B of Scotland Deliberately Profiting from their own Mistakes?

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Budgeting & Bank Accounts
7 replies 1.1K views
schillyschilly Forumite
4 Posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Budgeting & Bank Accounts
My partner and I remortgaged with the Bank of Scotland. Six weeks prior to the start date we signed a mandate to have monthly payments for this made from our joint account. The bank failed to action this and took the monies from my partner’s personal account. To cut a long story short after repeated requests, complaints and branch meetings it took them 8 months to get it done....unbelievable!

My partner’s account always had sufficient funds to cover his direct debits but as there was an additional mortgage payment being taken out they charged him unauthorised overdraft fees and for each direct debit amounting to nearly £600 despite their regular monthly promise to make the change. (Our joint account did have the money for the mortgage).

They responded to our final complaint apologising for their mistake, which they took responsibility for, but as only on one occasion had the actual mortgage payment tipped him over the limit they were only prepared to offer £30 plus £100 goodwill.

We responded saying:
“.............Hence hypothetically: A bank account contains sufficient funds to cover all expected outgoings. Bank of Scotland mistakenly takes monies from that account, so that subsequent direct debit payments made from that account lead to an unauthorised overdraft. The Bank of Scotland is then justified in charging for that overdraft.
If this is normal practice with numerous accounts this could amount to ‘fraudulent activities’ as the bank is profiting from their own mistakes.”

We had no response and took the matter to the Financial Ombudsman in the middle of August. Unfortunately in the last two months we have only received two letters from the Ombudsman saying that they are so busy that they cannot at this moment allocate the complaint to an investigator and will get back to us.

I am in no doubt that they will rule in our favour, and the bank be asked to return the deducted charges, as it is very clear cut. However I find it staggering that the bank is not only allowed to profit from mistakes in this manner, but employ delaying tactics to hold onto the monies as long as possible. They seem to be playing the odds that either we will not take it further – like so many other people – or that the Ombudsman will ‘eventually’ just ask for the monies to be returned and they have made a nice tidy sum out of our money and probably that of many others.

Should we now wait for the Ombudsman or just go to court?

We know we can go down the ‘unfair charges’ route but this is so much more and I strongly feel that this is a deliberate attempt to defraud customers and blatantly wave it under our nose.

Many thanks for any advice!
schilly

Replies

  • This certainly would be covered under the fair charges clause, plus if you took them to court you could claim back 8% from the day they imposed the charges. I would advise the ombudsman that you are doing this, so that you cannot be accused of trying to claim the money back twice.

    I happen to have a copy of the OFT report summary regarding the fees, which I would be happy to email if you pm me you address. I suggest going to the CAG website and start the steps. It's slightly easier for you as you don't appear to need to find out when the charges were applied, although if you think there may have been more over the last 6 years go for the whole lot, it's not as if the bank have treated you as a valued customer.
    Debt £5600 all 0%
  • Thanks for the previous response.
    I decided to leave matters with the Financial Ombudsman to see what happened in the short term. I received a call today from them today and Bank of Scotland had offered £450.00 which I refused. I have already reclaimed charges from First Direct via info from this and 'Consumer Action Group' website, so will change tact if I do not receive an adequate response soon.

    I was however appalled that the FOS are not interested in the bank's conduct in relation to what I perceive as 'fraud'. To quote "It is not their responsibilty". They are happy to deal with the charges (which I could have done myself and a lot quicker too) but they say that anything else is the responsibility of the Financial Services Authority. On checking the FSA website they do not appear to have any mechanism to complain about this. I had previously contacted OFT and they said it was the Ombudsman. It all seems to be about passing the buck and there is no real regulation at all!

    Can anyone tell me who is the body who regulates the 'conduct' (not charges) as I feel strongly that I should be complaining about 'profitting from their own mistakes' aspect separately.
    Thanks!
  • jhxmtjhxmt Forumite
    164 Posts
    It is indeed the FSA who looks into conduct and compliance of financial institutions (like YBS). If you give them a call on their consumer line (the number for which I don't have handy, I'm afraid, but it's on their website) and tell them that you want to complain about the conduct of the YBS, then they should help you out.

    Ask them if they think this action falls under their "Treating Customers Fairly" guidelines - they're big on those at the moment, and should take YBS to task for treating you like this. ;)
    Anything I post here is purely my own personal opinion. As such it may be wrong, poorly worded or written very tongue-in-cheek. Please therefore treat it the same way you should treat anything you read on the internet from an unknown person - with a healthy pinch of salt and scepticism!
  • Thanks I will call them. The number is on the website.
    When I looked at the helpline it did not seem to deal with complaints of this kind:

    "Our Consumer Contact Centre can answer general enquiries about financial products and services. We can also tell you if a firm is authorised and point you in the right direction if you have a complaint and don't know who to contact. However, we cannot deal with specific consumer complaints, recommend firms or give legal or financial advice."

    I'll give it a go anyway and try 'Treating Customers Fairly' which I read about on the site.

    .....and report back.
  • tom188tom188 Forumite
    2.3K Posts
    jhxmt wrote:
    YBS
    You mean bank of scotland.

    I believe you have to exhaust the banks own complains procedure before you can go to the ombudsman.
  • realaledrinkerrealaledrinker Forumite
    1.7K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker I've been Money Tipped!
    ✭✭✭
    The only time I had problems with BoS that could not be resolved locally, I wrote to their CEO and had a phonecall from his personal assistant 48 hours later with a resolution to the problem in hand. Have you tried that approach?
    Ethical moneysaver
  • oldfellaoldfella Forumite
    1.5K Posts
    Part of the Furniture
    ✭✭✭
    suggest taking them to the small claims court on the basis of maladministration - they didnt do what you asked them to do - therefore they owe you all the fees back - plus your time etc

    Mike
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