FOS rule West Brom Tracker Rate Hike is fair

by Mark Alexander

16:23 PM, 16th November 2014
About 6 years ago

FOS rule West Brom Tracker Rate Hike is fair

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FOS rule West Brom Tracker Rate Hike is fair

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.

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Comments

M Jones

17:14 PM, 24th November 2014
About 6 years ago

The West Brom have chosen again this month to tamper with my mortgage payment - the fact that it is down a little this time rather than up is irrelevant. What is relevant is that the West Brom has no right to tamper with it at all!
The West Brom provided me with a buy to let mortgage that would track the Bank of England base rate at plus 0.99% for the whole term of the mortgage - the West Brom assured me categorically and without reservation that my mortgage would track the Bank of England base rate at plus 0.99% for the whole term of the mortgage.
Despite these assurances the West Brom have changed my mortgage rate 4 times in 12 months, the Bank of England base rate has remained unchanged!
The West Brom now appear to swap and change my rate whenever they see fit – they state “owing to recent improvements in market conditions” but when asked what these are I am told that they are “just due to an improvement in rates in general”.
Personally it is my belief that the West Brom are reducing our rates due to impending court action so as to weaken our resolve and deter others from joining.
Beware – I believe that should you choose not join this action, the West Brom will be allowed to continue without being held to account, you are just as likely to see 4 increases in your mortgage rate – they may claim that it is ‘Owing to a deterioration in market conditions’ – when you call them to ask why your mortgage payments have gone up again they may most likely say ‘oh – just due to rates in general’ – at which point I am sure you will be suitable reassured that the extra few hundred pounds you have had to find that month will be well spent!

ashley nissim

8:45 AM, 25th November 2014
About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Deceived by West Brom " at "24/11/2014 - 17:14":

I too received my letter informing me that West Brom are going to reduce their illegal rate increase.

They kick you in the face & then think that you should be grateful when they tell you that they will not kick you quite as hard as before!

I can't wait to see them in court. Let the judge decide who is right rather than a powerless Ombudsman that gives no regard to contract law.

Gary BTLowner

9:29 AM, 25th November 2014
About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "ashley " at "25/11/2014 - 08:45":

I`m glad we signed up to the 118 legal challenge at the start as those who aren`t part of it won`t get the benefits of a win, which seems a very high possibility. I encourage those of you who didn`t to join now, there is still time before the court case, but don`t procrastinate!

AnneJ

11:01 AM, 25th November 2014
About 6 years ago

We are very disappointed with the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). We sincerely believed the FOS would recognise that our buy to let mortgage, signed in good faith with the West Brom, would only move in line with the Bank of England Base Rate (BOBR). The BOBR has not changed since March 2009 and yet West Brom decided to increase our mortgage payment by £400/month in December last year.

However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. We are so glad we found the Property 118 website in October last year after we received the letter from West Brom about the increase to our payments. It was a leap of faith at the time but we decided to join the representative action against West Brom. We wanted to find a way to redress this injustice.

We are very thankful we did, our legal team is impressive and we now have a trial date in January 2015. We understand, if you are reading this and have been affected by this unjustifiable rate hike, there is still time to join the action group and benefit from the court ruling. It is a positive choice we urge you to take.

Anthony Wilson

17:20 PM, 25th November 2014
About 6 years ago

Did you see the program last night on Panorama;-

" did the bank wreck my business"

I have first hand experience of RBS and GRG (Global Re-structuring Group) and the only reason my wife and I still have a property portfolio is because I am a solicitor and we refused to bow to the substantial pressure we were put under and I had the access to the expertise necessary to resist that pressure. It can be viewed on iplayer.. the name Chris Sullivan is a name which is familiar to me personally.
It is important to know that banks and lending institutions cannot be relied on to deliver .. voluntarily.. As Vince Cable says in the program.. the relationship between banks and SMEs is a very unbalanced and unfair one..
It is only by taking collective action that we are insulated against significant costs falling on the few.. the judiciary have a habit of supporting lenders (largely due to the documentation forced upon borrowers by the inequality of bargaining power ).. so only by collective action can we force the judiciary to consider the inequality in bargaining power more comprehensively....
This type of action.. this collective power .. forces change .. change in attitudes .. change in legislation and changes in decision making by everyone in a position of power.. the Berlin Wall came down for this reason.. this mortgage documentation is for us the Berlin Wall behind which this financial institution attempts to justify its dictatorial policy ..21st January 2015 needs to be the day when people say no to being treated unfairly.. and the West Brom Wall comes down.

I put about £15,000.00 into this fight because I believe we have to put our money where our mouths are...

Other people may benefit without contributing .. so be it...... but I am proud to be part of a litigation case that I have contributed to because I really believe in the justice of it.. I would have loved to have been in Berlin the day the wall came down. Lets make some history.!

Sandra W

13:38 PM, 12th December 2014
About 6 years ago

I was interested to read in the Scottish Association of Landlords enewsletter today a follow up piece from a Glasgow landlord advising other landlords that he's received a grant from Glasgow City Council for large communal repairs.

He writes. "I am considered an amateur landlord, as I own less than 9 rental properties."

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