you waited 2 years to ask for £10.00, especially as after I received my refund, you then sent me your bill ( in full and final settlement as far as I am concerned ! ) which I paid immediately...where has this £10.00 suddenly appeared from. As per the usual Bank-Smart attitude, have been told 'you owe it, just pay it '....they have now sent me a final demand, threatening court action and costs of £150 + if I dont pay by Monday 1st Nove. !! Also third party debt collectors etc... BULLYS ! Got onto Ministry of Justice ( useless ) also Consumer Direct. They told me to put my concerns in writing and send Recorded Delivery to B/S..have done this today. I will not pay this - I know it is only £10 , but even if it was 50p, if I dont owe it, I will not pay it ! I have been able to access my online account...it says clearly 24/10/2008 Payment rec'd with thanks. Claim CLosed : Status of CLaim CLOSED......then right at the top, on 27/7/2010, this £10.00 has appeared in big red writing OVERDUE. There is a phone number for them I found online 01872 271 001 , but the morons that answer the phone do everything possible to pee you off and are very rude and arrogant. COnsumer Direct said don't bother with phone clls, keep records of everything in writing, send complaint to B/S recorded delivery - they said they doubt very much I would be taken to court for £10, would cost B/S too much. Anyways, I am not giving in to the bullying tactics, bring it B/S, I will look forward to going to court ( should that happen ) and telling the judge exactly how this mob try to run a business.
  • LindaTy
    Bank-Smart
    I'm surprised that you are having these problems with them. I thought they were pretty good, especially as they handled more claim types than anyone else I looked at.
    I've just gone back to them for some PPI claims, so let's see how those go.
  • akadawny
    Help with Banksmart, they are charging me!!
    Hi everyone

    I hope someone can help, scanner is on the fritz but this is what the letter I recieved today says.

    This claim has not been successful and we have invoiced for costs capped at £99 = VAT as you do not have a nop win no feecontract with us. The actual costs are likely to be significantly more than what we have invoiced today. Please ensure payment is made within 14 working days so we can continue to provide you with settlement(s) of any remaining claim(s) If payment is not made within 14 working days wereserve the right to re-issue the invoice for the full amount of costs incurred.


    Help!!! They have billed me for £118.80 which I do not have, and they are still doing claims on two other banks. They told me I would not have to pay anything as it would come out of what fees they claimed back, they didnt say what would happen if they couldnt get any fees back. There t&c say if they dont get results Im not obligated to pay. What do I do, I dont have this money.

    Thanks in advance

    Dawny
  • nicola-w
    Bank Smart frauds.
    Hi

    Yesterday i received a letter from Bank smart, stating that they have been informed that a loan i took out on my mortgage was sold to me with PPI, even though I may not realise it. Apparently I could be entitiled to a £7380 refund should i persue a claim through them. GREAT! I am struggling for money currently, with a part time job, two small children and a self employed husband. Therefore I was keen to take this further. I checked my original Alliance and Leicester loan documentation, which has -NA- in the insurance section. I rang bank smart and asked how they knew I had PPI on my loan, as i didnt think i had. They said they couldnt confirm how they knew officially but that the ministry of justice has asked them to work on their behalf and that I did have PPI. So I checked with mortgage lender by telephone. They have no record of PPIU on my account. They gave me the number for their PPI company (pinnacle) who also confirmed that they had no details for me whatsoever, currently or from the past, and that I would have seen it going out of my bank account each month as a seperate payment, not part of my mortgage. Which I havent.

    SO.... all in all - im quite sure I do NOT have any PPA on my loan. Despite what bank smart say.

    Having read this forum, I now see that it is NOT no win, no fee, indeed that was an assumption on my part, so I could have ended up paying their costs without actually being entitled to a payout. I also believe that people who are already in financial difficulty are the people most likely to fall victim to this scam, as I could have.

    SCARY. Surely this is illegal?

    Nicola.
  • froz333
    Bank-Smart
    has any one recently had contact with bank-smart about claiming bank charges back AND now being told about a test court case ??
    bank-smart have now written to me requesting i pay 180.00 for each case (i have 3 cases going on) they would like to sent to court and on top of that through a solicitor which would involve further costs to me, i started claims with bank-smart back in 2009 and have had nothing but them asking for a fee for this!!! a fee for that !!! i have been sent three options given either 1.prepare my/our file for solicitor for the issue of legal proceedings against my/our bank i/we enclose payment of the legal preparation fee. i/we would like you to arrange a solicitor to provide representation and i/we understand this will bring closure to my claim once complete and that providing there is a successful judgement that this fee will be refunded to me/us.2.keep my claim on hold and continue only in the even there is a future opportunity to settle the claim without legal action. I understand that bank-smart have attempted this previously without success and my claim maybe withdrawn if the claim expires. or 3. Cancel my claim and i/we understand that we will be invoiced for costs to date and that upon payment my claim will be closed Costs will be reduced by 50% providing payment is made within 14 working days from the date of issue of the costs invoice....
    I just want to know if anyone else out there has had the same thing, and if so what action did you take i really really can not pay fees and not in a position to pay a solicitor his/her fees as well please HELP
  • Lyndalpip123
    Banksmart:reply to Froz333
    Hi,
    Sorry I cant help but wanted you to know that I have just recieved the exact same letter,not sure what to do either.
    I have never recieved any payment and presumed it was "case closed" as they didnt win anything. i have emailed Banksmart to find out whats going on but I can already guess they will fob me off.
    i first thought about option 2, to put it on hold in case of being able to settle out of court but I presume when they realise this wont happen, they will withdraw the claim and charge me anyway!

    I just spoke to a friend that did this years ago, after claiming she could get over £2000 she won a measly £6 and are trying to land her with an approx £100 bill. last month she recieved a debt collecting letter, which she promptly binned in the hope it was just scare-mongoring and will go away!

    God knows what we should do but this needs sorting asap!

    Lyndsay
  • froz333
    Hi Lyndsay,
    Thanks for your reply i think i will carry on ignoring bank-smart.. and i shall also log a complaint against them with claims regulations .gov.uk. must just keep a level head in all this
  • Lyndalpip123
    I have just had a reply stating it was NOT a no win no fee agreement. they have emailed me the agreement and it looks like they are right but I am no good with this sort of thing so dont know what to do.i have requested a breakdown of all fees in the event that I withdraw the claim
  • akadawny
    Just so you all know they have now got a completely different set of terms and coinditions on the website, and guess where most of the changes are, ironically in the fees!!

    I luckily have a copy of the previous ones which I took off the website on 27th July, and have told them as much. Surely this cant be legal?? I am going to citizens advice!!
  • akadawny
    They have emailed me a copy of my fees now, and say the terms and conditions they emailed me are the "relevant ones and ones I signed" and that "we change the terms and conditions regularly"

    Highly suspicious that the previous t&c on the website supported my case and now have been replaced. They cant prove which version I signed, and until they produce a set with my signature on them they can whistle for it. Probably gonna end up with a huge debt, but they keep getting away with this and someone has to take a stand!
  • akadawny
    I visited Consumer Services complaints and filled in their online form. (wont let me post a link!) Tried ministry of justice but they just direct you to Consumer Services anyway, and financial ombudsman tell you to contact ministry of justice! Maybe I should just email some newspapers!
  • Lyndalpip123
    I have a break down in costs to the tune of £280 reduced by 50% if i pay within 14 days. i have been very co-operative but the person replying to my emails is downright rude!
    I imagine they will slap more charges on than they've stated. Now I am worried I too have been given a copy of different ts and cs and I no longer have the original copies!
  • akadawny
    I have a copy of the terms and conditions posted on there website previously to the new ones, however I dont know how long they had been there, but an earlier post in this forum (the one who posted a link to them) did so in July 2009. I find it curious that the terms and conditions I suposedly signed only appeared on there website this week, but my claims started in August 2008!! Personally I think they are lying and I dont remember ever being given a copy of my contract or any terms and conditions back in 2008, but without the originals I cant prove it, however surely neither can they?

    I never would of agreed to the newer t&c the fees are outrageous!! I have contacted CAB and consumer services, and just waiting now, but I have also emailed BBC Watchdog and I urge everyone to do the same, as the more complaints they get the more likely they will look into it. They told me they change there t&c all the time, surely that cant be legal?

    I cant pay the £118.80 they want, sohave no choice but to keep fighting it, but probably gonna end up with a huge bill passed to a debt collector or court costs, still what can I do, I have emailed everyone I can think of to help me
  • ksasnic
    Oh my god... I thought I was going mad..... I am glad to see that I am not.

    check claimsregulation gov uk and under business search look up bank-smart.

    Interestingly it states here that Only businesses that have been authorised by the Ministry of Justice are legally allowed to provide regulated claims management services.

    I started my claim in March/April 2007. They were only registered with the authorities in May 2007 so I would suggest that any claims made before are all null and void... But then again they did send out lots of duplicate copies of letters for us to sign and re-sign so I bet you this covered them for practising before they were registered. Unfortunately that won't hold much cos I know I never sent any resigned letters back and yet they managed to produce a letter and new terms and conditions saying I had signed in August 2007 ????? How can I prove otherwise?

    I know I didn't and the letters I received from them do not even state the minimum claim for £100 - On one of my letters to them I did tell them that when I signed up there was no minimum. if there was a minimum how could we know that a claim was under the limit until we had signed up with them and they had started the claim? There was no cool off period which makes sense as at the time I signed up because there was no minimum, I didn't really need one. it was no win no fee, 10% and the interest. I did say so why the heck would I sign up with them if I knew that one of my accounts was under the amount required? I only signed up because at the time there was no minimum obviously!!

    Yup 1 account was for £78 was told at the beginning I would receive £71 for that - yup now its cost me £120 and I am only paying because they keep upping it and I just cannot afford it to go up. I keep getting emails telling me to log into my account to see the status of my account but when they refuse to give me my login details how can I? The other account was for £270 ish and yet they won't pay me that until I have paid them for the other account.

    When I signed up there was no minimum claim it was just 10% and the interest and at the time that was ok and they would take it off my money when they received it and I would get the rest. This dragged on and on..... I was locked out of my account and despite requests for log in reminders etc they just ignore me. Oh yes they send out bills and letters regularly and each letter they charge you for. So the person who ended up with a steep bill will no doubt find that this is for the 100's of letters they sent out.

    Another annoyance was I finally wrote them as they kept chopping and changing their e-mail addresses to ask for my log in details and to tell them that I had set up a standing order from my bank instead of signing their form for them to set one up and could they please acknowledge this and well they ignored me but they managed to send out another standing order form for me to sign. Not a hope I have seen what they have done with my signature. After sending another letter to them I never received my log in details or acknowledgement just kept getting a thankyou for your interest and here is the documents you requested apparently for ppi (their latest plug)!!!

    I hate these guys and really want to see them hauled up and dumped in the same hell that they have given to all of us.

    Yup I am getting all flustered now, I am rambling
  • ksasnic
    Oh yes just querying their t&c's I note that the recent one they have on their site is version 8. I wonder where version 1 is? Also aren't they supposed to inform us of the updated t&c's. I get a copy sent out from my bank when there are changes are not these bank-smart lot supposed to do the same?
  • akadawny
    With regard to the t&c's it actually states in them that they can change them at any time, without informing us, and that you agree to check the website regularly to see them. Of course it could be argued that the same version were on the website since July 2009, and only just changed!

    After seeing the Citizens Advice Bureau this morning I have decided I will have to pay. I dont want to, but without ahard copy of my contract its my word against theirs and I dont stand much of a chance. I have borrowed the £118.80, as I just cant risk having a huge bill! Will send it by recorded delivery tomorrow, but I am gonna photocopy the cheque, and get proof of posting. Unfortunately I will have this all again when my otherclaim with them goes south, but I am just one person against a huge organisation, what can I do!!
  • akadawny
    I will advise everyone though, financial ombudsman cant help, they refer you to ministry of justice, who also cant help and refer you to consumer direct, who wont read any attachments and just give you standard legal advice. In my case they simply stated that if I let it go to court Banksmart would have to prove which copy of the t&c's I signed, and it would be my word against theirs.

    It would help if there was actually an organisation that could actually help people, and provide ongoing support for those wishing to fight in court. This isnt the only website with forums on Banksmart, the things they are getting away with are outrageous and noone is helping the people affected. Im lucky my Mum has offered to lend me the money to pay, some people dont have that option. Does the admin know anyone else that can help the people posting here? Some sound advice and someone to help would really save some people alot of worry and trouble.
  • akadawny
    I have a copy of the older t&c's that I took off Banksmarts website on 28th July, they are now displaying a new set. If anyone needs a copy,pls email me at dawn-davies@ hotmail.co.uk and I will gladly send them to you.
  • LindaTy
    I am very suprised at all of this bad press that Bank Smart is recieving on this forum, and think that someone should stick up for them when the company can not respond to any of your complaitns.
    Have any of you actually lodge officail complaints with the company themselves? If I want to make a complaint with my bank I have to go throught their porcedure before I can refer my complaint to their regulators and I would imagine it would be the same for a claims management company.

    I have a couple of PPI claims going through at the moment and although it is frustrating that i can not speak to them on the phone I found the email supoort team to be very helpful and fast at responding. They were also not named and shamed on watchdog the other week.
  • akadawny
    Linda just because your experience with them has been good, doesnt mean they are that way with everyone, and I should think the overwhelming amount of people who are having difficulties with them should prove this!

    Of course I complained to Banksmart first, and they spent a whole 2 days looking into it and refusing it, arent I lucky. PPI claims are different as they hasnt been a ruling from the courts preventing them, as there has with bank claims.

    I have now recieved another invoice, for another £118.80 just because I cant prove my contract was no win no fee and its my word against theres, and I cant afford to go to court.

    Everyone is entitled to there opinion, but dont expect everyones to be the same as yours!
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