Posts Tagged ‘compensation’
Forget last month’s story about the man who was kept on the phone for 96 minutes trying to cancel his Sky contract, Pete Swift from Edinburgh has finally managed to settle an ongoing dispute with Sky over cancelling his contract after two whole years. However, in a triumph for the underdog, he’s also been paid £1,500 in compensation to settle the £1,395 bill he slapped on Sky for his time spent in sorting out their mess.
The problems began in 2012 when Mr Swift moved to Leith in Edinburgh and cancelled his contract with Sky at that time. Unfortunately the cancellation never actually happened, and Mr Swift became intimately acquainted with a number of debt collectors over the next 18 months as Sky sent the dogs after him, for non-payment of a cancelled contract.
However, Mr Swift declined to take this lying down, and decided to take legal action, first contacting the Citizens Advice Bureau and then the Ombudsman. After speaking to the Ombudsman, Sky offered Mr Swift a £60 gesture of goodwill, but he was more concerned about the effect the error had had on his credit file. The Ombudsman said they could not do anything to rectify any blights upon his credit record, nor could they request any further compensation over and above the £60 offered.
Mr Swift decided this was just not good enough. “I told them that this sum was not proportionate to the hassle and frustrations I had experienced as a result of their error and was therefore not appropriate compensation,” he said, before deciding to take Sky to court over the matter. The 30-year-old research consultant billed Sky £25 an hour for all the calls he had had to make- to the Sky itself, to the ombudsman, and to various credit reference agencies and debt collection companies. In total, Mr Swift spent almost 56 hours on the phone, including 31 hours talking to Sky.
Two days before the court case was due to be heard, Sky said it would pay Mr Swift £1,500 for the time and money spent on trying to terminate his contract. He said: “When Sky finally agreed to cover the full settlement I had mixed emotions. On one hand I was really pleased to have the £1,500 and some form of resolution, but I was still very resentful of the lengths I’d had to go to and the way Sky had dealt with the situation,” adding that “Sky had contacted me the week before to try and talk me down to a lower sum of £500.”
He continued: “The whole time I was dealing with them it just felt like I was being fobbed off with the bare minimum they could get away with. There was never really an acknowledgement that something was wrong procedurally that needed to be addressed, it just felt like a case of let’s pay off the complaining customer so he shuts up.” Fortunately, Mr Swift has told his story to the national press before going away and shutting up as Sky would presumably have preferred, giving hope and inspiration to anyone else out there being walked all over by a big corporation.
Sky said the issue was due to a technical fault with its systems, meaning his cancellation was not recorded on his file. A spokesman for Sky said: “Our staff work hard to deliver great service. However, in Mr Swift’s case we got it wrong, and didn’t resolve things quickly enough.
“We are really sorry and have apologised, offering a gesture of goodwill in recognition of the frustration he has experienced.”
Well, it seems that people have been missing out on billions in compensation for delayed flights, as airline companies defer payouts to passengers who have been held up.
This is according to Sky News, who learned that data is showing 3.27 million passengers travelling to and from UK airports each year might have a potential claim on their hands. And the amount of cash floating around is quite something.
After the European Commission introduced the compensation laws a decade ago, an average claim is around £320, which means, according to Sky’s figures, that €1.4bn a year in compensation might be up for grabs for those who have had flights delayed by 3 or more hours. However, it seems that this has only just come to light thanks to landmark court rulings that have established a clear precedent.
Coby Benson, an aviation lawyer with Bott & Co, said: “The intention of the European Commission is that lawyers should never have been involved in this the first place. It was supposed to be a very easy system for passengers to gain compensation themselves when their flights are cancelled or delayed or they have been denied boarding.”
“It’s just unfortunate that the airlines more often than not make it extremely difficult for passengers to claim compensation and put obstacles in their way.”
In a way similar to getting compensation for train journeys, if your flight isn’t delayed by ”extraordinary circumstances” like really bad weather, terrorism and acts of vandalism, you should be able to claim compensation. According to figures, around 1.5% of flights in-and-out of the UK are delayed for longer than three hours.
How To Get A Refund
There’s an app to help you get a refund or compensation for delayed flights, which outlines your rights and whatnot. You can have a look at that by downloading it here. If you want to write a letter of complaint to an airline, then Which!!! have a template you can use.
So, if you’re a business-owner who was missold an interest rate hedging product, you might be hearing from your bank again, as the report said that the “redress must be fair and reasonable”, and that “redress should aim to put customers back in the position they would have been in had the breach of regulatory requirements not occurred.”
However, there’s a problem – this advice is open to interpretation by the banks, and seeing as they’ve got form for really not giving two hoots about their customers, this means as they review each case, they’re inevitably going to do someone over.
Chairman of the Treasury Committee, Andrew Tyrie MP, said: “Many small businesses have been badly hit by the complex terms of the IRHPs offered by their bank. A significant number of those firms who were missold these hedging products feel that, having been ripped off in the first place, they have now been treated unfairly again by the FCA’s IRHP redress scheme.”
“It is far from clear that the FCA’s scheme has delivered fair and reasonable redress to all the businesses affected. The FCA needs to do much more to demonstrate that this process is credible and has not unduly favoured the banks. As part of this work, the FCA should collect the information necessary to establish whether there are systemic failures in the review.”
“This would benefit from independent oversight. It should publish its findings. “Greater transparency is crucial in order to ensure that those SMEs mis-sold these products receive – and are seen to receive – appropriate redress. The Financial Services Act provides for the Treasury to require for this type of work to be done. But hopefully this won’t be necessary.”
With any luck, an independent body will oversee these cases in a bid to work in the favour of the customers, but don’t hold your breath.
A new compensation scheme has been agreed between 11 banks and credit card issuers and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), to reimburse customers who were sold card protection policies that were, essentially, useless. This is separate from the ongoing card protection policy claims, as this centres on one policy issuer offering protection that was totally not required.
An estimated two million affected bank customers will be sent a letter in April or May, asking them to vote in favour of the compensation scheme, which could see people receiving up to around £300 each.
The policies in question were offered by a company called Affinion and sold by the banks and credit card firms. The FCA explained that one unnecessary element of the insurance covered losses due to the fraudulent use of a card that had been lost or stolen. “This was unnecessary because the customer’s card issuer was typically responsible for any transactions after the cards were reported as being lost or stolen and, in the period before reporting the matter, customers were only liable for unauthorised transactions in limited circumstances,” the regulator said, adding that “the bank or card issuer usually covered customers for anything over the first £50 if transactions took place before the card was reported missing.”
As a result the policies, which went under the names such as Card Protection, Sentinel, Sentinel Gold, Sentinel Protection, Sentinel Excel and Safe and Secure Plus, were essentially charging customers for protection they already had, and it is this element that is being reimbursed. An average policy cost £25 a year and the compensation will also accrue interest of 8% a year, minus any taxes and any money actually paid out on successful claims, meaning people could get up to £300.
This new scheme follows a similar compensation payout made last year for similar policies offered by CPP, who were fined £10.5m in 2012 by the FCA’s predecessor, the Financial Services Authority (FSA), after using deliberate mis-selling tactics to trick people into thinking they needed the insurance cover.
Tracey McDermott, director of supervision and authorisations at the FCA, said: “We have been encouraged that, working closely with the FCA, a large number of firms have voluntarily come together to create a redress scheme that will provide a fair outcome for customers. ”
The 11 banks and card issuers involved are:
AIB Group (UK) trading as First Trust Bank in Northern Ireland and Allied Irish Bank (GB) in Great Britain
Capital One (Europe)
Northern Bank Limited trading as Danske Bank
Tesco Personal Finance
The Co-operative Bank
The Royal Bank of Scotland.
The scheme will not cover bank customers who had a card insurance policy as part of a packaged bank account.
As you’ll be aware, the chunnel was closed for most of Saturday because of a fire and then it was locked down again on Sunday because of an unrelated electrical fault. Today, there’s only one of the two tunnels open, which means more delays and headaches for passengers.
It is hoped that the Channel Tunnel will be back to full speed tomorrow, but after this weekend, no-one should hold their breath.
The amount of passengers inconvenienced over the weekend are in advance of 12,000, which is a lot of compensation needing to be paid out. On Saturday, Eurostar cancelled 26 of their services.
The cancellations were a result of a lorry which was on fire (or more accurately, it was “”smouldering”, which meant two CO2 detectors went off and everything had to be shut down. Then, once that was put out, “residue smoke” had to be cleared, meaning further delays. Then, when it looked like things were getting sorted, there was a problem with a power supply which meant more hair being torn out in frustration.
So what happens now?
Well, if you’re planning to travel on Eurostar, they’ve said that they’re planning to run a full service, albeit with delays, so you should check-in as normal, but expect to spend some time sat around and tutting.
“As Eurotunnel will not be completely operational Eurostar services may be subject to delays of up to about 30 minutes,” the company said. “If you were scheduled to travel on Saturday or Sunday and wish to change your plans and were impacted by the tunnel closure, you can exchange your ticket free of charge, within the next 60 days to travel anytime within the next 120 days, or apply for a refund.”
If you’re wanting to complain, then there are long waits on the Eurostar telephone services. You can try ringing them - 03432 186186, 9am-5pm Mon-Fri – or, if you prefer, you can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org and include the details of what happened as well as your six-letter booking reference.
Eurostar’s website says that they have a “generous compensation policy” for passengers who have been affected by delays so if all of the above switches you off, they have an online form to help you get your money back.
And now, instead of some hold music, here’s a man being run over by a moped outside London’s St Pancras, live on the telly. Both are fine.
You may have heard, or experienced, the mega delays in London on 27 December that were caused by over-running engineering works over Christmas. London King’s Cross was closed and passengers diverted to Finsbury Park, where they faced crowds, queues and delays lasting hours. However, now East Coast Trains has started responding to requests for delay repay compensation, except their email is so dodgy, most people are wary of responding.
Under the delay repay scheme, delays of over 30 minutes qualify for compensation from the relevant rail operator- exact details of how to apply will depend on the rail company, but for reference, here’s the details for East Coast Trains. Because of the massive number of people affected on 27 December, however, East Coast have decided to send out a blanket email to respond to those seeking compensation.
However, as reported in the Guardian, the email itself is either very poorly, or very cleverly worded such that it sounds like it wouldn’t look amiss coming from an embarrassed Nigerian Price caught short without his wallet.
The email comes from a Michael Ross and says that “as a gesture of goodwill for the disruption and inconvenience to your travel plans, your claim will, on this occasion only, be paid in cash by Bacs transfer.”
The email then asks for your bank account number and sort code to be emailed by return to email@example.com and “your payment will then be made as quickly as possible although, in view of the holiday period, please allow 14 working days for the transfer to be made”.
The email (and Michael Ross’s existence) have been verified, and while this is actually a genuine attempt by East Coast Trains to make amends, no-one should reply to an email with their bank details without thinking very carefully. If you don’t want to send your bank details by email you claim your 50% refund for 27 December the traditional way using East Coast’s online form. This does not require you to send your bank details, but on the downside, you may be sent rail vouchers instead of the cash offered by the phishing-a-like email.
East Coast have apologised again for both the delays and the poor email.
Well, things are about to change on that front. No, delayed and cancelled flights aren’t going to become a thing of the past, but rather, your rights surrounding them. There’s been two Supreme Court decisions against Thomson and Jet2, which means we’ll all have improved rights when it comes to getting compensation.
The Supreme Court ruled on two cases relating to the European Denied Boarding Regulation, which sounds boring, but that’s the thing that sorts your right to compensation if your flight gets cancelled or if it is delayed, and with that, the airlines might get their arses in gear and start running a better service for everyone.
In the case ‘Dawson v Thomson’, Thomson denied owing a certain Mr Dawson (no, not that one) compensation because he had waited more than two years after his flight to make a claim. The airline argued that consumers have a two-year window if they want to claim compensation, however, Mr Dawson pointed out that the law gives six years for claims. The Court of Appeal agreed and Thomson don’t have the right to appeal.
The other case – ‘Huzar v Jet2- Mr Huzar’s flight had been delayed thanks to a technical fault with the aircraft. The law says that airlines don’t have to pay compensation if a delay is caused by “extraordinary circumstances”. You’d think that technical problems were a fairly regular occurrence, but Jet2 claimed that technical difficulties constitute “extraordinary circumstances”. That means they don’t have to pay compo to passengers. However, the Court of Appeal disagreed and denied Jet2 the right to appeal.
So now, the law says that travellers have six years to flex their rights in a bid to claim for compensation for a cancellation or delay and there’s not much the airlines can do about it. They might weasel their way out of it somehow, but for now, it is 2-0 to the consumer.
That said, if you’ve but a claim in for some reimbursement, it now might go through, albeit delayed thanks to the airlines now having something of a large backlog of complaints. If you are getting close to six years, then you can send your complaints to the Civil Aviation Authority or the small claims court.
Go get ‘em.
Allegedly, Lloyds Banking Group – who have never been known not to serve themselves first – have been withholding millions of pounds of PPI compensation, thanks to a loophole in the law.
The Financial Ombudsman Service say Lloyds is using an ‘alternative redress’ scheme, which complies with the Financial Conduct Authority’s rules, as a way not to give customers their full payouts.
The alternative redress scheme is an obscure, generalised rule that assumes that customers took out regular premium policies – and that they must be reimbursed for that.
But some customers didn’t take out regular premium policies. They were sold single policies on more than one loan. So Lloyds have been deducting the cost of a cheaper regular policy from the payouts, even though some customers are owed more.
For example, one Halifax customer with 2 loans was offered £2300 PPI compensation. But when she brought the case to the Financial Ombudsman, Lloyds were asked to pay her an extra £1200.
Lloyd’s said yes, it WAS using the alternative redress system, but argued that it had done nothing wrong, saying: “The FCA handbook is very clear that in these specific circumstances, the provider should give redress that puts the customer in the position they would have been in had the customer taken a regular premium policy.’
If you want to watch Lloyd’s squirm on TV, a BBC special about the PPI compensation, ‘Britain’s Biggest Banking Scandal’ is due to air tonight.
A case that has been rumbling for some time has now received judgement in the Court of Appeal. Previously, victims of financial loss as a result of mis-selling or inappropriate advice could take their case to the Financial Ombudsman and then also sue the financial firm allegedly responsible for the loss in civil court. The new judgment, on the back of opposing previous judgments, makes it clear that accepting Ombudsman compensation precludes complainants from later suing on the same matter.
While this might initially sound like a triumph of common sense, consumer groups are decrying this as a blow for consumer rights, given that some victims would use their Ombudsman payout, a process which is free, more streamlined and enables faster payouts, to enable them to fund a civil case. It is conceivable that those who have suffered financial loss at the hands of a shoddy adviser might not have oodles of cash with which to fight a court case.
Currently, the financial ombudsman can award maximum compensation of £150,000 to a customer who has suffered a loss due to issues such as negligence, poor financial advice or mis-selling.
The new ruling concerns the case of Barry Clark, 70, and his wife Julie, 68, of Portsmouth, who were clients of In Focus Asset Management and Tax Solutions. The firm advised them to invest the proceeds of the sale of a family business in a geared traded endowment plan. The product was unsuitable for their needs and ended up costing them losses of £500,000- so the couple complained to the ombudsman.
The ombudsman upheld the complaint and awarded the maximum compensation, which was £100,000 at the time. Mr and Mrs Clark then used the money to issue proceedings in the county court for additional losses.
In her judgment, handed down today, Lady Justice Arden acknowledged the way people were combining the two routes to compensation, but felt it was potentially harmful to consumers. She said: “If the Clarks succeed, a complainant may be able to use an award as a fighting fund for legal proceedings. On the face of it this result would be for consumers’ interests, but that is not necessarily so.
“If they lose court proceedings, it may lead to them losing all that they have gained through the FOS [Financial Ombudsman Scheme]. It may also lead to the development of a claims industry in this field that increases the costs of obtaining financial advice: there are already 210 ombudsmen and many more might be needed if a larger group of complainants can apply.” In 2013, the ombudsman received over 500,000 complaints, half of which were upheld, although this does include endless PPI compensation claims.
While many people would want to avoid the UK turning into as litigious a state as some others around the world, is it right that the Clarks are down £400,000 (and more now, after losing the case at appeal) with no means of further redress? Doesn’t this ruling mean that it will be only those who have pots of spare cash to fund a legal challenge who will be able to get their full compensation?
The whole PPI misspelling saga has been dragging on for years. Most commonly attached to loans or mortgages from banks, the cash windfalls received in compensation payouts to the mis-sellees is enough to make you wish you had been
gullible fore-sighted enough to take a policy out in the first place. But if you were unlucky enough to have missed that boat, never fear, a new compensatory ship is rolling in. Card Protection Plan compensation.
The Financial Conduct Authority announced yesterday that they are instigating a new tranche of compensation claims for policies sold by Card Protection Plan Limited (CPP), who, unsurprisingly, sold card protection plans as well as identity protection policies, whatever they are.
An estimated seven million policyholders will receive a letter from CPP during February 2014 enclosing a compensation claim form, or two forms for those who purchased both the card and identity protection policies. The policies were often sold when customers called to register or activate a debit or credit card.
The letter will detail how to make a claim IF you feel your policy was mis-sold. Examples of how products may have been mis-sold include being given misleading or unclear information when the policy was sold, on the basis of which, the policy was purchased. Note that the FCA has already found buckets of evidence of widespread mis-selling by the company, resulting in a £10.5million fine in 2012.
Claim makers will not need to provide documentary evidence, but will need to write a short statement saying why the policy was mis-sold. No charge will be made for making a claim (other than by pop-up claims handlers who are probably worming their way up right now), and all claims must be received by 30 August 2014. Note that making a claim will cancel any policies still in existence, so those receiving benefits might want to think carefully before jumping on the bandwagon. Anyone who thinks they should be entitled to claim, but who does not receve a claim form by the end of February should should contact CPP on 0800 083 4393.
Anyone entitled to compensation will have the premiums paid since 14 January 2005 returned, less any sums paid out under the policy, but plus interest. Any premiums paid before that date are lost because such policies were unregulated before then (so providers could essentially do what they liked.)
The banks and card providers who have agreed to provide compensation under the scheme are as follows:
Bank of Scotland Plc (part of Lloyds Banking Group)
Barclays Bank Plc
Canada Square Operations Limited (formerly Egg Banking Plc)
Capital One (Europe) Plc
Clydesdale Bank Plc (part of National Australia Group Europe)
Home Retail Group Insurance Services Limited
HSBC Bank Plc
Morgan Stanley Bank International Limited
Nationwide Building Society
Santander UK Plc
The Royal Bank of Scotland Plc
Further information about the scheme is available by calling the dedicated helpline on 0800 083 4393 or on www.cppredressscheme.co.uk
RBS Group already have a reputation in tatters, after the group which includes Nat West and Ulster Bank were accused of ruining small businesses and of course, numerous technical issues which left customers unable to access their accounts.
Last night, the group saw everyone complaining that they couldn’t get to their money; the second time this has happened in 18 months, on one of the busiest days of the shopping year. Millions were affected from 6.30pm onward.
On Twitter, complaints were rife, with one customer saying: “Im leaving you #natwest I’ve had enough of this disfunctional relationship”. Another tweeted: “Rbs systems are down again this bank is diabolical in all aspects.” Other customers used much more fruity language.
Susan Allen from RBS went on the radio to face the music, saying: “I’d like to apologise to all of those customers, we realise we’ve let them down.” A statement from the group said that customers who had been “left out of pocket” as a result of the problems would be compensated.
The statement said: “If customers have been left out of pocket as a result of these system problems, we will put this right. If any customer is unable to resolve an issue caused by the disruption, they should get in touch with our call centres or come into a branch in the morning where our staff will be ready to help.”
Westminster City Council are going to pay back a whopping £278,000 in compensation to motorists after they admitted a parking sign had ‘potential for confusion.’
5000 motorists have had fines slapped on them for parking in three streets in Central London since 2011. The signs said ‘No parking in the bays between 8.30am and 6.30pm.’ So, obviously you would think you could park there AFTER 6.30. Nuh-uh. Because at 6.30pm, the bays magically turned into taxi ranks. But the signs didn’t say anything about that.
Obviously the council received plenty of complaints about this stupid signage balls up, but they didn’t do anything about it until now, and they’re trying to pass the compensation off as a magnanimous act of charity. In a statement, Westminster City Council said that they would pay back the fines ‘as a gesture of goodwill.’ Awww.
So next time you f*** up in life, just take a leaf from WCC’s book. Wait a while, don’t apologise, but then just throw some money around. You’ll be the most popular guy in town!
Anyway, if you’ve been a victim of this sign, you can apply for a refund on their website. They’re nice like that.
Scottish Power had to confess that they had indeed, been luring customers with made-up or unreliable comparisons. Ofgem weren’t happy that Scottish Power’s door-to-door sales and telemarketing campaigns basically talked a load of cobblers when estimating household consumption and comparing their products to their rivals. Seems that these salesfolk weren’t ‘adequately monitored’ or trained either.
“While there is no evidence that the contraventions were deliberate or wilful, the contravention cannot be regarded as accidental or inadvertent,” the regulator said.
Scottish Power chief executive Neil Clitheroe apologised “unreservedly”, adding that they’d implemented new controls since the investigation started but will now be paying a nominal fine of just £1. On top of that they’ll be paying out £7.5m in payouts (of at least £50 to each household) in fuel poverty on the Warm Homes Discount Scheme and a further £1m will go to those who fell foul of mis-selling. They’ll have to apply and they’ll get somewhere between £5 and £30.
Of course, it seems that mis-selling is part of the energy companies culture at the moment and with customers increasingly confused by tariffs and the like, once they’re signed up, they’re not likely to move elsewhere. Even customers who do shop around are still looking at a group of companies that are arbitrarily putting energy bills up by eye-watering amounts anyway.
The whole thing stinks basically.
300,000 Barclays customers are set to get a little bonus after the bank admitted to making mistakes on the paperwork for thousands of personal loans. If there are errors in the paperwork, it’s the law that all interest should be paid back.
It’s going to cost Barclays around £100m to recify the mistakes, which go all the way back to 2008. The errors were mentioned in the bank’s annual results in February, and again in a recent prospectus, which stated that their ‘income declined 4% to £1,086m primarily due to provisions taken to remedy historical interest charges incorrectly applied to customers.’
A quivering guy in a suit from Barclays said:
‘Whilst no-one has been mis-sold to, customers are entitled to have their interest payments returned. No customer will pay more than they were ever contractually expected to.’
It’s the latest in a catalogue of catastrophic errors from the bank. As well as this, they did some dirty secret double dealing with investors from Qatar, and are facing a £50 million fine after making secret, under the table payments that didn’t appear on the books. They’re also paying back £290m for trying to manipulate Libor and doling out millions in compensation for mis-sold PPI and credit card insurance.
BAD BANK. GO TO YOUR ROOM.
7 million customers could be due up to £300 compensation each for the scandalous mis-selling of credit card insurance cover by Britain’s biggest banks. 13 banks have signed up to the compensation scheme, which amounts to £1.3bn.
The banks referred customers to insurance company CPP, which sold them pointless policies – like ID theft cover – that the city regulator says aren’t worth the paper they’re written on. The big banks – Santander, Barclays, RBS, HSBC, Tesco and MBNA – managed to co-erce 4.4 million suckers into buying the ID protection policy, which was already covered in the terms of conditions of the credit card.
Customers who took out the cover, dating as far back as 2000, will be entitled to the amount they paid for their policy since January 14 2005, plus 8% interest on any sum they owe.
Barclays are the worst culprit, which is a bit embarrassing for its new chief exec Anthony Jenkins, who appears to have merrily stood by in his previous role as CEO of Barclaycard and let it all happen.
As for CPP, they’ve already been fined £10.5 million by the Financial Conduct Authority, and this latest bout of compensation could put it out of business.
FCA’s chief exec Martin Wheatley said: ‘We believe this will be a good outcome for customers who may have been mis-sold the card and identity protection policies. Subject to CPP’s customers approving the scheme, these policy holders will be able to claim a full refund of premiums with interest.’
HA. HA. HA.