Sunday, 16 June 2013

Ridiculous Solutions

Ancient Greek mathematician, physicist, engineer, inventor and astronomer Archimedes of Syracuse once said. “Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it and I shall move the world” and, despite an HBOS penchant for obstructiveness, I, like Archimedes I am still hoping a little leverage, along with the evidential support from my HBOS Data Subject Access Request will eventually produce some world moving success of my own.

The Liberty Guide to Human Rights states “if information about you is held by your doctor, by your bank, by a credit reference agency, by your employer or by the tax-man, the likelihood is that it will be [available to you under the rules of a Data Subject Access Request because it is deemed to be] your personal data”. This extends to “personal data where it is processed to learn or record something about that individual or where the processing of that information has impact on that individual”. However, much to my own consternation and that of my Financial Ombudsman Service adjudicator, it has proved extremely difficult to acquire all the HBOS documentation relating to my mortgage miss selling case.

Eleven weeks have passed since I was allocated an FOS adjudicator to investigate my complaint and I am still waiting for HBOS to provide me with the following information,
  •           Full details of the valuation undertaken for mortgage purposes on 26.4.06 by Colley’s Surveyors.
  •          Confirmation of who was responsible for overseeing the processing  of my mortgage (as the file notes I have received so far say my broker was removed from the panel during its underwriting).
  •          The reason my broker was removed from the panel in the first place
  •          Copies of all of  the HBOS and broker’s compliance check sheets associated with my mortgage application
  • .      A full copy of the HBOS and broker Fact Find which supported my application.
  • .      Copies of all documentary evidence supplied by our accountant
  • .      An explanation as to why, according to my screen notes, my application was eligible for a maximum loan of £1,260,050 when my home supposedly enjoyed a risk assessment value of £925,000 and our application was for a remortgage amounting to £795,000.
  • .      A full copy of HBOS’ contracted solicitors file for my conveyance
  • .      The identity of the individual who was responsible for underwriting and signing off my remortgage in May 2006.
Anxious to expedite matters, I rang HBOS to solicit a more immediate reply.

I was told,

·         The incomplete copy of my file should not have been sent out without fully addressing my requests
·         My questions would be answered (or declined depending on whether or not they are deemed to be personal data) within 14 days

And, (seemingly totally unaware of the fact that the DSAR team have already ready sent me the names of at least three people who worked on the underwriting of my remortgage)

·         I will never be provided with the names of the individuals who underwrote my mortgage as this would constitute a breach of HBOS’ employee Duty of Care.

Keen to keep the Financial Ombudsman Service abreast of the situation in general I wrote to my adjudicator and was informed,

·         I have already had eleven weeks grace to provide additional evidence
·         The FOS must be fair to both parties at all times,
·         To provide me with a further extension to gather evidence would be unfair to HBOS and
·         If I have not received the evidence I am waiting for before 28 June, the FOS investigation into my complaint is likely to proceed without it.

Greatly disturbed by the dubious logic of my adjudicators comments, I replied with the following,

“Dear Financial Ombudsman Service Adjudicator,

Thank you for explaining to me how things work and I understand my case cannot drag on indefinitely and nor would I wish it to. 

In an effort to expedite matters, earlier today and before I received your email, I spoke to the DSAR team at HBOS who apologized for agreeing to send me information and then not acting on it. Today they have assured me, once again, they will reply within 14 days with regard to the information I have asked for. Thankfully they have also offered to help secure my files from their contracted surveyor Colley's and their contracted solicitors Pathways Residential Mortgages as they say this information should have been available to me in the first place. According to **** **** on the HBOS DSAR team, contracted surveyors and solicitors often misunderstand that the individual is entitled to have sight of their own files.

Although I appreciate you must make sure you are fair to both sides and 11 weeks is a long time to wait for me to supply additional evidence, I believe the fact that I have been unsuccessfully requesting this evidence from HBOS for much more than 11 weeks is in itself unfair. I am now very worried to hear you may well have to proceed with my case on the 28 June regardless of whether or not HBOS have fulfilled my request for valuation and conveyance information. I believe progressing your investigation without all the evidence will only serve to disadvantage my own case of complaint while actively encouraging HBOS to drag their feet in the future and this is not fair to me.

I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate that I am more than happy to collate and send the further evidence I spoke of as quickly I can, once I have received, it but sadly the time frame still rests firmly in the hands of the HBOS DSAR team.

I do very much appreciate where you are coming from but hope you won't mind me pointing this out.

Yours sincerely”

Life After Debt

The Mad Hatter in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland once said, ““If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn't. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn't be. And what it wouldn't be, it would” and,  if the results of last week’s communications with both HBOS and the Financial Ombudsman Service are a measure by which to assess them, it appears that in the world of the Financial Ombudsman Service and that of the HBOS Data Subject Access Request team, the logic is precisely the same.

Nevertheless, I have no alternative but to I await their replies.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Duty of Care

US business school graduate, National Security Agency potential recruit, governmental consultant and author of The Economic Hitman, John Perkins, once said, “This Empire, unlike any other in the history of the world, has been built primarily through economic manipulation, through cheating, though fraud...” and although he was speaking of the way in which the US miss sold debt to under developed countries to acquire political leverage and economic gain, endless investigations into the banking crisis would suggest the US  was not the only Empire to profit from economic manipulation, cheating and fraud.

However, despite revelations that widespread manipulation, cheating and fraud has been at home within the UK’s banking culture for many a year, not one high ranking executive or board member has faced criminal charges. Like the Economic Hit Men in Perkins book, highly-paid professionals have cheated the nation out of trillions while the Parliamentary Banking Commission’s outrage has endorsed the public face of our government. However, behind closed doors, evidence suggests the leverage of the all powerful banskters has neutralized political and regulatory muscle and in so doing created an untouchable elite who still enjoy the benefits of the obscene and exceptionally lucrative carrot without fear for the consequence of the stick.

 As a result of this unspoken rule of thumb it is clear a miss selling complaint such as mine represents little more than a minor irritant to the minions of the corporate con-men who remain practiced in the art of denial.

It has been,

After hours of wading through reams of screen prints and under writing notes, I have now learned (according to HBOS),
  • My husband is a professional sportsman
  • We are owner/occupiers of a large house without a mortgage
  • Neither HBOS or their surveyors owe a Duty of Care to customers with remortgages.
Knowing full well my husband has never been a sportsman (professional or otherwise) and the place I call home has not only been owned by our landlords family for decades but been rented to us for the past four and a half years, I was suspicious HBOS’s claims regarding their obligations to provide Duty of Care might prove equally fictitious.

Further investigations have revealed,
  • My conveyance was carried out by HBOS’ in house solicitor as was my survey and this situtaion may well constitute a conflict of interest in both cases
  •  A surveyor cannot produce a valuation inspection report without liability, as their code of conduct indemnity insurance does not permit an opinion to be given without responsibility.

  • A fee free remortgage submitted by a broker does not permit a lender to abdicate from their responsibilities to provide a Duty of Care.

In 2011 Lloyds Banking Group “set out a new vision and strategy to be the best bank for customers...[and promised to be] a more transparent organisation that delivers”. However, if my own case is anything to go by, HBOS, who now reside under the umbrella of Lloyds, have demonstated no plans to deliver anything but hogwash to me and the only strategy they seem to have embraced has been to send me a constant stream of inaccuracies and denials for the past five years.

In the words of American foundling father, principal author of the Declaration of Independence and third President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, “The eyes of our citizens are not sufficiently open to the true cause of our distress. They ascribe them to everything but their true cause, the banking system” and while this may well have been true of my perceptions before our financial demise, this particular citizen has certainly had her eyes opened to the unscrupulous and negligent business practices of HBOS now.

Here's hoping documenting my battle with HBOS and posting it via my blog on the internet helps open the eyes of a fair few more!