FOS rule West Brom Tracker Rate Hike is fair

FOS rule West Brom Tracker Rate Hike is fair

16:23 PM, 16th November 2014, About 7 years ago 46

Text Size

The FOS (Financial Ombudsman Service) have done it again! FOS rule West Brom Tracker Rate Hike is fair

In the past the FOS have controversially agreed that rate hikes applied by Bank of Ireland, Skipton Building Society (Amber Homeloans) and also the Danske Bank (formerly National Irish Bank) were fair. Therefore, is it really that shocking that FOS would also rule in favour of West Bromwich Mortgage Company?

Following a judicial review in the case of Millar & anor -v- Financial Services Ombudsman [2014] IEIC Mr Justice Garard Hogan recently ruled that the Irish FOS were wrong in their contractual interpretation in a rate hike case that the Millars brought against Danske Bank [source1].

This supports the Property118 members’ lack of confidence in the UK FoS decision making process, and hence the decision for Property118 to raise funds to enable their members legal team to stand toe to toe on 21st January 2015 with the West Brom legal team at the Commercial Courts in the Rolls Building.

Property118 members have raised nearly £500,000 and these funds are set to grow as a result of people who complained to the FOS realising that Property118 were right all along to take a representative action to the Courts.

The National Landlords Association initially recommended its members to pursue the FOS route and await the outcome of that before considering legal action. Many of those who followed this advice are enquiring about joining the representative action organised by Property118 as a result of the FOS finding. **West Brom has indicated through its legal team that it will apply the finding of the Court across the board to all affected borrowers**, so all additional support to ensure the right result is achieved is essential.

The Property118 representative group are happy to welcome all who have received the FOS rejection letter. The same financial commitments to those who joined prior to the deadline will apply, plus a small price for the administration costs associated with Cotswold Barristers applying to the Courts to have the names of the newly represented participants added to the claim. A new deadline of 19th December has been applied, this will definitely be the final deadline for legal reasons.

Newcomers are interested in joining the fight in the full knowledge that sufficient funds have already been raised and that the case will be heard on 21st January 2015.

Each member has paid £1,000 into an escrow account held by BARCO (The Bar Council’s Escrow service) plus a further £500 to Property118 and Cotswold Barristers to cover legal costs and associated running and marketing costs of the campaign for each represented mortgage account. Some members have a dozen or more represented mortgages, most have one or two. In the event of the case being won the majority of funds will be returned, plus of course a refund of any over-payments to West Brom and the satisfaction of their terms being upheld as per the borrowers understanding of the tracker rate mortgage contracts they entered into.

Every newcomer to the Property118 reduces the financial exposure to the funds already raised on the basis that all costs are shared pro-rata to funds committed.

** Beware false promises! **

Back in 2009 the CEO of the Skipton Building Society went on record that they would honour an interest rate cap [source2] just one year before that promise was reneged upon [source3]. However, insufficient funds were raised to take the case to court and borrowers have been left high and dry by the FOS and the FCA who decided the rate hike was fair despite the promises made. Perhaps that’s why West Brom borrowers want the certainty of being represented in the Property118 vs West Brom Court case, whilst it is still such a cost effective option?

If you are affected, and are not already a member of the Representative Action, please complete the form below for more details on how to get involved.

Oops! We could not locate your form.

 



Comments

by Mark Alexander

20:32 PM, 17th November 2014, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Sandra W" at "17/11/2014 - 20:19":

"What is the purpose of a Judicial Review?"

Possible outcomes:

1) for them to rule that FOS must re-open cases for borrowers affected by other rate hikes including clients of BoI, Bristol & West, Skipton BS, Amber Homeloans and Manchester Building Society (there may be others I am yet to be made aware of)

2) For the judge to provide the FOS with guidance on contractual interpretation

3) this is what I am really hoping for - To rule that FOS are not competent to make rulings of such importance on contractual matters.

As John Lennon might have said; "they say I'm a dreamer ...... but I'm not the only one!"
.

by Richard Adams

21:08 PM, 17th November 2014, About 7 years ago

Bags of previous posts say why any affected WB borrower who has not yet done so should join the legal action without delay. It seems so blindingly obvious that they should do so, but hey it's a free world.

Could I ask any borrower who is still disinclined to join to post here in this forum his/her reasons/reservations/fears about doing so. Am I missing something?

by Alexander Law

21:23 PM, 17th November 2014, About 7 years ago

The Financial Ombudsman Service does not fill us with confidence. We are still awaiting a reply to our last correspondence with them dated April 17th 2014!!

Surely a blind man can see that we have been duped by the West Bromwich Mortgage Company. After all, it was they who wrote to us offering to convert our 2 loans to "Base Rate Trackers at 0.9% above BoE base rate for the life of the mortgage with no floor".

If the FOS can't see that the West Bromwich rate hikes we suffered 12 months ago were sharp practice, then I don't know why we bothered to submit our complaint to them in the first place - we could have saved the price of the stamps. It all smells very fishy to me!

by Mike L

22:51 PM, 17th November 2014, About 7 years ago

I'm so glad I signed up right at the beginning and have been able to enjoy `the ride' ever since. The start of the fundraising, hitting the first £100k, smashing our target, seeing the legal arguments of both sides, getting the court dates and now waiting for the actual day in court. All this time not having to worry about the FOS not doing their job properly, full knowing that a defeat for WB in a court of law will hurt them a lot more. I never did understand why anyone would choose to sit on the sidelines and risk losing out.

by Graham Durkin

23:12 PM, 17th November 2014, About 7 years ago

The F.O.S. during this campaign has not consistantly given the same answer to all those that have submitted a complaint about the W.B.M.C rate hike.
Some of the adjudicators have given some people some hope ,some have decided there,s no hope ,so all we need is now bob hope

To those that have the opprtunity to join this campaign PLEASE DO as there is nobody else willing to fight your corner other than PROPERTY 118 & COTSWOLD BARRISTERS. we all know that we were sold a TRACKER MORTGAGE TIED TO THE B.O.E.BASE RATE ,the WEST BROM know it as well ,so come to court with us JANUARY for justice to be seen to be done

by Denise G

10:16 AM, 18th November 2014, About 7 years ago

If you are undecided whether to join us or not maybe I can help by sharing the reasons why we signed up right back in the beginning of this fight

We are apparently deemed to be 'professional landlords' by WBBS - in fact we are in our 60s, fast approaching retirement and, having both re-started our lives in our 50s, and both having some anxieties about how our pensions could look, had decided that 'nothing changes unless we change it, so we remortgaged both of our homes on Interest Only mortgages to release a small amount of capital (and to some extent thereby increase at least my anxiety and uncertainty about our future).

We used the sum released to purchase 4 x BTLs - also all on Interest Only mortgages. Our plan was to sit out and suffer the last 10 years before we retire, to take advantage of the 'inevitable' increase in the property prices of the 4 BTLS, then sell them to pay off our residential mortgages (phew let's introduce some security to our lives again!) and hopefully take any additional monies remaining and use that to supplement our pensions.

Well I hardly need describe what happened to the 'inevitable;' increase in property prices over the last 8 years but at least with low interest rates we were able to cover our expenses (and get something back for our trouble cos as you will all know being landlords to some VERY difficult tenants is no walk in the park - especially while holding down 2 full time 'day jobs' to pay the bills). We had also been able thankfully to pay a tad off our Interest Only residential mortgages - until the WBBS decided to break our contract with them..... and put the interest rates up on the 2 tracker mortgages we have with them - despite there having been no change in the BoE base rate, so no possibility of our having seen that coming!

On our own we'd have had to concede to their size and power until we lost everything (and I'd certainly have continued suffering the sleepless nights their hiking letter introduced to my life).

So after a trawl around the internet I found Mark A and Property 118 and we signed up. We want to make the point that we are not 'professional' landlords, just an elderly couple trying to help themselves rather than expecting the state to do it for us. We'd like to see justice served against yet another monster of a financial institution too.

It wasn't easy to find the necessary funds - but it would have been IMPOSSIBLE to fight them on our own. We sincerely believe it will be worth the additional hardship to have our day in court - and to hopefully oblige WBBS to stick to the deal they made with us. We'd like them to be forced to acknowledge that in this instance (our taking the additional risk of paying a hefty premium to secure a fixed tracker rate for 2 of our BTL mortgages) we gambled and won - and they lost! They want to change the contract made so that they gambled and lost - and yet they can still win????

If you are affected too just bite the bullet and join us - because united we can show them they are not all powerful and can't just walk over whomever they please, trampling the contracts they made with us into the dust as they go!

by Denise G

10:28 AM, 18th November 2014, About 7 years ago

If you are undecided whether to join us or not maybe I can help by sharing the reasons why we signed up right back at the beginning of this fight

We are apparently deemed to be 'professional landlords' by WBBS - we are in fact in our 60s, fast approaching retirement and, having both re-started our lives in our 50s, and both having some anxieties about how our pensions might look, had decided that in life 'nothing changes unless we do something to change it', we remortgaged both of our homes on Interest Only mortgages to release a small amount of capital (and to some extent thereby increase at least my anxiety and uncertainty about our future).

We used the sum released to purchase 4 x BTLs - also all on Interest Only mortgages.
Our plan was to sit out and suffer our last 10 years before we retire, to take advantage of the 'inevitable' increase in the property prices of the 4 BTLS, and then to sell them to pay off our residential mortgages (phew let's introduce some security to our lives again!) and hopefully to take any additional monies remaining and use that to supplement our pensions.

Well I hardly need describe what happened to the 'inevitable;' increase in property prices over the last 8 years - but at least with low interest rates we were able to cover our and get a little something back for our trouble, (because as you will all know being landlords to some VERY difficult tenants is no walk in the park - especially while holding down 2 full time 'day jobs' to pay the bills), which we had thankfully used to pay a tad off our Interest Only residential mortgages - until the WBBS decided to break our contract with them..... and randomly put the interest rates up on the 2 tracker mortgages we have with them (despite there having been no change in the BoE base rate so no possibility of our having seen that coming even if we were professional landlords I would say!)

On our own we'd have had to concede to their size and power until we lost everything (and I'd certainly have continued suffering the sleepless nights their hiking letter introduced to my life).

So, after a trawl around the internet thank goodness I found Mark A and Property 118 and we signed up.
We'd like some clarity about what is a professional landlord - surely it can't be an elderly couple trying to help themselves in their old age rather than expecting the state to do it for them, who still go out to work every day to pay their way?

We'd like to see justice publicly served against yet another monster of a financial institution too.

Of course it wasn't easy to find the necessary funds - but it would have been IMPOSSIBLE to fight them on our own.
We sincerely believe it will be worth the additional hardship to have our day in court - and to hopefully oblige WBBS to stick to the deal they made with us.

We'd like them to be forced to acknowledge that in this instance (our taking the additional risk of paying them a hefty premium to secure a fixed tracker rate for 2 of our BTL mortgages) we gambled and we won - and they lost!
They want to change the contract made so that they gambled and they lost - and yet they seem to believe they can allow themselves to change the rules so that we still lose????

If you are affected too just bite the bullet and join us - because united we can show them they are not all powerful and that they can't just walk over whomever they please, trampling the contracts they made with us into the dust as they go!

by Wayne Thornton

10:32 AM, 18th November 2014, About 7 years ago

I am not a wealthy man, I only have 2 buy to let mortgages, one with the West Brom and one with BOI....unlucky me! I have written to the FOS regarding both, they came back with the same pat answer, that the banks han't acted unfairly...what a surprise! They are about as independant as Rupert Murdoch looking into the phone hacking scandel. Every way you turn someone seems intent on picking your pocket, bring on the 21st January. Hopefully when that goes our way, the BOI will soon follow.

by Alison Buckland

11:50 AM, 18th November 2014, About 7 years ago

The reports you may have read in the media about the FOS's decision imply that there has been one response to all. This isn't actually the case. Many of us who took our complaint to the FOS got a response along the lines of 'we're not getting involved in this' and 'let the court decide'. The FOS has proved to be completely toothless when it comes to this case. The responses I received made it clear they didn't even grasp the fact that I was complaining about a breach of contract. I think they thought it was just a case of sour grapes. I'm glad that everyone can now see that going to the FOS is a total waste of time and that the only way of defending yourself against this underhand financial institution is in the Commercial Court where the judge understands contracts. The Representative Action organised through this website is the only realistic option.

The West Brom have proved themselves to be happy to break a contract when they feel like it - so why would anyone believe that they would honour a promise to apply the Court's findings across the board - to members of the Representative Action and non-members alike? It's time to stop believing that there's some warm fuzzy independent institution out there who's there to protect you from these financial bullies. There is no such institution. That's why you should become part of the Representative Action where we'll get the justice for ourselves. United we stand.

by Mark Hartell

19:13 PM, 18th November 2014, About 7 years ago

I am so glad that I signed up to this group. Previous experience of industry bodies has taught me they frequently fail to represent those they are supposed to and that their rigour is lacking. One very sage piece of advice I was given years ago is to consider the motivations of the other party in the transaction.

Too many individuals are prepared to be fobbed off with delays and official sounding responses but as far as I can see the FoS in this case have completely refused to address the central legal point as to whether the West Brom are entitled to do what they have.

Thankfully that will get tested and decided on Jan 21st. What will not get discussed in court is the injustice of the West Brom in applying these increases completely arbitarily based on the misuse of information they obtained. In my case I did acquire other properties after the mortgage in question. I did this to generate money to fund my daughters University fees and as an alternative to a pension scheme because I have also been stung there in the past.

Nowhere in my mortgage T&C does it say that actions I may take AFTER the mortgage was put into place could lead to be being discriminated against.

The West Brom knew that no one individual would be able to afford to take this case to law and could reasonably be assured that the financial regulators would support them - that is a sad indictment of the current situation and I am proud to be part of this collective action.


Leave Comments

Please Log-In OR Become a member to reply to comments or subscribe to new comment notifications.

Forgotten your password?

BECOME A MEMBER