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Life After Debt - Caroline's 4 year struggle with the UK Banks

Posted by on in From My Window
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Friday, 9 November 2012

Albert Einstein once said, “Wire telegraph is like a very, very long cat, you pull its tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Radio operates in exactly the same way: you send signals here they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat” yet, despite almost one hundred years of technological advancement and much virtual cat tail pulling on my part I have, until this week, remained both impatient and noticeably void of any communication on the subject of my Halifax Bank of Scotland mortgage miss-selling case or my complaint sighting unfair practices within the Financial Ombudsman Service.
Regularly experiencing, firsthand, the lack of regulatory impetus which continues to halt the complaints progress for the individual, it has been no surprise to hear that not only are global financial reforms falling behind schedule but the larger banks have been given yet more time (some as late as 2019) to comply with new risk management regulation. In a climate where the UK's Treasury Select Committee are fearful that without their oversight the long awaited Financial Services Authority report into the collapse of HBOS may not otherwise be “fair and balanced” it is not difficult to imagine the individual will never be heard with the odds so grossly and unequally stacked against them.
Reports stating the UK’s corporate and banking elite are not only having a profitable and prosecution free recession but will also enjoy an average of 27% in pay increases this year only add to an over all sense of futility felt by those suffering the job losses and home repossessions as a direct result of widespread banking criminality and unlawful market manipulation. Far from reconciling the vast and ever increasing divide between those of us who have been forced to shoulder the consequences of economic terrorism and those who continue to turn it to their advantage, it is nigh on impossible to believe anyone but the cream of the FTSE elite can expect anything even close to economic justice or a comforting pre-Christmas windfall.
Further more, with some victims of PPI mis-selling having had to wait almost two decades to secure redress for this multi billion pound act of corporately endorsed banking fraud while four long years having passed since Tony Boorman, the principal Financial Ombudsman in 2008, first told Channel Four several banks were under investigation for mortgage mis-selling, it has been nothing short of fanciful to hold hopes that endless hours of carefully researched communication will result in one individual’s personal anguish being either acknowledged or heard by anyone other than a few loyal FB friends and a modest number of Life after Debt Blog and Twitter followers.
However, this week nothing could be further from the truth. I am delighted to report, after years of fighting and writing, I have received,
  • Two hundred and forty five page views, twenty four comments, seventeen additional followers along with fifteen retweets all as a result of my Platitudes and Placations post
  • A formal acknowledgement from the Financial Ombudsman Service stating that, after almost a whole year of waiting, my overvaluation complaint is finally being investigated by HBOS
  • A lengthy letter from the Financial Ombudsman Service fully investigating their dealings with me in which they “sincerely apologise” (twice) for their “failings” in the handling of my case and ask me to accept £500 by way of compensation for the “distress and inconvenience” I have suffered.

Albert Einstein also said, “Reality is a mere illusion” and it appears that despite my impression that the many hours I (and my good friend Chris) have dedicated to stating my case have seemingly fallen on deaf ears, in reality my very, very, long communication cat has been howling its head off after all!

If only it was those who got it wrong in the first place were picking up the bill rather than, once again, the long suffering taxpayer.
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  • doyla66
    doyla66 Sunday, 11 November 2012

    FSA investigating mortgage 'misselling'
    By Bridgid Nzekwu Updated on 20 May 2008
    Financial watchdog confirms to Channel 4 News that misselling investigation is underway and acknowledges concern over 'growing' problem.
    Watch the report

    The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has confirmed to Channel 4 News at Noon that it is currently investigating cases of the misselling of mortgages.
    Although it wouldn't say how many or whom it was investigating, the principal Financial Ombudsman Tony Boorman told the programme that:

    "Certainly we see cases of misselling where we frankly find it extremely difficult to believe that a responsible lender, a responsible intermediary, could have in all conscience advised the customer that this was a sensible product, a sensible size of loan for them to take out given what that lender, given what that broker knew about the customer's circumstances..."

    Also talking to Channel 4 News at Noon, Peter Tutton, Social Policy Officer of Citizens Advice said:

    "We've seen people on benefits, maybe unable to work, given mortgages that they could never really service."

    "People who have serious debt problems that they're trying to deal with being contacted by people saying 'Do you want to buy your council house?' for instance, and getting into difficulty very quickly. Also people who might be over retirement age given mortgages that will stretch to very old age with no account [taken] of their income.

    In one case mortgage costs made people's expenditure £200 a month more than their income and there was no way that mortgage was going to stand up over time."

    Despite current complaints over misselling only amounting to less than 5 per cent of total complaints about all mortgages - as estimated by the ombudsman - the number of complaints overall about mortgages (all types of complaints) has gone up around 50 per cent from 4,300 in 2006/7 to 6,500 in 2007/8 and those relating to misselling are expected to rise.

  • doyla66
    doyla66 Tuesday, 13 November 2012

    "Someone got the numbers wrong ...."

    The lack of specific complaint statistics doesn't necessarily reflect the true situation, in Australia or anywhere. Thus the provision of complaint handling services based on orthodox statistics can be well wide of the mark.
    In Australia ASIC's long held reputation for failure to attend in a time sensitive and human focused manner to complaints about financial misconduct acts as a deterrent to those who might otherwise put their complaint in for real complaint handling and real results. Other factors that can impact accuracy in complaint statistics include
    - cultural context (e.g. will complainant be punished indirectly by secret police? is it culturally acceptable for women to complain to a male dominated authority? etc)
    - degree of difficulty in completing the complaint form which can also be related to
    - literacy & numeracy standards
    - access to internet provision and computers for information and submission of complaints
    - knowledge of the existence of the complaint framework and
    - ability to endure the complaint handling process
    - lack of confidence in either the complaint handlers or
    - lack of self-assertion and awareness of ones rights and thus ones right to complain and expectation of better treatment

    Exposure to systematic abuse, neglect, denial of basic rights and widespread denial of real and obvious problems by others impacts directly on capacity to complain "correctly" and thus accuracy of complaint records for the purpose of estimates and forward planning.

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