Help to buy ISA

Hello

Does anyone have an experience of a problem I am having with a Help to Buy ISA. I have been paying into my ISA for several years and had £5,000 in it. Last week I was subjected to a scam on my Halifax Bank account that resulted in all of my money being stolen by the scammers including the money I had in the ISA. 
To be fair the Halifax have been brilliant and have refunded all of my money but have said they cannot return my money to my ISA therefore I have lost the government bonus that is attached to the Help to Buy scheme. 
As Halifax accept that I did not withdraw the money from my ISA (because they have refunded it to me) I think they must have the ability to recreate my account to what it should be but they say they have tried but failed because only £200 per month can be added. I have mentioned that they have the power to deal with a situation when a property purchase falls through but they haven’t commented

Has anyone had my experience or have any possible solutions?

Thank you

Christine


Replies

  • eskbankereskbanker Forumite
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    Last week I was subjected to a scam on my Halifax Bank account that resulted in all of my money being stolen by the scammers including the money I had in the ISA. 
    To be fair the Halifax have been brilliant and have refunded all of my money but have said they cannot return my money to my ISA therefore I have lost the government bonus that is attached to the Help to Buy scheme. 
    As Halifax accept that I did not withdraw the money from my ISA (because they have refunded it to me) I think they must have the ability to recreate my account to what it should be but they say they have tried but failed because only £200 per month can be added. I have mentioned that they have the power to deal with a situation when a property purchase falls through but they haven’t commented
    How exactly did the scammers steal the money from the HTB ISA (and other accounts)?

    If you fell for an Authorised Push Payment scam, then, assuming Halifax don't determine that you were negligent in some way, they'll refund you under the terms of the voluntary code introduced in 2019.  However, that doesn't actually mean that they have any responsibility (or perhaps even capability) to reinstate a HTB ISA in these circumstances, even though the scheme rules permit this action to be taken after a property purchase failure.
  • ChriselizaChriseliza Forumite
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    Thank you for your reply that is exactly what happened and the Halifax refunded all of the money to me. Any ideas on who to speak to to return the money to the ISA if it’s not the banks responsibility?
  • kuratowskikuratowski Forumite
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    Hi Chriseliza, sorry to hear about your experience.  Are you aged under 40?  If so, it would be worth opening a LISA (lifetime ISA), which has the same government bonus.
  • eskbankereskbanker Forumite
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    Thank you for your reply that is exactly what happened and the Halifax refunded all of the money to me. Any ideas on who to speak to to return the money to the ISA if it’s not the banks responsibility?
    Sorry, I didn't mean to imply that anyone can reinstate the HTB ISA, so if Halifax say they can't then I don't think you have any other options - the fact that banks will reimburse victims of APP scams doesn't commit them to actually reversing withdrawals made from restricted accounts....
  • ChriselizaChriseliza Forumite
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    It seems so wrong that the bank accept the withdrawals were not made by me that the can’t/won’t reverse the transactions.

    Thank you for your response - much appreciated 
  • eskbankereskbanker Forumite
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    It seems so wrong that the bank accept the withdrawals were not made by me that the can’t/won’t reverse the transactions.

    Thank you for your response - much appreciated 
    If it was an authorised push payment scam then the bank doesn't accept that you didn't make the withdrawals (because you did), but they reimburse anyway, provided you weren't deemed to be negligent when you made the payments to the scammers and thereby qualify for reimbursement under the terms of the voluntary APP scam code. 

    Getting your money back at all is a good result, that you probably wouldn't have achieved more than a couple of years ago, so missing out on some HTB ISA bonus, while undoubtedly irritating, should be seen in context, and, as pointed out above, you may be able to use a Lifetime ISA to earn an equivalent bonus if you won't be buying in the particularly near future....
  • edited 18 June 2021 at 6:20PM
    masonicmasonic Forumite
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    edited 18 June 2021 at 6:20PM
    I have mentioned that they have the power to deal with a situation when a property purchase falls through but they haven’t commented
    There is a basis in law for money being returned to a HTB ISA when it is removed by the ISA provider as part of an account closure for the purposes of buying a property, and a valid bonus claim is made by an eligible conveyancer (but not where no such bonus claim was made).
    It is prohibited by law for money to be returned to a HTB ISA after the account owner withdraws it for any reason, including to move it to a "safe" account at the request of fraudsters impersonating their bank.
    If you think the law is unfair, then the best person to take it up with is someone who has some influence to change the law, i.e. your local MP. Set your expectations low, especially given the product in question is being phased out.
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