Me -v- Northern Rock

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Reclaim Bank & Credit Card Charges
4 replies 887 views
martin4963martin4963 Forumite
2 Posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Reclaim Bank & Credit Card Charges
Hi everyone !

Have been battling with Northern rock now for nearly 3 years to get my bank charges refunded (much of that time due to claim put on hold, (re recent ruling). Amended my claim and resubmitted to bank. Below is my amended claim to them (as per letter template), and below that is their final response. Not quite sure how to next proceed since they are using dca`s to try and enforce an alleged debt on that account (£195), which is made up entirely of "those" charges. My claim against them is for £322.00 Any advice would be appreciated.

*********************************************************
MY LETTER - DATED 30.03.2010:

Dear Sir / Madam,

I am writing in response to your letter dated December 15th 2009, in which you have advised me about my complaint about unfair bank charges. I have now taken independent legal advice on the matter, and in view of the recent court ruling, my claim against you not only still stands, but is amended as thus:
I feel that in issuing these charges you have broken the FSA’s regulatory principle to ‘pay due regard to the interests of its customers and treat them fairly’ and I am writing to request that you take the following new grounds into consideration:
The charges are unfair under s.140A(1) of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 and contrary to the requirement of good faith, having caused a significant imbalance in our relationship and a detriment to myself, and under regulation 5(1) of the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999, in the following respects (save for, in the case of the later, those matters which relate to the level of the charge as against the service supplied in exchange):
(1) The charges were (or had the potential to be) excessive and punitive in comparison with the costs to the bank caused by my conduct which triggered the charges.
(2) The charges were set by reference to the overall cost to the bank of providing current accounts to all of its customers which held such an account, rather than merely to the cost of my conduct thereby effectively requiring me to subsidise the provision of current accounts by the bank to other customers.
(3) In the premises the bank did not deal fairly as between myself and its other customers.
(4) The existence and quantum of the charges were inadequately and/or insufficiently explained and/or drawn to my attention either; when my account was first opened; when I gave an instruction which would result in the levying of a charge; or otherwise before any particular charge was applied.
(5) The circumstances and manner in which the charges were levied created potential for the application of multiple charges and the levying of charges to give rise to the application of further charges.
(6) The complexity of the charges and/or the circumstances in which they were levied.
(7) The nature of the charges and/or the circumstances of their application was such as to cause me inherent difficulties in predicting the incidence and amount of such charges in advance.
(8) The absence of any effective competition between providers of current accounts which restricted my ability to chose a current account operated on terms which did not provide for charges such as (and/or equivalent to) those levied by your bank.
(9) The charges were (or had the potential to be) excessive in comparison with the level of borrowing which triggered the levying of the said charges.
In particular, and without prejudice, the burden of proof for the above rests onNorthern Rock plc to prove that the circumstances of our relationship are fair (pursuant to s.140B(9) of the Consumer Credit Act 1974), so unless you can provide evidence to the contrary I expect a refund of the full amount requested by return.
I now ask that you repay the amount I have previously requested of £322.40. I look forward to a full response to this letter within 14 days and if I do not receive a satisfactory response I intend to pursue my complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service and/or through the small claims court at the earliest opportunity.
 

Replies

  • AND THEIR REPLY:

    Current Account Charges
    I refer to your letter dated 30 March 2010 relating to the application of charges to your urrent account.
    I am sorry to learn of your dissatisfaction with Northern Rock.
    Given the points you have raised, l would like to clarify our position. In doing so, I have sought advice
    from our Legal Services Department.
    GeneralOverview
    I cannot agree that the charges applied to your current account are unfair, unlawful or represent a
    penaity. Our position is that:
    The Terms and Conditions of your account state that Northern Rock plc provides you with current
    account services. Charges and interest are applied in return for their use of those services at the rates
    set out in our charges leaflet. When you applied for your current account, you signed to say that you
    had read, understood and agreed to be bound by these Terms and Conditions. I have enclosed an
    additional copy of these documents, for your reference.
    The Terms and Conditions envisage that your account may be in one of three states * in credit; in an
    authorised overdraft position; or, in an unauthorised overdraft position. The charges and interest
    rates for providing the current account services vary depending on which of these three states your
    account is in.
    As a matter of law, the Courts will only find that a contractual term represents a penalty where, on
    breach of contract, that term provides for a measure of damages that is not considered to represent a
    genuine pre-estimate of loss.
    With an unauthorised overdraft, your account is still within a position envisaged by the Terms and
    Conditions. Accordingly, you have not breached the contract agreed with Northern Rock, and the
    issue of damages for breach does not arise
    You are clearly already aware that as a result of the judgment handed down by the Supreme Court in
    Office of Fair Trading v Abbey National plc & others (the "Test Case"), it was held that pursuant to
    Regulation 6(2), as the charges formed part of the core terms of the relevant contracts, they did not
    fall to be assessed as to fairness under the Regulations,
    You have failed to determine a cause of action under Regulation 5(1) and as such we cannot uphold
    your claim for a return of the bank charges that have been applied to their account. In any event,
    Northern Rock strongly denies that the charges applied to its current accounts have in any way
    constituted an unfair term of the contract between you and Northern Rock.
    You have suggested that you entered into the contract under some sort of mistake. However,
    Northern Rock denies that it was ever misrepresented that the relevant Terms and Conditions were
    penal or that this has in fact been misrepresented to the Court in any way. You have failed to
    particularise any reasoning behind this claim which is in any event strongly denied.
    It is also denied that the parties to the banking contract (you and Northern Rock)were mistaken in
    any way when entering into the contract. You have again failed to particularise any reasoning behind
    this claim,which is in any event strongly denied.
    You have raised the issue of Unfair Relationships in terms of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 (as
    amended). You state that the charges applied to your current account constitute an unfair
    relationship between you and Northern Rock, Northern Rock strongly denies this allegation which is in
    any event insufficiently particularised.
    In summary, the charges applied to your current account do not represent any form of damages for
    breach of contract. They are simply the agreed charges for the services provided. In the
    circumstances, Northern Rock plc has acted entirely within the Terms and Conditions that you
    accepted in relation to your current account. As a result, I do not believe it is appropriate to refund
    any of these charges.
    This decision is final and our review of your complaint has been conducted in line with Financial
    Services Authority guidelines. lf you decide not to resolve matters at this stage, you now have the
    right to refer your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). You have 6 months from
    the date of this letter to do so. Before deciding how to progress matters, you may find it helpful to
    either contact the FOS telephone helpline on 0845 080 1800 or visit their website
    The encforiedleaftel'gives futl detaits of the scheme.
    Yours sincerely
    Lynn Ripley
    Customer Support
    Nofthern Rock plc - Registered in England and Wales (Company No. 6952311). Registered Otfice - Northern Rock House, Gosforth, Newcastle
    upon Tyne NE3 4PL. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.
  • Premier_2Premier_2 Forumite
    15.1K Posts
    10,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    The FOS are not, since the banks won victory in the Supreme Court last November, generally prepared to consider disputes regarding reclaiming of bank charges based on 'legalese'

    As that appears to be the basis of your argument your next step, should you wish to embark on this mission, would be to raise a claim in the small claims court (or using mconline)
    "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
  • natweststaffmembernatweststaffmember Forumite
    12.1K Posts
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    martin4963 wrote: »
    Hi everyone !

    Have been battling with Northern rock now for nearly 3 years to get my bank charges refunded (much of that time due to claim put on hold, (re recent ruling). Amended my claim and resubmitted to bank. Below is my amended claim to them (as per letter template), and below that is their final response. Not quite sure how to next proceed since they are using dca`s to try and enforce an alleged debt on that account (£195), which is made up entirely of "those" charges. My claim against them is for £322.00 Any advice would be appreciated.

    *********************************************************
    MY LETTER - DATED 30.03.2010:

    Dear Sir / Madam,

    I am writing in response to your letter dated December 15th 2009, in which you have advised me about my complaint about unfair bank charges. I have now taken independent legal advice on the matter, and in view of the recent court ruling, my claim against you not only still stands, but is amended as thus:
    I feel that in issuing these charges you have broken the FSA’s regulatory principle to ‘pay due regard to the interests of its customers and treat them fairly’ and I am writing to request that you take the following new grounds into consideration:
    The charges are unfair under s.140A(1) of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 and contrary to the requirement of good faith, having caused a significant imbalance in our relationship and a detriment to myself, and under regulation 5(1) of the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999, in the following respects (save for, in the case of the later, those matters which relate to the level of the charge as against the service supplied in exchange):
    (1) The charges were (or had the potential to be) excessive and punitive in comparison with the costs to the bank caused by my conduct which triggered the charges.
    (is that under CCA or UTCCR 1999? What charges are you alleging comes under that since if it is CCA then it is post 2007 and if it is UTCCR 1999 then it is excluded by the Supreme Court case).
    (2) The charges were set by reference to the overall cost to the bank of providing current accounts to all of its customers which held such an account, rather than merely to the cost of my conduct thereby effectively requiring me to subsidise the provision of current accounts by the bank to other customers.
    (is this UTCCR 1999 or is this CCA?)
    (3) In the premises the bank did not deal fairly as between myself and its other customers.
    (how do you know how it dealt with other customers? How did the bank not deal fairly with you and give examples?)
    (4) The existence and quantum of the charges were inadequately and/or insufficiently explained and/or drawn to my attention either; when my account was first opened; when I gave an instruction which would result in the levying of a charge; or otherwise before any particular charge was applied.
    (What proof do you have of this? When you were first charged was this then brought to your attention via say a letter?)
    (5) The circumstances and manner in which the charges were levied created potential for the application of multiple charges and the levying of charges to give rise to the application of further charges.
    (How does that relate directly to your specific account? Did you get the application of multiple charges and is this under UTCCR 1999 or CCA?)
    (6) The complexity of the charges and/or the circumstances in which they were levied.
    (Give examples cos this sounds like a generic template and not an individualised complaint)
    (7) The nature of the charges and/or the circumstances of their application was such as to cause me inherent difficulties in predicting the incidence and amount of such charges in advance.
    (When? Give examples)
    (8) The absence of any effective competition between providers of current accounts which restricted my ability to chose a current account operated on terms which did provide for charges such as (and/or equivalent to) those levied by your bank.
    (how and give examples?)
    (9) The charges were (or had the potential to be) excessive in comparison with the level of borrowing which triggered the levying of the said charges.
    In particular, and without prejudice, the burden of proof for the above rests onNorthern Rock plc to prove that the circumstances of our relationship are fair (pursuant to s.140B(9) of the Consumer Credit Act 1974), so unless you can provide evidence to the contrary I expect a refund of the full amount requested by return.
    (This can only be shown for post 2007 charges, are they?)
    I now ask that you repay the amount I have previously requested of £322.40. I look forward to a full response to this letter within 14 days and if I do not receive a satisfactory response I intend to pursue my complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service and/or through the small claims court at the earliest opportunity.
     

    See above while I look at the response
    I have not worked for NatWest Bank since February 2009

    This username is no longer active.
  • natweststaffmembernatweststaffmember Forumite
    12.1K Posts
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    martin4963 wrote: »
    AND THEIR REPLY:

    Current Account Charges
    I refer to your letter dated 30 March 2010 relating to the application of charges to your urrent account.
    I am sorry to learn of your dissatisfaction with Northern Rock.
    Given the points you have raised, l would like to clarify our position. In doing so, I have sought advice
    from our Legal Services Department.
    GeneralOverview
    I cannot agree that the charges applied to your current account are unfair, unlawful or represent a
    penaity. Our position is that:
    The Terms and Conditions of your account state that Northern Rock plc provides you with current
    account services. Charges and interest are applied in return for their use of those services at the rates
    set out in our charges leaflet. When you applied for your current account, you signed to say that you
    had read, understood and agreed to be bound by these Terms and Conditions. I have enclosed an
    additional copy of these documents, for your reference.
    The Terms and Conditions envisage that your account may be in one of three states * in credit; in an
    authorised overdraft position; or, in an unauthorised overdraft position. The charges and interest
    rates for providing the current account services vary depending on which of these three states your
    account is in.
    As a matter of law, the Courts will only find that a contractual term represents a penalty where, on
    breach of contract, that term provides for a measure of damages that is not considered to represent a
    genuine pre-estimate of loss.
    With an unauthorised overdraft, your account is still within a position envisaged by the Terms and
    Conditions. Accordingly, you have not breached the contract agreed with Northern Rock, and the
    issue of damages for breach does not arise
    You are clearly already aware that as a result of the judgment handed down by the Supreme Court in
    Office of Fair Trading v Abbey National plc & others (the "Test Case"), it was held that pursuant to
    Regulation 6(2), as the charges formed part of the core terms of the relevant contracts, they did not
    fall to be assessed as to fairness under the Regulations,
    You have failed to determine a cause of action under Regulation 5(1) and as such we cannot uphold
    your claim for a return of the bank charges that have been applied to their account.
    You need to be very specific on this point because if the letter in post 1 was sent then I would say, to use an old term the banks used in early litigation, that it was vague. You need to address every charge you have incurred and how UTCCR 1999 5(1) applies and CCA applies.
    In any event,
    Northern Rock strongly denies that the charges applied to its current accounts have in any way
    constituted an unfair term of the contract between you and Northern Rock.
    You have suggested that you entered into the contract under some sort of mistake. However,
    Northern Rock denies that it was ever misrepresented that the relevant Terms and Conditions were
    penal or that this has in fact been misrepresented to the Court in any way. You have failed to
    particularise any reasoning behind this claim which is in any event strongly denied.
    They are kinda saying what I am saying above.
    It is also denied that the parties to the banking contract (you and Northern Rock)were mistaken in
    any way when entering into the contract. You have again failed to particularise any reasoning behind
    this claim,which is in any event strongly denied.
    You have raised the issue of Unfair Relationships in terms of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 (as
    amended). You state that the charges applied to your current account constitute an unfair
    relationship between you and Northern Rock, Northern Rock strongly denies this allegation which is in
    any event insufficiently particularised.
    In summary, the charges applied to your current account do not represent any form of damages for
    breach of contract. They are simply the agreed charges for the services provided. In the
    circumstances, Northern Rock plc has acted entirely within the Terms and Conditions that you
    accepted in relation to your current account. As a result, I do not believe it is appropriate to refund
    any of these charges.
    This decision is final and our review of your complaint has been conducted in line with Financial
    Services Authority guidelines. lf you decide not to resolve matters at this stage, you now have the
    right to refer your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). You have 6 months from
    the date of this letter to do so. Before deciding how to progress matters, you may find it helpful to
    either contact the FOS telephone helpline on 0845 080 1800 or visit their website
    The encforiedleaftel'gives futl detaits of the scheme.
    Yours sincerely
    Lynn Ripley
    Customer Support
    Nofthern Rock plc - Registered in England and Wales (Company No. 6952311). Registered Otfice - Northern Rock House, Gosforth, Newcastle
    upon Tyne NE3 4PL. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.

    The first letter is vague on the points. You need to detail every single charge or occasion when you received charges and apply the law to the charges concerned and why the law applies to them. That will probably involve quite a long letter.
    I have not worked for NatWest Bank since February 2009

    This username is no longer active.
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