OFT v The Banks: Read This If You're Worried
30th July 2007
Please Don't Panic
So the OFT is taking banks to court. A great wind of uncertainty is sweeping CAGgers and non-CAGgers alike. At times like these, it is easy to listen to all the rumours, half-baked truths, and feel despair, especially when the media is not letting the truth getting in the way of a juicy headline.
HOWEVER! The main things to actually remember are these:
If you complain to your bank, or decide to go through the FOS, then your case will be put on hold. But there is absolutely no legal reason not to stick to your deadline and start your court claim as previously planned, or not to carry on with your claim if you had already lodged it.
There never was any cast-iron guarantee that you would get your money back within certain timescales, and now, these have just increased, that's all. (Yes, I know that sentence doesn't sound logical )
As before, all you stand to lose is your court fee and not get the money you had lost a long time ago if you proceed with a court case and the OFT loses. On the other hand, if the OFT wins, your case will be already in the system, and wouldn't you rather be near the top of the list than at the end when this ends?
Another thing to bear in mind is the Statute of Limitations act 1980. SoLA 1980 kicks off from the date you first FILE AT COURT.
If you don't, and you were close to the 6 years period, by the time the OFT v 8 banks case is decided, you will have lost hundreds, maybe thousands of pounds. On the other hand, if your claim is already filed, then THAT date is the one where statute barred will run from.
Finally, a piece of advice for those with claims already in the system: Do NOT ignore courts direction because you think it's all over. People have been phoning courts all over the country since Friday and the message that is coming out loud and clear is this: BUSINESS AS USUAL, cases are proceeding. So don't neglect your court deadlines, and if you have a chance to get the defence thrown out because THEY didn't comply, do it ASAP, don't give them a chance to apply for a stay.
The banks have jumped at the chance to postpone all refunds, so fight back harder. Hit fast, hit low, and don't give them an opening.
In other words, KEEP GOING. We'll all get there in the end, but it's up to every one of us not to give up.
And most important of all:
Posted By Stephen Hone on Penalty Charges
OFT V THE BANK TEST CASE. NEWS UPDATE.
I thought it would be a good idea to email you all on this as I am receiving hundreds of emails about the implications to the test case.
We have noticed that Banks have been yet again misleading consumers and neither the FSA or the OFT have stepped in to stop this action.
Fact: No claims have been stayed unless you receive a letter from the court telling that your claim has been stayed. You then have the legal right to apply for the stay to be set aside. (Updated template for this on the site)
Some of our member have already contacted their court and been informed it's business as normal.
What you need to know and do!
1. If you’ve a claim filed at the court then you must continue as normal. ie; if you just received the Allocation Questionnaire you must submit this back to the court in the given time limits. If you have received court orders to produce documents or submit further information, you must do so within those time limits.
2. If you've not filed a claim at court yet, then you must follow the procedure ie; Get your statements, send the Letter Before Action and if you don’t get a refund within 14 days, on the 15th day you must then issue your claim at your local county court.
3. Don’t sit and wait as the limitations act is still running and every day/month you delay in filing your claim is a day/month less you can claim back.
If the banks send you a letter saying that all claim are on hold and the FSA have given them a waiver not to deal with complaints ignore it, you're not complaining your taking legal action. Big difference.
4. If the bank does not comply with your Data Protection request (subject access request) and use the FSA waiver as a reason, ignore this, the FSA does not have the legal standing to give banks permission not to comply with an ACT of Parliament, ie; banks still have to comply and if they fail to do so report them to the Information Commissioner.
5. If you used the finacial ombudsman route this is now useless as they have agreed to not continue with claims until the test case is heard.
Therefore you need to get a claim filed at your local county court or as above each day/month delay is costing you money as the Limitations Act will still apply.
6. Business Claims, you need to carry on as normal as the claims do not run using the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contract Regulations 1999 and therefore are not part of the OFT test Case.
People in receipt of Benefits can continue to claim the money taken from their benefits, we have new POC on the site for this and yes 'Penaltycharges.co.uk' was the first to have these up and ready for you to use.
The reason you can claim these back is because the benefit that you are receiving are deemed as alienable under the:
Social Security Administration Act 1992 (s.187) which states as follows:
187.—(1) Subject to the provisions of this Act, every assignment of or charge on— (a) benefit as defined in section 122 of the Contributions and Benefits Act; (b) any income-related benefit; or (c) child benefit, and every agreement to assign or charge such benefit shall be void; and, on the bankruptcy of a beneficiary, such benefit shall not pass to any trustee or other person acting on behalf of his creditors.
In short the above means banks cannot take money from your benefit payments to cover their penalty charges.
We will have a full list of all benefits covered under this act on this site today.
The OFT test case does not involve claims brought under this act so carry on as normal.
You must continue with your claims as normal. Ignore everything the bank says about what's happening to your claim. ie; it's on hold, it's been stayed. Unless you've heard from the court it has not been.
We are advising member to complain to the FSA and the OFT about the potential misleading information given out by them and the banks.
We would suggest you write to your local MP about any claims that might be stayed since the test case is likely to last at least 1 year, possibly longer, the bank aims to make an estimated 4billion pounds profit if claims are stayed.
As your are aware this money is mostly from those who cannot afford it and your MP should be seeking to address this in the House. There has already been a test case on Penalty charges, the Law goes back over 100 years.
If in doubt please use the forum and post questions as sorry I cannot cope with the amount of PMs and emails I am receiving.
Finally, please if you've not already done so, sign the petition here