Help to buy ISA issue

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in ISAs & Tax-free Savings
3 replies 1.4K views
jaywbukjaywbuk Forumite
3 Posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in ISAs & Tax-free Savings
Hi there,

I've just hit a huge hurdle, can anyone offer advice, I've written to the financial ombudsman but wanted to see if anyone has a similar issue? From my solicitor

I submitted the Bonus Request on your behalf prior to the completion of the matter. Although I was not informed of it at the time, the First Time Buyer’s Declaration had been left off, and even though the completion date was entered, I am told that the pay date was also left off. I had assumed that the completion date was all that was required and was not aware of the existence of the form required for use as a first time Buyer’s declaration.

They are now refusing to pay the bonus because of it.

Replies

  • eskbankereskbanker Forumite
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    If your second paragraph is all a copy/paste of the solicitor's actual wording then it sounds to me like they're admitting negligence and should therefore make good any loss arising from their incompetence....

    However, it's not 100% clear who is alleged to have 'left off' key items and who the 'they' is who are refusing to pay the bonus, does this mean that as a result of the solicitor's omissions the scheme administrators are rejecting the bonus application and if so, on what specific grounds?

    Worth familiarising with the bonus rejection provisions within section 7.5 of the scheme rules and the associated dispute resolution process, in case it starts to get messy....
  • jaywbukjaywbuk Forumite
    3 Posts
    Thanks for the swift response, the main issue is that the first time buyer deceleration form was never supplied by the Halifax to me nor is it clear on their paper work or website that it was needed. The people refusing are the help to buy administrators. So in effect a processing error is excluding my legitimate claim to the bonus.

    Their email states:

    I have had a look at the Bonus Request and can see that this is on hold with an expected completion date of 25/05/2017.

    If completion has taken place then we will not be able to pay this bonus as per the Scheme Rules.

    If completion hasn't taken place please use the 'edit bonus' function to enter the correct completion date and also a pay date. Without a pay date the system will not send the funds and the Bonus Request will remain on hold.

    We completed on the 25th May. What to do?
  • eskbankereskbanker Forumite
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    jaywbuk wrote: »
    the main issue is that the first time buyer deceleration form was never supplied by the Halifax to me nor is it clear on their paper work or website that it was needed.
    I don't see the Halifax as being in any way responsible here - you're engaging a qualified conveyancer to act for you on this transaction (for which you pay them a fee) and it's up to them to know the rules and advise you accordingly - by definition they do it repeatedly and you only do it once as a first time buyer. As part of their qualifying for being eligible conveyancers, they must learn the process and your solicitor certainly shouldn't have gone ahead with the bonus application without the first time buyer declaration.

    As well as the scheme rules linked earlier, there is also an official conveyancer guidelines document, section 8.1(v) of which clearly states that:
    In addition to completing the application form on the online portal, the Eligible Conveyancer must also submit scanned copies of the closing documents, being the First Time Buyer Declaration, and the Closing Letter.
    If your solicitor hasn't followed the specified process properly and this has cost you financially then it seems to me that you have a strong case for the solicitor to reimburse you to the value of the bonus.

    So, unless there's more to this story than meets the eye, I'd be escalating within the solicitor's firm initially and then ultimately via the Law Society, rather than going to the financial ombudsman (who won't have any jurisdiction over the party in the wrong here).
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