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This is a question Banks

Your Ginger Fuhrer froths, "I hate my bank. Not because of debt or anything but because I hate being sold to - possibly pathologically so - and everytime I speak to them they try and sell me services. Gold cards, isas, insurance, you know the crap. It drives me insane. I ALREADY BANK WITH YOU. STOP IT. YOU MAKE ME FRIGHTED TO DO MY NORMAL BANKING. I'm angry even thinking about them."

So, tell us your banking stories of woe.

No doubt at least one of you has shagged in the vault, shat on a counter or thrown up in a cash machine. Or something

(, Thu 16 Jul 2009, 13:15)
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Ahhh banks....
A long time ago - about six or seven years now, I had a bank account with a bank that was somewhat smaller than most - and a subsidiary of one of the biggest in the world.

One Christmas, I had trouble paying a loan payment to them - the moment I realised I'd fucked up, I phoned them and said, I simply don't have the full amount, but I can pop in and give you £xxx rather than nothing.

"Fine", they said, "you're not the first to fuck up, and we glad you offered us something rather than nothing" - or words to that effect.

So, in I go, pay in the money - all is very jovial and friendly.

Until the following Saturday when I get a loan statement from them telling me I'm being charged 25 quid.

Oh well, so be it, I think and just pay when the time comes.

So, about a week later I get a phone call from one of their personal wankers; "do you want to come in to discuss the state of your account and to see what we can do to help you out?"

I blatently don't - but being under the thumb at the time and having to do as my misses told me to do, I went along; just to listen to the twat try to sell me a secured loan (a loan I didn't and don't want).

Anyway, he completely convinces the misses, leaving me with little choice but to sign away my life and soul.

I asked him what to do about the current loan as this was soon to be swallowed up by the 'secured loan'. He tells me he will 'put a note on my account' and tells me not to make any more payments into that loan account.

So, I don't.

Several months pass without me paying, and without me hearing from him. I get several other calls from his colleagues per day, asking why I am not paying the loan and there is no sign of a 'note on my account'.

Eventually, after lying about my name when phoning his branch, I finally get him to answer the phone. He tells me at this point that they are not going to give the secured loan due to me not paying the full monthly amount over Christmas (now around 5 months ago), and so if I could just pay the outstanding amount, all will be fine.

Well, I simply cannot afford to do that, plus their 25 quids here and there for penalising me for not paying the loan on this blokes instructions.

I think about this for some time and get more and more angry - after all, all I was doing was as I was instructed to do by this donkey, and because of that, I end up several hundreds out of pocket and harrassed daily by phone by his work mates.

So I wrote a stinking letter to him, the ombudsman and frankly, anyone who looked like they might listen. In the letter, I basically stated that they had coerced me into defaulting on my loan so that I would incur charges, and that I couldn't believe that it was legal.

All of a sudden, he phones me on my mobile and says that he will 'knock 50 quid off the top of the loan' as a gesture of goodwill.

The people in Gillingham Tesco must have though I was mad when I started banging my phone on the conveyor belt and shouting "What? I.CAN'T.HEAR.YOU.," and "I could have sworn you only said 50 quid..." etc...

He ups the deal to 100 quid, then 150. Bare in mind, I owe around 8 grand.

Eventually, he agrees to me sending them 100 quid and we'll pretend we never met.

Seven weeks later, he phones, sounding all hurt and put out and says "are you going to send this money then, I thought we had a deal" to which I reply, "Oh, yes...in another weeks time. You took 8 weeks to reply to my letter, I'm taking 8 weeks to reply to you. I thought that was your protocol..."

Now...that sounds like a great result; and it was. But it started me thinking.

After I sent the stinking letter, they caved almost instantly and ran backwards as fast as they could, showering me with money until I went away.

Now, why would a bank do that, I mused?

It's not like banks are there to help people; they only help themselves, don't they?

I scanned the letter that I sent, and the only thing that struck a chord was the part about the legalities of what they were doing.

I started to research penalties in contracts between two parties and discovered that it's not legal for any one party to penalise another for a breach of contract. There's stacks of case law bouncing around all over the net (particulary now).

So, I was also having trouble with a bank that rhymes with 'Scabby Bashfull' - I'd changed jobs and due to my new employer not being able to tell the truth/pay on time - ended up with a shed load of similar charges.

I wrote to this bunch of cowboys too, explaining that the first bank had 'very nicely agreed' to help me out in my hour of need.

They wrote back saying, bad luck, just keep giving us your dosh.

I then wrote a seriously snotty letter back saying that unless they returned to me all the dosh they had taken I would take them to court based on the case law mentioned earlier.

They declined to play ball, and more-or-less said, "go on then, see if we care"

So, I did.

Now, this is in the days before this was common knowledge (indeed, I started the Bank Action Group which went on to become The Consumer Action Group - but we'll get to that bit in a minute).

The next day, I saw my (then) mother-in-law. She started freaking out at me, saying "What the hell do you think you're doing suing a bank? Don't you realise you've got children and a house etc... You can't take on a bank...you're going to get screwed, etc....ad nausium"

I reassured her that I knew what I was doing and it was all in hand.

...whilst secretly shitting my pants at the very thought at what I had done.

Word got about a bit, through the interwebs what I was doing; and I met (virtualy) another chap doing the same thing to the same bank - and so we kept in touch via email.

I then went on holiday.

I popped into an Internet cafe to keep myself informed of what was happening and it was then that this other chap informed me that Scabby was trying to get his case moved out of the small claim track in an attempt to make him liable for costs, should he lose.

This gave me a new round of bowel opening moments.

It pertty much ruined the holiday for me.

When I got back I had a letter from their solicitor telling me that if I backed down now, that they wouldn't persue me for costs.

It was at that point that I knew I had them on the run, and so I wrote back and told them that if they'd like to deposit £xxx.xx in my account, then at that point I would stop suing them, and not before.

The next letter took me somewhat by suprise; it was:

"ok, we agree; but we want you to sign this confidentiality agreement so that you can't tell anyone else what greedy, lying weasles we really are."

I replied, informing them that I considered that to be a seperate commercial agreement between myself and their client, and as such I would charge £50,000 for that service.

I was told to go forth and attempt to have more children, in no uncertain terms, and that the money would be in my account the following week.

So, now, not being bound by any legal crap from telling anyone about it - I set about informing everyone who would listen about how to get their bank charges back.

I set up a website - the Bank Action Group - and wrote to MPs, posted in web forums, wrote to every legal person I could, wrote to all the newspapers etc....

Martin Lewis contacted me and helped to fund starting the site up with his own money - then ran with the idea himself (I don't mind at all ;-))

In fact, the letters that people were downloading from his (and my) site were written by me originally. They've been updated a few times since, but in essense, if you've downloaded any of the letters from either site, then these are my handywork!

I was interviewed by The Guardian, the Mail (hurl), BBC's Working Lunch, Tonight with Trev. MaccyD etc...

Before long, I (we, I had a partner in crime by this point) changed the name of the site to the Consumer Action Group, as it was apparent that it wasn't just banks that were ripping people off left, right and centre.

So, to cut a very long story a bit shorter, I ended up directly and indirectly costing the banks hundreds of millions in unfair and basically stolen money.

Still, a word of advice - don't run a forum with thousands of members if the forum is about an emotive subject.

You wouldn't believe the legal threats and arguments - not least from the users of the site - the banks I could understand, after all, we were the enemy, but the users suing and attempting to sue - well, that bit did take me by suprise.

I'm no longer involved now, and haven't been for a long time - I set out to help people who were already struggling financially to get a bit of their hard earned dosh back from very rich fuckers who would take it when you were already down, and ended up embroiled in arguments and legal battles almost daily.

Still, overal, I bet those bastards wish they'd paid the 50k now! ;-)
(, Thu 16 Jul 2009, 15:22, 20 replies)
Stick it to the man!
You mean to say there is light at the end of the tunnel?

At least they're not building any more tunnel in this instance.
(, Thu 16 Jul 2009, 15:36, closed)
...but they have dug themselves a fucking great hole!
(, Thu 16 Jul 2009, 15:37, closed)
Well done you!

(, Thu 16 Jul 2009, 15:41, closed)
As one of the readers of your original forum I can say two things about it...

1) It wasn't very clear in its advice, it tended to ramble. A lot. But that was down the way the forum was laid out and the poor writing skills of the contributers to the forum itself.

2) Once you boiled the information down it was incredibly useful and very, very powerful, and should be made known to ALL.

Although I am yet to force my bank into coughing up for the ridiculous charges they've heaped on me over the years, the ever-increasing credit card that no matter how much I pay just gets bigger and the mis-sold (by mysterious third parties) payment insurance schemes, I am most definately on their case...

...the problem now seems to be that various legal bodies have allowed the banks to suspend paying out on claims against them whilst there are endless, ongoing, repeative investigations & appeals...

Do you know the current state of play, perchance? Is now the time to strike?

PS - If you ever want to get back into the struggle, drop me a PM and we can talk about forum/site design & management....

Bloody well done.
(, Thu 16 Jul 2009, 16:05, closed)
Re, the layout
it's a tricky thing to do.

It was laid out completely differently to start with, and people complained about that, so it was changed, then people complained, it was changed again, and again etc....

I set up the wiki to try and organise the information in a nice, familiar way, but it doesn't get used all that much, sadly.
(, Thu 16 Jul 2009, 16:32, closed)
Get all claims
in now.

The statute of limitation will prevent you from going back 6 years; meaning if the banks drag this out for that long - you get zip.

If you make it known now that you want the money back, the 6 years starts from 6 years ago, and then you have another 6 years going forward.

I realise that makes little sense, but I'm in a hurry to get out of the door.
(, Thu 16 Jul 2009, 16:40, closed)
Love the story
Almost convinced I've seen it on here before though (written by you)?

If I could be rude enough, as an expert on the situation, what is your take on the current 'on hold' status, and the best move for those who have yet to claim the thousands they're owed from their 5 different cards?
(, Thu 16 Jul 2009, 16:06, closed)
is kinda what I was trying to ask too....

the on hold status is something they call "Abeyance" isn't it? I've heard stories of people trying to claim back charges and having their accounts frozen in "Abeyance" by the bank whilst the issue is "investigated" - and that, it seems, can now take years. Not Good!
(, Thu 16 Jul 2009, 16:16, closed)
are a different matter - those can still be claimed back in the same way.

Punitive v Liquidated damages - NOT the UTCCR's.
(, Thu 16 Jul 2009, 16:32, closed)
...it is a bit of a pearoast, but made to fit the qotw better than the last one.

Fits both though ;-)
(, Thu 16 Jul 2009, 16:41, closed)
Well done you, i have many friends who have gotten their monies back with those very letters.

You sir, are a modern day Robin Hood!!
(, Thu 16 Jul 2009, 16:14, closed)
That was part of
...the problem.

The orginal site design was by me, and it wasn't that bad - it just never got finished into a full-blown CMS due to working full time, with kids etc... and my partner (Bankfodder) got impatient I think.

It was then that the other bloke decided to use Joomla (I think), and the tools that I'd written - the 'buddy system', the on-line calculator etc... were left by the wayside.

Any ideas I came up with were generally poo-pooed by the site team - it was a democratic thing - and then about 3-4 months later they would be implemented by one of the other members.

Then certain users of the site would threaten to sue ever five minutes to get their own way, and I felt I was being moderated on my own site/forum by the users, and it was counter productive, as I was constantly pandering rather than advancing the site on in any way.

It was then that I decided I'd had enough. I was trying to help people and the only thing I got in return (not that I was expecting anything in return, that's not why I did it) was grief from the very people I set out to help.

That's the problem - too many chiefs, not enough indians - and far too many people who have basic HTML/Javascript skills who think that they're experts.

The 'stays' as they are called are still in effect - I imagine the banks will drag this on for as long as they possibly can.

Don't forget though, it's only consumer contracts that are on 'stay' - business accounts can still be claimed back in the same way (punitive v liquidated damages as opposed to Unfair terms in Consumer Contracts regs.).
(, Thu 16 Jul 2009, 16:30, closed)
With any luck
You should receive your Knighthood sometime this year - a fella like you deserves one, the head of the banks really, really, really do not.

(, Thu 16 Jul 2009, 16:45, closed)
the pair of us were nominated for an OBE.

(, Fri 17 Jul 2009, 18:24, closed)
I used the standard form letters on the MSE website, and my bank coughed up all the money they had scabbed off me in the past 6 years.
So nthank you very much, and may I one day buy you a pint.
(, Thu 16 Jul 2009, 16:57, closed)
Obviously, this wins
Excellent work matey. I've read about this before, but I'd be quite happy for it to come up every week - it deserves many many wins.

Needs more line breaks though.

(, Thu 16 Jul 2009, 17:16, closed)
I'm giving you one click
for each line break. It's THAT good :-)
(, Fri 17 Jul 2009, 5:02, closed)
I always do that - in the littl box to type in, it word wraps so it looks far too bunched up for my liking!
(, Fri 17 Jul 2009, 7:29, closed)
Well done mate
You have my thanks. I claimed my charges back from Abbey before closing my account with them - there is a reply to this QOTW describing some of the hassles I had thereafter.

It was only about £200 going back over the seven years, but it was a lovely feeling to see all that misappropriated cash return to my account.
(, Fri 17 Jul 2009, 18:51, closed)
Your site helped me get back about £700 quid a few years ago
so a click and a thank you for you :)
(, Sat 18 Jul 2009, 12:13, closed)

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