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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 3
  • Milliman
    Bank Smart
    I had a claims going on with Banksmart back in 2009 and forgot about them. they have sent me emails and letters about to claim and stuff and ignored them.
    they sent me other emails asking me about PPI,s and other things ignored them too.

    yesterday i was sent two emails for an invoice for £119 each for failed claims. there was not attachments or any to the email. just that i had to pay this twice. in each emaill it said i can pay in full or set up an standing order.
    i sent them an email saying as you have not claimed any refund for me why should i. i than got a reply back saying this and that and if i dont pay within 14 days the fee will increase as considerable charges had incured.
    i than emailed them back saying there is no invoice attached to this so how can i pay and that they cannot set a due date again since the original email contained had no due date on it.

    has any one had similar stance with this recently
  • akadawny
    Hi Milliman

    I have had two of these now, one in August and one today. I eventually paid the august one as I had exhausted every option, including writing to the ministry of justice, and the financial ombudsman. I was told that its my word against theirs as I didnt have a copy of the original contract and terms and conditions they sent me (I cant remember being sent anything)

    I asked them for a breakdown of fees and a copy of the contract I signed, and they emailed both to me. You will need these first of all so email and ask for yours. The only regulator that can help is ministry of justice as these regulate claims management companies.

    The terms and conditions arent clear, and someone has won in court against them using that argument, but I had nochoice but to pay as I cant afford court costs. Be careful if you cancel the claim they will add £150 to your invoice, and if they have to start legal action because you dont pay they will add £150 also, and they can add more.

    I wish you all the best, and I really hope someone can stop these cowboys!
  • akadawny
    As a added note, you can also email and ask them for your custmer id and password to log onto the website if you havent got these already, then you can see exactly what the costs incurred for your claim are, but you still need to email them for a breakdown of fees
    • magpiecottage
    • By magpiecottage 8th Oct 11, 12:50 PM
    • 9,129 Posts
    • 5,584 Thanks
    magpiecottage
    I can see two possible grounds for complaint against this firm.

    The first is the Conduct of Authorised Persons Rules 2007. If you go to page 6, you will see there are "Client Specific Rules".

    Rule 1a says they must "Act fairly and reasonably in dealings with all clients". If they have not then you have grounds for complaint.

    Rule 1b says they must "Ensure that any service offered is one that meets the needs of the
    client and satisfies the requirements of these Rules". If you needed a "no win, no fee" agreement then it has not met your needs and you have grounds for complaint.

    Rule 1c says "Ensure that all information given to the client is clear, transparent, fair
    and not misleading." If it was not made clear to you at outset that a fee would be payable regardless of the outcome you have grounds for complaint.

    Rule 1f says, "Where advice is given, advise the client to pursue cases only if it is in
    the interests of the client to do so." This is particularly relevant to bank charges because if they intend to charge a fee regardless of outcome it is unlikely to be in your best interests because of the outcome of the court case. Indeed, once it became apparent that the case was going to court there was always a significant risk that the banks would win and no redress would be payable. So if they indicated they could get money back for you there are grounds for complaint.

    Bank-Smart's website says of this: "
    Bank-Smart are experts in reclaiming client’s 6 years worth of unfair charges with interest. ....

    The legality of personal account charges has been dropped by the Office of Fair Trading. Bank-Smart can still process your claim and demand a refund of charges, particuarly (sic) where you can demonstrate financial hardship."

    The word "particularly" (assuming that is what is meant) is significant because it infers that charges can be recovered in other circumstances when, in reality, the chances are virtually nil.


    Moving on, Rule 10 says, "Before seeking to enter into a contract with a client a business must make
    reasonable enquiries as to whether the client has alternative mechanisms for pursuing a claim".

    Did they check whether you had legal expenses cover with your household insurance? Or whether there was a legal helpline with your insurance (even legal expenses cover with your car will often have a helpline on other legal matters) or with your employer, or even the Citizens' Advice Bureau? If not you have grounds for complaint.

    Rule 11a requires them to provide "Honest, comprehensive and objective written information to assist the client to reach a decision including the risks involved in making a claim, in particular the possibility of losing money and, in the case of legal action, appearing in court."

    Did they make clear to you that you would have to pay even if no redress was awarded? If not you can complain.

    Rule 11b requires them to provide details of "The services that will be provided, in a way that does not misrepresent, either by implication or omission, any term or condition or by whom the service will be provided."

    If you were led to believe it was "no win no fee" you have grounds for complaint if they are charging you for their failure.

    Rule 11e requires them to provide details of "Any charge the business makes". This is probably in the documents given to you. However, all the requirements of Rule 11 must be met PRIOR to the contract's commencement and if it was not made clear to you that you would pay a fee come what may you have grounds for complaint.



    Rule 12 says "Where a claim is one that falls within the province of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, the Financial Ombudsman Service, the Housing Ombudsman Service or any other recognised dispute resolution procedure, the business must not suggest that a claimant will have a more favourable outcome if he uses the services of the business."

    I have put in the full wording because Bank-Smart seem to think you can claim for anything. (In some cases it is merely a tax rebate!). However, if they suggested they could get a more favourable result from the Financial Ombudsman Service you have grounds for complaint.


    Rule 13 says "A business must make explicit to the client his right to seek further advice or
    to shop around, subject to any time limits within which a claim must be made." If they did not tell you then you can complain that, had they done so, you would have chosen a no win no fee company instead. This looks to be very difficult for them to defend.

    Rule 14 says "A business must take reasonable steps to ensure that the client is able to
    understand the contract that he is being asked to agree to."

    Again - if you did not understand that it was not a no win no fee agreement you have grounds for complaint.

    If you are not satisfied with their response you can take your complaint to the Ministry of Justice.
  • efletcher121
    I would just like to add that in my own experience Bank Smart are an absolute bunch of irresponsible cowboys that have no shame in the way they operate their business! I just hope that someone, somewhere has the power to stop them in their tracks!! Sorry this is unrelated to what everyone else has been talking about but I have made it my mission to bad mouth them as many places as I can on the internet so some other poor person doesn't get sucked in like me!!
  • akadawny
    Hi all

    Wow I have had so many emails asking for copies of the terms & conditions, just want to clarify, I copied them off the website in July this year, however I dont know how long they were displayed there, and the new set was uploaded a few weeks later. I dont know what good they will do you, as it states in them (both sets) that they reserve the right to change them any time they want, and its up to you to check the website to see the changes.

    That said however I will still email them to anyone who wants them
  • ellie37
    Bank Smart-how to get out!
    Hi All
    Sorry if all a bit jumbled- this is worth reading!
    I have been in same position as you all and agree we need to do something-
    Matt Wales suggestion…as here 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
    . We should all do this!
    Or we could all pledge to start an on-line petition? I am not great with technology-any thoughts anyone??!
    IN SHORT……
    ‘’MAGPIE COTTAGE’’ IS SPOT ON! with advice/info as per below! I have quoted this in all correspondence!
    ie- Having spoken to the Ministry of Justice who regulate BANK SMART it was confirmed that they have breached their conditions of authorisation, specifically Client Specific rule 1F that states ‘’that business should advise the client to pursue cases only if it is in their interests to do so’’
    (BS don’t evaluate claims- they just pursue them!)
    Ministry of Justice were helpful but don’t seem to regulate as per their criteria.
    · I personally was billed with £450 + - I was sent DEBT COLLECTOR LETTER- DO NOT WORRY ABOUT THIS- if you google this on direct gov web a debt collector cant take property or force entry to home- only talk to you about paying or send you a letter ( I doubt this would happen anyway!) they need to take you to court to get a bailiff and in my opinion highly unlikely that they will risk losing another court case! (as they have in past)
    · I believe that they play on the emotions of the ‘client’ as you have all said you paid as they just kept adding ££. I was prepared to take it all the way as I refused to believe there would be a judge in the land that would look at this whole mess and rule in favour of BS!!
    · IMPORTANT- I followed the advice of someone on here- I wrote Good strong factual letters to WATCH DOG/WHICH?/ and the Sunday times….i copied BS in on them at 12pm one evening prior to posting….by 7am the next day they had e-mailed to say they had further reviewed my account and had ‘’cancelled all claims on my account free of charge & my details removed’’ they say that this was due to the fact that I had originally applied in 2008 when T&C’s were different but who knows……! I am confident that if you do this you will sufficiently scare them as the last thing they need is bad publicity.
    A SECTION OF THE LETTER-
    As you will see in the sales pitch above all they state is that a client needs to ‘’list all companies you have used for loans/mortgages etc [you will then receive] the required forms’’. Nowhere does it state that you need to know exactly how much your charges have been as the assumption is from this that as stated in the condition above BANK SMART will evaluate the potential claim before pursuing. It is also stated in the T&C’s point 1.1 below.
    In BANK SMART Terms & Conditions it states-
    1: The service provided by Bank Smart shall consist of:
    1.1: ‘’The evaluation of a potential Claim due to the client in respect of the unfair charges or excessive fee’s applied to their account ,insurance policy, tax fee’s, or other credit and finance related products including claims for financial mis-selling or other claim(s) requested by completing a letter of authority
    Also add in about charges/what you have received back (nil) and the contracts T&C’s you have never seen.

    I agree with all other’s on here & would like to find a solution to this for all, this is the most non transparent company ever in history.
  • Milliman
    to all those that want to speak to BS company straight this is the current number on the telephone 01872540752
  • Milliman
    Hi All
    Sorry if all a bit jumbled- this is worth reading!
    I have been in same position as you all and agree we need to do something-
    Matt Wales suggestion…as here 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
    . We should all do
    Originally posted by ellie37

    I spoke to MOJ and yet they have said that the money they charge you regardless if the claim is succesfull or not there is a sttrong chance that people wille pay that.
  • ReadingFC
    I am much the same as the other examples on here. Had a BS claim in 2008, now they want £118.80 All said and done, shall I ignore their emails? I realise they are spivs.
  • Ritchie281977
    Hello there i'm new to the site and this is my first post but its rather inportant.

    After reading all posts i too have had a bad experience with bank smart. My girlfriend and i were both contacted about claimimg and so put in 2 claims but cancelled them 2 days later after seeing all the bad reviews about the company. We were then billed for 2 different bills of £86 and £100. After contacting them saying we cancelled within the 14 day cooling of period they have since told us we still need to pay the above totals.

    There is no way i am paying these amounts for what i see as no work at all done.

    Surely this is illegal on there part.

    Some advice would be very much welcomed.
  • ReadingFC
    Hello there i'm new to the site and this is my first post but its rather inportant.

    After reading all posts i too have had a bad experience with bank smart. My girlfriend and i were both contacted about claimimg and so put in 2 claims but cancelled them 2 days later after seeing all the bad reviews about the company. We were then billed for 2 different bills of £86 and £100. After contacting them saying we cancelled within the 14 day cooling of period they have since told us we still need to pay the above totals.

    There is no way i am paying these amounts for what i see as no work at all done.

    Surely this is illegal on there part.

    Some advice would be very much welcomed.
    Originally posted by Ritchie281977
    I reckon we should colletively ignore them. I can't see them going through with their threats of legal action.
  • bluey26
    Hi I am also new to this site.

    It seems that letters have started arriving all at the same time for alot of people asking for around £118 for uncompleted claims. I'm guessing that the claims for most people were from banks before it went to court to say that claims were not going to be allowed to continue etc.

    I have had another invoice asking for £118 within 5 days! I have read one of the emails above from ellie37 who said she wrote to Watch Dog etc and managed to get them to cancel her account, has anyone else done this and it been a success?

    I haven't heard from Bank Smart for around 2-3 years then they send a invoice declaring money or further action will be taken, a bit rude considering the time I haven't heard anything from them.

    I'm not happy to pay and emailed them but it didn't get me very far so I'm looking at other options. They can let you pay it over 4 months though if you can't pay it all in one go which may help people if they just want this forgotten which part of me is wanting, but the other part of me is so annoyed I am not willing to pay the money.

    Any other ideas?
  • cheryllevans4
    i have received ppi back from black horse of £6700 using bank smart,i also believed their cost to be 10% but they want 3300 which covers incurred charges and fees i disputed this and the figure was reduced to £1900 i have spoken to trading standards and moj and have been advised to pay the ten percent and tell them why,but i have till tonight to pay bank smart the reduced fee or it goes back up to 3300 shall i risk it or pay them the 1900 please advise
  • Milliman
    i have received ppi back from black horse of £6700 using bank smart,i also believed their cost to be 10% but they want 3300 which covers incurred charges and fees i disputed this and the figure was reduced to £1900 i have spoken to trading standards and moj and have been advised to pay the ten percent and tell them why,but i have till tonight to pay bank smart the reduced fee or it goes back up to 3300 shall i risk it or pay them the 1900 please advise
    Originally posted by cheryllevans4
    Most of you here are panicking. dont panick because thats what they want you to do. 1. tto MOJ and CAB before you do anything get legal advise. 2 read the agreement and T&C before you do anything.
    even if they put the money up they cant charge you for what is written on their T&C that you signed up to, otherwise they are breaking their agreement and therefore inbreach of it.
  • Milliman
    i have received ppi back from black horse of £6700 using bank smart,i also believed their cost to be 10% but they want 3300 which covers incurred charges and fees i disputed this and the figure was reduced to £1900 i have spoken to trading standards and moj and have been advised to pay the ten percent and tell them why,but i have till tonight to pay bank smart the reduced fee or it goes back up to 3300 shall i risk it or pay them the 1900 please advise
    Originally posted by cheryllevans4
    Most of you here are panicking. dont panick because thats what they want you to do. 1. tto MOJ and CAB before you do anything get legal advise. 2 read the agreement and T&C before you do anything.
    even if they put the money up they cant charge you for what is written on their T&C that you signed up to, otherwise they are breaking their agreement and therefore inbreach of it.
  • Milliman
    Bank Smart
    i have received ppi back from black horse of £6700 using bank smart,i also believed their cost to be 10% but they want 3300 which covers incurred charges and fees i disputed this and the figure was reduced to £1900 i have spoken to trading standards and moj and have been advised to pay the ten percent and tell them why,but i have till tonight to pay bank smart the reduced fee or it goes back up to 3300 shall i risk it or pay them the 1900 please advise
    Originally posted by cheryllevans4
    Most of you here are panicking. dont panick because thats what they want you to do. 1. tto MOJ and CAB before you do anything get legal advise. 2 read the agreement and T&C before you do anything.
    even if they put the money up they cant charge you for what is written on their T&C that you signed up to, otherwise they are breaking their agreement and therefore inbreach of it.
  • ReadingFC
    Also I don't think it's legal for anyone other than actual banks to levy interest charges on accounts or debts. So these Bank Smart invoices, that they seem to be added additional costs too are probably bogus, from a legal point of view.

    Ignore them people.
  • steveliu
    I want Bank Smart to take me to court.
  • Robert79
    Hello
    Hi
    I see that almost everyone has a similar problem with Bs the are more of us ,the better for us. Unity is strength !

    Do not know what to do did not pay them any money yet , I fear give them my account details ! they send to me reminder letters and wrote that - This is to notify you that to date we have not received payment for your outstanding invoice amount of £88 in respect of cost (NC) despite previous reminders .Payment must be received no later than 23/11/11 to avoid further action being taken . An independent debt collection agency may be instructed to formally pursue the debt from you at an initial further cost to you of between £10 and £75 depending on the amount of the debt and cost involved in referral to the third party unless the amount of £88 is paid by 23/11/11
    Where the total amount o your debt to us including previously unpaid invoices is over £100 failure to pay the invoice by this date may result in court action being taken against you incurring a further administration fee for legal preparation of up to £150 plus statutory interest on the full outstanding amount of your total debt with us at the rate of 8% as per our terms and conditions. We may also seek to recover all reasonable costs and fees including the court fee. if we do not receive payment of this amount within 7 days from the date of this notice we will take steps to recover the amount from you without further notifications.We will immediately proceed with passing your details onto our debt collection company for the said amount plus an initial collection fee of £50 to cover the cost of preparing your debt for referral. In event of court action being required - you will incur court costs, further charges as per our t/c,your details may be passed to major credit ref. agencies.They may make adjustments to your credit rating,which will affect your ability to raise credit in future.
    I have a question what will be better to do, pay them or wait for trial in court and try to explain in some way ? if I pay for my claims (bs will be have my account details ) and then can charge me for another future fee when they want without my permission ?
    I wanted to Mark my English is not the best and did not understand most of t/c before I signing a contract with them .bs lied me at the beginning saying it's no win no fee and this is easy and quick to do but unfortunately it is different. Sorry for the spelling but I use the translator online . Thanks for any help !!!


    The bigger they are, the harder they fall !!!
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