Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@.

Search
  • FIRST POST
    • dieseloil
    • By dieseloil 16th Apr 16, 11:25 AM
    • 8Posts
    • 1Thanks
    dieseloil
    Unreasonable bank charges and exceptional circumstances
    • #1
    • 16th Apr 16, 11:25 AM
    Unreasonable bank charges and exceptional circumstances 16th Apr 16 at 11:25 AM
    We were hit with unfair bank charges whilst we were going through a very difficult financial period. I had to take two jobs to try and make ends meet and was pushed into taking out a high interest rate loan to help with repayments, etc.

    After having sorted ourselves out financially, my son made us aware that we could claim back unfair bank charges, which we proceeded to do. However, this took us a while and during that time I was diagnosed with lung cancer so had to immediately go on a course of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Anybody who has been through this will know what this is like. It was absolute hell. On top of that, I was also diagnosed with irregular heartbeat.

    Unfortunately, the chemo did not work so I am now having alternative treatment and will need a heart operation shortly. Obviously, with all this going on in one’s life, the fact that you have missed the bank’s deadline by a few weeks, did not seem very relevant. We contacted the Ombudsman’s Service who were most helpful and said they would pursue our case, after having supplied all the Consultants reports and this is their response:

    “ I’m sorry it’s taken me a while to get back to you about your problem involving Halifax.

    When we last spoke, you told me you weren’t able to bring your complaint to our service because of your recent circumstances. You provided evidence which I sent on to Halifax and asked them to let me know whether they’d allow us to investigate.

    what they’ve said

    Halifax have now come back to me to say that they won’t grant us permission to investigate.

    The reason for this is because they say you were able to raise a complaint with them whilst you were under-going treatment. Because of this, they feel you could have also contacted us some point before the six months were up. They’ve told me they appreciate what was happening at the time – but they won’t allow us to waive the time bar. Based on what they’ve told me,

    I understand that you’ve been through a very difficult time, and I’m sorry I’m not able to give you the answer you were looking for on this occasion.

    I won’t be able to take any further action. But if you have any questions, please feel free to let me know.
    Ombudsman’s Service.”

    Is there any way around the time bar?
Page 1
    • dunstonh
    • By dunstonh 16th Apr 16, 12:02 PM
    • 92,209 Posts
    • 59,378 Thanks
    dunstonh
    • #2
    • 16th Apr 16, 12:02 PM
    • #2
    • 16th Apr 16, 12:02 PM
    We were hit with unfair bank charges whilst we were going through a very difficult financial period.
    Bank charges are not unfair. The bank won the court case in 2009 and charges were restructured to avoid them being classified as unfair.

    After having sorted ourselves out financially, my son made us aware that we could claim back unfair bank charges, which we proceeded to do.
    Was this prior to 2009 when that sort of thing was common? It died a death after that.

    Unfortunately, the chemo did not work so I am now having alternative treatment and will need a heart operation shortly. Obviously, with all this going on in one’s life, the fact that you have missed the bank’s deadline by a few weeks, did not seem very relevant. We contacted the Ombudsman’s Service who were most helpful and said they would pursue our case, after having supplied all the Consultants reports and this is their response:
    The FOS is an independent arbiter of complaints. It does not pursue issues like a consumer champion. It is there to ensure both sides have their case looked at fairly.

    Halifax have now come back to me to say that they won’t grant us permission to investigate.

    The reason for this is because they say you were able to raise a complaint with them whilst you were under-going treatment. Because of this, they feel you could have also contacted us some point before the six months were up. They’ve told me they appreciate what was happening at the time – but they won’t allow us to waive the time bar. Based on what they’ve told me,

    I understand that you’ve been through a very difficult time, and I’m sorry I’m not able to give you the answer you were looking for on this occasion.

    I won’t be able to take any further action. But if you have any questions, please feel free to let me know.
    Ombudsman’s Service.”

    Is there any way around the time bar?
    No. If the FOS consider the timebar fair and the bank do not wish to waive it then it is enforced and cannot be got around.

    I wouldnt be too disappointed though. The FOS ceased to take on complaints about unfair bank charges after the 2009 ruling. So, even if the timebar had been overruled, you would have still hit a dead end.

    The only bank charge issues looked at now are CURRENT financial hardship cases (not historic) and incorrect application of charges.
    I am an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA). Comments are for discussion purposes only. They are not financial advice. If you feel an area discussed may be relevant to you, then please seek advice from an Independent Financial Adviser local to you.
    • grumbler
    • By grumbler 16th Apr 16, 12:22 PM
    • 51,394 Posts
    • 21,764 Thanks
    grumbler
    • #3
    • 16th Apr 16, 12:22 PM
    • #3
    • 16th Apr 16, 12:22 PM
    The only bank charge issues looked at now are CURRENT financial hardship cases (not historic) and incorrect application of charges.
    Originally posted by dunstonh
    This case looks like 'current' to me.
    However, I don't think that there is a way around the 'time bar'.
    The OP should have contacted the bank as soon as the hardship started.
    We are born naked, wet and hungry...Then things get worse.

    .withdrawal, NOT withdrawel ..bear with me, NOT bare with me
    .definitely, NOT definately ......separate, NOT seperate
    should have, NOT should of
    .....guaranteed, NOT guarenteed
    • dunstonh
    • By dunstonh 17th Apr 16, 10:53 AM
    • 92,209 Posts
    • 59,378 Thanks
    dunstonh
    • #4
    • 17th Apr 16, 10:53 AM
    • #4
    • 17th Apr 16, 10:53 AM
    This case looks like 'current' to me.
    The OP states "After having sorted ourselves out financially" which suggests it is no longer current. That was what I was going on to measure current/historic.
    I am an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA). Comments are for discussion purposes only. They are not financial advice. If you feel an area discussed may be relevant to you, then please seek advice from an Independent Financial Adviser local to you.
    • dieseloil
    • By dieseloil 17th Apr 16, 12:52 PM
    • 8 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    dieseloil
    • #5
    • 17th Apr 16, 12:52 PM
    • #5
    • 17th Apr 16, 12:52 PM
    Sorry to all who have read this. I don't think I have made this clear. The time bar that the bank and Ombudsman is referring to is the fact that it took us longer than 6 months to reply to the Bank's letter which refused any compensation. It made us feel that it was pointless going any further.
    Yes, it is, to a certain extent, ongoing.
    • dunstonh
    • By dunstonh 17th Apr 16, 1:03 PM
    • 92,209 Posts
    • 59,378 Thanks
    dunstonh
    • #6
    • 17th Apr 16, 1:03 PM
    • #6
    • 17th Apr 16, 1:03 PM
    Hardship means hardship. Bills going unpaid. Balance getting worse every month etc. If that is the case, the bank will normally look at solutions as long as the reasons are not down to consumer spending. Whilst a Sky sub or mobile phone bill in isolation wont necessarily rule out hardship, they do look at spending habits and if they see restaurants, mcdonalds, shopping at Next etc then they will not consider you in hardship.

    Your first problem was that the bank did not think you were currently in financial hardship. You may have moved from hardship to struggle but they dont need to do anything if you are struggling but getting there.

    Your second problem basically ended it as the timebar is final unless the bank volunteer to waive it.
    I am an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA). Comments are for discussion purposes only. They are not financial advice. If you feel an area discussed may be relevant to you, then please seek advice from an Independent Financial Adviser local to you.
    • jonesMUFCforever
    • By jonesMUFCforever 17th Apr 16, 4:39 PM
    • 24,659 Posts
    • 11,891 Thanks
    jonesMUFCforever
    • #7
    • 17th Apr 16, 4:39 PM
    • #7
    • 17th Apr 16, 4:39 PM
    Sorry to all who have read this. I don't think I have made this clear. The time bar that the bank and Ombudsman is referring to is the fact that it took us longer than 6 months to reply to the Bank's letter which refused any compensation. It made us feel that it was pointless going any further.
    Yes, it is, to a certain extent, ongoing.
    Originally posted by dieseloil
    I would put this thread to bed now.

    You complained, the bank refused you what you thought you deserved, you didn't reply within 6 months, so you took it to the ombudsman who told you that you were out of time.

    Your ONLY option now is to sue them - come back when you have been to court to let us know how you got on.
    What goes around - comes around
    give lots and you will always receive lots
    • YorkshireBoy
    • By YorkshireBoy 17th Apr 16, 6:01 PM
    • 30,136 Posts
    • 17,987 Thanks
    YorkshireBoy
    • #8
    • 17th Apr 16, 6:01 PM
    • #8
    • 17th Apr 16, 6:01 PM
    Your ONLY option now is to sue them
    Originally posted by jonesMUFCforever
    Litigation isn't the "only" option left, although I suspect the OP won't want to go 'public' and get the financial press involved!
    • jonesMUFCforever
    • By jonesMUFCforever 17th Apr 16, 8:24 PM
    • 24,659 Posts
    • 11,891 Thanks
    jonesMUFCforever
    • #9
    • 17th Apr 16, 8:24 PM
    • #9
    • 17th Apr 16, 8:24 PM
    Litigation isn't the "only" option left, although I suspect the OP won't want to go 'public' and get the financial press involved!
    Originally posted by YorkshireBoy
    I'm sure in cases like this they would not mind one bit if the OP wants to go to the press - if the ombudsman refuses to deal with the claim they will say so in the press.
    I am pretty sure that the final letter from the bank would have included clear information of what was needed and the timescales if they wanted to pass on the case to the ombudsman.
    What goes around - comes around
    give lots and you will always receive lots
    • YorkshireBoy
    • By YorkshireBoy 17th Apr 16, 8:31 PM
    • 30,136 Posts
    • 17,987 Thanks
    YorkshireBoy
    I'm sure in cases like this they would not mind one bit if the OP wants to go to the press - if the ombudsman refuses to deal with the claim they will say so in the press.
    Originally posted by jonesMUFCforever
    I disagree, for the reason below.
    I am pretty sure that the final letter from the bank would have included clear information of what was needed and the timescales if they wanted to pass on the case to the ombudsman.
    Yes it would. But it may well be the letter wasn't even opened, let alone read and acted upon...for the reason(s) given in the OP. Even banks must have compassion! They may not even be aware of the OP's serious health issue(s).
    • colsten
    • By colsten 17th Apr 16, 9:03 PM
    • 8,993 Posts
    • 7,745 Thanks
    colsten
    You can only conclude on the matter after having heard both sides. We have only heard one side.

    The Ombudsman has heard both sides and concluded there is now no claim.
    • dunstonh
    • By dunstonh 17th Apr 16, 9:40 PM
    • 92,209 Posts
    • 59,378 Thanks
    dunstonh
    Yes it would. But it may well be the letter wasn't even opened, let alone read and acted upon...for the reason(s) given in the OP. Even banks must have compassion! They may not even be aware of the OP's serious health issue(s).
    If the bank are able to supply the date it was issued, then expectation would be that it was read within a few days of that. The 6 month period would be something like 6 months and 1 week from that date. There is always a small tolerance. However, if it sits in an envelope unopened or unread, then that is unlucky.

    In the appeal to the FOS, you would expect the OP to have made the point about health similar to how it was on post #1. Health is something the FOS do consider when looking at the timebar. However, you effectively have to justify the whole of the period of the delay. Plus, the FOS themselves set the bar quite high. Incapacity for the whole of the period for all account holders would be the level.

    The FOS also go to the bank with what they have been told and ask the bank if they wish to volunteer to reopen the case. if the bank say no and the FOS feel health was not an issue then it is case closed.

    Even if the FOS did overrule the timebar, it still faces the issue that the FOS no longer consider complaints about unfair bank charges. it can only make sure the bank treats the consumer fairly in cases of hardship. Hardship cases do not automatically get a refund. Indeed, common solutions are suspending charges and/or interest for the next 3-6 months or putting the person on a debt management plan. Where charges are refunded, often it is only the last 6-12 months. It only tends to be on extreme cases where refunds go back longer (and they do happen, just not that common).
    I am an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA). Comments are for discussion purposes only. They are not financial advice. If you feel an area discussed may be relevant to you, then please seek advice from an Independent Financial Adviser local to you.
    • spotify95
    • By spotify95 16th Apr 18, 11:29 AM
    • 6 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    spotify95
    Hardship means hardship. Bills going unpaid. Balance getting worse every month etc. If that is the case, the bank will normally look at solutions as long as the reasons are not down to consumer spending. Whilst a Sky sub or mobile phone bill in isolation wont necessarily rule out hardship, they do look at spending habits and if they see restaurants, mcdonalds, shopping at Next etc then they will not consider you in hardship.

    Your first problem was that the bank did not think you were currently in financial hardship. You may have moved from hardship to struggle but they dont need to do anything if you are struggling but getting there.

    Your second problem basically ended it as the timebar is final unless the bank volunteer to waive it.
    Originally posted by dunstonh
    Would they consider you NOT in hardship if you do your regular food shopping at Sainsbury's and ask why you don't got to Aldi or Lidl instead?
    • BorisThomson
    • By BorisThomson 16th Apr 18, 11:32 AM
    • 1,519 Posts
    • 3,198 Thanks
    BorisThomson
    Would they consider you NOT in hardship if you do your regular food shopping at Sainsbury's and ask why you don't got to Aldi or Lidl instead?
    Originally posted by spotify95
    No. Some people don't have a Lidl etc nearby. What is more important are the amounts spent, wherever that shopping is done.
    • PeacefulWaters
    • By PeacefulWaters 16th Apr 18, 12:36 PM
    • 8,254 Posts
    • 10,527 Thanks
    PeacefulWaters
    Would they consider you NOT in hardship if you do your regular food shopping at Sainsbury's and ask why you don't got to Aldi or Lidl instead?
    Originally posted by spotify95
    Two year old thread. Really?
    • dunstonh
    • By dunstonh 16th Apr 18, 1:57 PM
    • 92,209 Posts
    • 59,378 Thanks
    dunstonh
    Would they consider you NOT in hardship if you do your regular food shopping at Sainsbury's and ask why you don't got to Aldi or Lidl instead?
    Originally posted by spotify95
    Sainsburys vs Aldi/Lidl is not a big enough gap. However, people have been declined for buying M&S sandwiches and buying clothes at Next. People in real hardship dont do those things.

    Top package on Sky TV or a high mobile phone bill (with no context - self employed may have a high bill due to trade) or spending on holidays, hotels etc.

    They are looking to see if its genuine hardship or living beyond means
    I am an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA). Comments are for discussion purposes only. They are not financial advice. If you feel an area discussed may be relevant to you, then please seek advice from an Independent Financial Adviser local to you.
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

1,107Posts Today

7,092Users online

Martin's Twitter
  • Yes you would think in this electronic day and age. They could put digital ticket machines on trains https://t.co/RPo4XXvrwk

  • RT @Mattallwright: Martin: supplementary: Does she know which platform the train is on, or is it Paddington with five minutes notice to cov?

  • RT @KTMGordo: @MartinSLewis Imagine Jane is hungry and late for an urgent appointment & needs to buy a sandwich but the queue's huge. Is?

  • Follow Martin