More unfair charges from West Brom and Ombudsman finds against them!

by Property 118

10:21 AM, 9th March 2017
About 2 years ago

More unfair charges from West Brom and Ombudsman finds against them!

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More unfair charges from West Brom and Ombudsman finds against them!

Warning from Property118 member:

I think there are some useful tips and lessons to be learned from my experience with the West Brom that could be shared for the benefit of other Property118 members who have the misfortune to be customers of the West Brom.

It is likely that every mortgage customer of the West Brom will be required to find an alternative mortgage provider when they reach the end of their mortgage term.

The West Brom offer no flexibility at the end of the term and they will threaten legal proceedings and impose additional fees for their letters at every opportunity.

Despite my best endeavours to keep West Brom informed of the timescale with my remortgage process, they still insisted on sending an unnecessary letter and charging a £65 fee.

The costs are not excessive, but the principle and bullying attitude is totally unacceptable to me.

I think the key points are as follows-

  1. Make sure everybody is aware of the exact expiry date of the current mortgage
  2. Engage a new lender in good time to ensure the documentation process and property revaluation can be completed before the mortgage term expiry
  3. Keep the West Brom informed of the process with regular progress reports, in writing, and retain a copy for your own records

There may be some Property118 members and ex-West Brom customers who have already completed the remortgage process, and received unfair charges from West Brom.

I think there is a window of 6 months to raise a retrospective complaint about this unfair treatment to the Ombudsman, provided a member has already raised a complaint and received a final response from West Brom.

This experience is worth sharing and 118 can record another victory on behalf of their members, against this unprofessional, bullying organisation.

Complaint letter below:

 

Dear Sirs,

Thank you for your letter of 21 December 2016 acknowledging the complaint raised against the West Brom.

On 27 July 2016 (11am) I had a conversation with ##### at the West Brom and the purpose of the call was to clarify the process and approach to forbearance with customers, and ##### provided the following advice :-

  1. West Brom no longer do BTL mortgages
  2. West Brom are unable to re-mortgage or extend the mortgage term
  3. West Brom will give leeway provided a plan of action is in place to re-mortgage with another lender

Following this conversation I have followed the advice provided and developed an action plan.

I understand the term of the mortgage has expired, and I have taken the following steps to redeem the mortgage in full –

  1. My mortgage adviser was initially instructed in January 2014 to consider options for the re-mortgage  (my letter dated 28 January 2014)
  2. Various mortgage product options have been reviewed
  3. The property has been surveyed and the Valuation Report has been issued
  4. A mortgage offer has now been received from Paragon Bank Plc
  5. A Solicitor has been instructed and various searches have been completed – the final requirement for a mining search will be clarified this week
  6. A settlement date for the mortgage has been proposed by the Solicitor of Friday 13 January 2017 ….. to allow for the 3-5 day transfer of funds from the new lender

My complaint concerns the inflexible and unprofessional, bullying approach of the West Brom in their dealings with their unvalued customers. This includes the threatening attitude in the telephone manner and correspondence and the unnecessary charging of fees for letters that are not required and should not be issued.

For example I have explicitly stated I do not require a letter to be issued on 6 January 2017, and a fee charged of £65, to explain to me the mortgage term has expired. This action, the letter and £65 fee is entirely contradictory to the advice provided by ##### on 27 July 2016.

This complaint will be escalated to the Financial Ombudsman for investigation why the West Brom continues to bully their customers and charge unnecessary fees, when a course of action has already been advised by other members of their customer service team.

There is inconsistent advice provided to customers, lack of knowledge and inadequate training,  profiteering from customers through unnecessary fee charges and generally unprofessional behaviour in their customer facing staff.

Kind regards,

 

Ombudsman Ruling below:

Ombudsman letter 1

Ombudsman letter 2



Comments

Neil Patterson

10:23 AM, 9th March 2017
About 2 years ago

Thank you very much on behalf of all readers for the heads up.

michael fickling

13:59 PM, 10th March 2017
About 2 years ago

Well done for getting the admin fee back.I really wonder whether the charging of such fees ..admin etc .and" late" fees etc is legal anyway in some instances... Ive had acouple of run ins with building managers in a similar vein. Such as ...They demand six months in advance..then tried to charge me a similar fee to yours above for being "3 days late"..I refused to pay it...and pointed out their letter requiring payment arrived just one day before it was "due" and if i was three days late i was also five months and 27 days early! with the rest .They eventually dropped it. More recently an insurance company tried to charge me a 25 pound "admin" fee for updating my adress.( not the policy )..i told them i would cancel the policy before i would pay such a fee. They dropped it...it seems such fees and administartaive charges are a nice little earner if they can get away with it....If enough people resist they might be less inclined to stick us with these fees and charges. Good on ya for having a go.

John Constant

8:44 AM, 11th March 2017
About 2 years ago

One other point too that I have discovered about the West Brom. I had a client who had a West Brom residential mortgage. They were within their Early Redemption Period, but had decided to travel and do voluntary work overseas. They contacted me to see what their options were.

I suggested that they should obtain Consent to Let for the period that they were going to be away (18 months). They could then reoccupy the property on their return.

Now this would not have been a problem ordinarily for most lenders, but West Brom turned down their request and also turned down an appeal that I compiled for them. It seems that West Brom will not have anything to do with BTL, even if you have a change of circumstances in your life.

My clients, did not want to go behind the lenders back and let the property anyway, so they sold up, incurring several thousand pounds in ERC, much against their wishes.

Mark Alexander

18:15 PM, 11th March 2017
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "John Constant" at "11/03/2017 - 08:44":

Has this been reported to the FOS?

Might not come to anything but it will cost West Brom £500
.


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