A bank complaint is, as it sounds, a complaint against the bank. At present there are around 2,500,000 complaints made against the High Street Banks and Lenders each year. This is not taking into account those complaints in relation to Payment Protection Insurance (which makes the complaint numbers even higher!
Of the 2,500,000 complaints that are taken forward to the Banks, around 600,000 to 700,000 eventually end with the Financial Ombudsman for adjudication in some way, shape or form. Of course, there can be many complaints against Banks and some of them are not included in the 2,500,000 figures. For example, those who have a gripe over a cash machine not working, or a standing order was cancelled incorrectly. Many of these are just addressed at the time and dealt with by the Bank and are not registered.
However, of the 2,500,000 complaints, a number of these we are certainly in a position to look at on your behalf. We have dealt with many types of complaints in the past, where we can help in not only dealing with the Banks, but also if the Banks do not wish to address the case (and needs be) we can take the complaint forward to the Financial Ombudsman. The Banks’ Complaint process and the whole Lenders complaint process can be extremely frustrating and difficult to understand, regardless of how difficult the complaint may well be.
We are therefore the buffer that provides expertise in dealing with disputes, but we also have the banking knowledge (from over the last 25 years) that helps us to achieve a positive conclusion and get the redress that the complaint deserves.
Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) has been in the news now for a number of years, following a “super complaint” by the Citizens Advice Bureau and an investigation by the, then Financial Services Authority, into the mis-selling of Payment Protection Insurance.
We deal with many thousands of complaints in relation to this and we have been dealing with vast numbers (and will continue to do so). A time limit for submitting claims is due to come into force however, which is likely to be in spring 2018.
At that point, we will then manage our portfolio of Payment Protection Insurance complaints until they are all concluded satisfactorily. Due to the scale of the PPI complaints that are in hand, this means it is likely to take a further 2 to 3 years after the deadline to conclude all claims, as the Banks clear up all those outstanding claims, and the Financial Ombudsman addresses any that have been submitted to them for adjudication.
Packagaed Bank Account Claims
In 2014, we started to see a growing numbers of complaints in relation to Packaged Bank Account facilities (PBA), which grew in 2015 and will certainly continue to grow in 2016.
The Banks are making considerable provisions in order to address the concerns that clients have in relation to the mis-selling of these Packaged Bank Account facilities which has been widespread over a number of years. The Banks are now having to justify the potential mis-selling to many millions of the 11 million current account providers with these Packaged Bank Account facilities.
We have been dealing with Packaged Bank Account complaints since 2013. We are seeing growing numbers daily in relation to people wishing to make a complaint, which we do address on behalf of our clients.
As we work purely on a “No Win No Fee” basis, if it established that the Packaged Bank Account facility was sold correctly, then of course there is no fee to pay.
Reclaiming PPI Again
It seems extremely odd to imagine how the Banks got themselves into a situation where, if a claim has already been made for PPI, and the PPI has already been refunded, as well as interest and compensatory interest, that there could potentially be a further refund due. However, this is in fact the case.
This situation follows a Court Ruling at the end of 2014. It means that anyone who has had a successful PPI claim in the past (which has been agreed and refunded) could be due a further refund. This refund relates to the hidden commission that the Lender paid against the premium charged at the time. Nobody was however made aware of any of the commissions that were paid.
If a commission was paid (which is highly likely) as around 85% to 95% of policies had some form of commission paid, then this, or certainly a proportion of the commission has to be refunded, together with interest and compensatory interest.
Whilst the refund would not run into the full level that you had already received from your original PPI claim, it would certainly be a proportion and it is therefore worthwhile looking at. If you have had a refund in relation to Payment Protection Insurance, then we can locate whether any commission was paid. If it was, then we can look to obtain a further refund on your behalf.
If there is no refund, because no commission was paid, then of course there is no fee to pay.
Mortgage Early Repayment Charge
The early repayment charge applied on mortgages in recent years, certainly since the late 1990s, has been a real bugbear of ours. We see no reason how any mortgage lender can justify the considerable fees that they have levied on customers when they have, for some reason, cancelled their facilities with them. Of course, it is absolutely right if the lender is going to lose out that they do charge a fee. However, we cannot see how fees running into several thousands, if not tens of thousands of pounds reflect anything other than considerable profiteering on behalf of the Lenders.
A recent European Directive has suggested that lenders have to adopt a different approach when charging early repayment charges, and that there is potential to recover those that have already have been charged in the past.
We are looking at a number of our clients’ cases where these fees have been applied. We have been successful in obtaining refunds upon all, if not a proportion of the fee.
This does not however happen in every case and, for whatever reason, if there is no refund then there is of course no fee to pay.
Many people have sums of money (and these do not necessarily have to be great) which they have tied up with the various Banks and Insurance Companies over recent years. Unfortunately, the Banks and Insurance Companies have employed sales people who earn commission, which means they have not followed the correct rules and procedures in order to deal with any investment advice. We have found this on a number of occasions when customers have been sadly disappointed by the performance of the investment, whatever it may and however much it is.
Therefore, if you do have any form of investment which you are unhappy with, for example due to the risk or performance, and regardless of when you took the investment out, we can look at it on your behalf to establish if the correct process was involved and the correct advice was provided.
The important part of any advice with regard to investments is that it complies with the regulations which are extremely well laid out and have to reflect a client’s circumstances. In our successes in the past, they have included refunds in relation to monies which have been lost, and where performance has not been maintained as the client was led to believe it would.
Mis-sold Pension Annuity
We believe that the Pension Annuity scandal will hit the Banks in the years to come. Pension Annuities themselves are an extremely tricky product, which has been mis-sold by the Banks in recent years and will continue to be mis-sold as those looking to transfer the money will not understand the potential loss to them until, sadly, it is too late!
The main point with regard to Pension Annuities is establishing whether the Annuity and level of risk was correct. Even though it is an investment, and therefore you are investing your money, it is also an insurance policy.
The Annuity is based upon your health. Therefore, if you have any form of health issues and (bearing in mind the age of those people taking out Annuities from age 55 plus) then if any medical conditions are not established, this can affect the Annuity to the point that it makes it completely worthless if something happens to you in the future.
Therefore, because we believe that the Pension Annuity scandal is a ticking time bomb, if you have a Pension Annuity, you should allow us the opportunity to make sure that it has been set up correctly and that it is appropriate for you.
If it is above-board then you will have the peace of mind of having had it independently checked and looked at, and know that the correct sales process has been undertaken and that there is no complaints process, but you will also not have to pay a fee!
Consequential Loss on Packaged Bank Account Facilities
When obtaining a refund in relation to Packaged Bank Account facilities, we are then going back to the Bank who have agreed to provide a refund and challenge them further, should our client have had any previous bank account charges during the period of the operation of the Packaged Bank Account.
This form of claim is called a “consequential loss claim” namely that if the Packaged Bank Account fee was not taken (and as we have obtained a refund we will know that it had been taken incorrectly) which in turn caused the facility to be breached, for whatever reason, and a further unauthorised fee had been taken, then we can look at recovering that fee on your behalf.
Of course, the fees do mount up over a period of time and it is likely that any fees charged during the time that the Packaged Bank Account charges were taken (which were in addition to the Packaged Bank Account fees) can be reclaimed along with interest and compensatory interest.
Equity Release or Lifetime Mortgages
We have never been great fans of the equity release or lifetime mortgages, but with the increasing value of properties, this has become an easy way of withdrawing monies from your asset in order to enjoy retirement or provide for family members.
However, we can see this being a real problem in the future as nobody knows how long their lifetime is going to be. If somebody enjoys a long full life (as we all hope) then there can be some benefits to a lifetime mortgage, as ultimately the company providing the finance are not going to see the recovery of their monies until death.
However, what the lifetime mortgage providers do not tell you are the consequences of how much the facility costs if you look at selling, or something happens which means the property has to be sold in some way, shape or form. This is when the true nature of the product rears its ugly head and we can see it being a real problem in the future.
The Traditional Bank Complaint
There are a variety of complaints that we have been seeing in recent years in relation to Payment Protection insurance, Endowment Mortgages, Packaged Bank Account facilities and so on. However, there are a huge range of specific complaints which are ultimately just in relation to you, as an individual. These can range from fraud on a particular bank account through to incorrect charging on your bank account. These do not get encompassed by some large scandal, but are very personal and can be extremely costly to you.
We have dealt with considerable numbers of these types of complaint on a huge variety of issues from fraud, harassment and over-charging in the past. This is something that we enjoy working with our clients on, in order to achieve a positive result.
Due to the specific nature of any complaint we do take them on a case-by-case basis and agree terms with clients that are acceptable to both parties.
Mis-sold Life Insurance
Life Cover, also known as “Living Cover” or “Whole of Life Cover” is not sold correctly on every occasion. Sometimes the salesman (to put it nicely) is over-zealous and will provide a product which is not necessarily needed, or you may already have a product that is in place. If this is the case, then of course there is potential for a mis-sale.
Life insurance and whole of life insurance can be an extremely effective product and provides an excellent safety net for loved-ones in the event of death or serious illness. However, if it is not structured in the way that is appropriate and if it does not meet the stringent regulations that surround the sale of these particular products, it can be extremely costly at some point in the future, if it is not appropriate.
We deal with a number of these cases. If you do have any form of life cover or whole of life cover which you are unhappy with, for whatever reason, we will be delighted to look at it for you.
Reclaiming Bank Charges
Bank charges, or those fees which have been charged for exceeding an overdraft facility or going over a facility without prior arrangement, were looked into and refunded back in 2006/2007. However, the Court Ruling that followed was lost by the Office of Fair Trading meaning that the charges themselves could not be challenged for fairness. Whilst this is utterly ridiculous, unfortunately it is the Law which one needs to be compliant with. However, there are occasions when the bank charges themselves can be recovered and these fall into two groups: –
- The first being if the charges themselves were not applied in an appropriate fashion, as detailed in the terms and conditions of the account.
- The second (which we are seeing as being more relevant) is when there has been a refund in relation to a Packaged Bank Account facility charges, we can then look at any charges after the first PBA fee was charged and look to recover this fee by way of consequential loss.
PPI Time Limit
The Financial Conduct Authority have been working with the Banks to bring the PPI scandal to a conclusion and they have agreed that at some time during spring 2018 a final date to submit claims in relation to the recovery of PPI’s is to be set.
Whilst this is still some time away it is essential, if you have not already made a claim, (and there are many millions, if not tens of millions of policies that remain unclaimed) that you do so. There is no reason not to make a complaint, regardless of whether you have: –
- any information or account details;
- regardless of whether you can remember if PPI was applied, or not and;
- regardless of how long the PPI policy or facility that you had with the lender was taken out.
We specialise in looking at PPI facilities from as far back as the 1980s without any information. Of course there are never any guarantees of success, which is why we work purely on a “No Win No Fee” basis.
Time Limits to Complain
The Financial Conduct Authority (through the complaints process) provides the Banks with some degree of protection from long drawn-out complaints, in that there are a variety of time limits that consumers who make a complaint against a Firm have in which to submit the complaint itself.
The first is that once the complaint is dealt with by the Firm, they will issue a “letter of deadlock” or “conclusion letter”. At this time there is 6 months to then forward the complaint if you intend to, to the Financial Ombudsman.
In addition, there are two other dates which are extremely important when looking at complaints.
The first being, is the complaint within 6 years of your submission? If it is not within 6 years of your submission, is the submission within 3 years of your knowledge that a complaint can be made? This unfortunately provides an area where there is some degree of grey blurriness which lenders can use against anyone wishing to make a complaint.
However, there are normally a raft of reasons why a complaint was not made earlier. There are no right or wrong arguments in dealing with this, which we are used to.
Who We Are
Martin Knipe is the Director of RYM Claims and we run a small number of experienced staff who deal with claims on a daily basis, with Martin overseeing all of them. Depending upon the nature of the complaint, Martin will have a more hands-on approach to certain aspects, but we always make sure that we have sufficient time to deal with all complaints in a way that enables them to have the greatest opportunity to succeed – regardless of how long it takes!
Unfortunately, time is always an issue with regard to the Banks and the complaints process and it can be one of the most frustrating aspects of any complaint, which can take certainly months (at its simplest) through to several years for those complaints which are complicated and run the full course of any complaints process.
However, we are used to this and we always see complaints through to a conclusion, regardless of how long the complaint process takes in order to bring it to a satisfactory conclusion – all of course on a “No Win No Fee” basis.