Bank offering monetary compensation provided I don't pursue this any further wth FSOB

Tazzy

Registered User
Messages
5
Hi,

This is the first time I've posted here, but maybe someone would be able to advise me.

I've had a long running issue with a particular bank (for over a year) in relation to my mortgage. I don't want to go into exact specifics, other than to say that the issue was in relation to wrong payments being taken from my account, along with a whole series of poor customer service issues. I threatened them that if I did not get satisfactory resolution to these issues that I would proceed to make a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman.

Yesterday I received a letter from this Bank, which included an apology letter & an offer of monetary compensation if I was willing to sign a letter stating that I would not proceed with the complaint any further or publicise it in any way to any third parties (hence why I cannot go into exact specifics here of the issues I've had). Obviously the monetary compensation is welcome, and in some way goes to compensate for the time & stress I've had to endure trying to get these issues resolved.

What I would like to get inputs on;
1) is this legal i.e. the Bank offering monetary compensation provided I don't pursue this any further.
2) Is it worth going to the Financial Ombudsman i.e. take the chance of bringing this issue to the Financial Ombudsman & maybe get no compensation OR take the money from the bank and drop the case (which essentially gets the Bank off the hook).
 
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irishpancake

Guest
Re: Bank offering monetary compensation provided I don't pursue this any further with

I have had a very similar situation with my Mortgage provider, Ulster Bank.

I have taken a case against them with the FSOB, which is reaching finality now.

The Bank have already offered financial compensation, but I have refused this, leaving it up to the Ombudsman to make a finding regarding fair compensation.

Each offer from UB is given with a document whereby I was asked to sign that the settlement was in full and final, and that I would not publicise the case.

I have refused to sign this, and am not going to, unless advised by the FSOB.

The settlement figure suggested by the FSOB is 100% better than that offered by UB.

Just as an aside, UB are brutal in regard to Customer Relations, make mistakes on peoples Accounts regularly, and are quick to fire off very nasty and threatening Arrears Letters, even when the Bank is to blame for the arrears situation (this has been my personal experience).

My advise is to sign nothing, your offer will not be less if you go to the FSOB, and could actually be bettered ;)
 

Brendan Burgess

Founder
Messages
39,590
Re: Bank offering monetary compensation provided I don't pursue this any further wth

1) is this legal i.e. the Bank offering monetary compensation provided I don't pursue this any further.
Yes, this is legal. If two people have a dispute, they seek to reach an agreement. They have made you an offer in full and final settlement and you have a choice to accept it or reject it. You can't accept it and then pursue your claim further.

Look at it the other way around. A borrower or business owes the bank €10,000 and is in financial difficulty and can't meet the repayments. Someone agrees to invest in the business provided the bank writes off 60% of the loan. The bank agrees. It would not then be right for them having received the €4,000, to sue for the balance.

I would not ... publicise it in any way to any third parties
These confidentiality clauses are standard as well, but I don't agree with them. If it's a one off case, then it's fair enough. But if you have been overcharged and suspect that the bank is systematically overcharging other customers, then you should not sign this. If you feel that you have to sign the confidentiality clause, you should still refer your file to the Financial Regulator. They might investigate the issue, but in reality, they will probably just tell you that as the case has been settled, they can't get involved.

Brendan
 
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irishpancake

Guest
Re: Bank offering monetary compensation provided I don't pursue this any further wth

Just for clarity, you have a complete right to refer your case, including the offer of compensation and all documentation to the FSOB.

You would do this normally after requesting a Final Response from the Bank.

Final Response from the Financial Service Provider

Upon receiving written notification of the complaint and request for a Final Response from the Complainant, the Provider has 25 working days in which to try to resolve the complaint by its internal complaint procedures. If at the end of the twenty five working days, a resolution has not been attained, a Final Response letter must be issued to the Complainant by the nominated member of senior management. (If the Provider requires more time to review the complaint, for example if it requires the Complainant to undergo a medical examination, the Bureau must be notified of same).

The Final Response letter must:

* Contain a detailed account of the dispute at hand
* Address all issues outlined in Complainant’s Complaint Form
* Quote the applicable loan contract terms/policy conditions/terms of business etc
* Give details of any redress offered to the Complainant by the Provider
* State that it is the Final Response of the Provider for the purpose of referring the matter to the Financial Services Ombudsman's Bureau
* Advise the Complainant that he/she hashere 25 working days from the date of said Final Response to refer the matter to the Financial Services Ombudsman's Bureau for investigation
see here

The Bank has a legal obligation to disclose all their correspondence and files relating to your complaint to the Ombudsman.

You are not obliged to accept the restrictions the Bank is seeking to impose unless you intend to accept their offer of compensation.

IMO you would have nothing to lose by formally seeking a final response from the Bank if you have not done so already, and initiating a complaint to the FSOB.
 

bond-007

Frequent Poster
Messages
3,175
Re: Bank offering monetary compensation provided I don't pursue this any further wth

Were the banks letters sent "Without Prejudice"? If so you won't be able to show them to the FSO.
 
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irishpancake

Guest
Re: Bank offering monetary compensation provided I don't pursue this any further wth

Were the banks letters sent "Without Prejudice"? If so you won't be able to show them to the FSO.
I don't think a Bank would get away with trying to short-circuit the Ombudsman dispute resolution mechanism by utilising the term "Without Prejudice".

Surely, the FSOB is entitled to see all offers of redress made to the complainant by the Bank.

The FSOB mechanism relies on consumers being able to utilise the Bank's published dispute resolution mechanism, and to go to the FSOB in the event of not being able to reach an agreed resolution.

To rule out sight of any offer because of the legal nicety of the term would be a negation of Customers right to dispute resolution.

Are there lawyers involved in the OP's dispute?
 

csirl

Frequent Poster
Messages
2,162
Re: Bank offering monetary compensation provided I don't pursue this any further wth

The option is also open to you to reply to the bank saying that you will take the compensation on condition that you dont have to sign the confidentiality clause. Then its up to the bank to consider your amendment to their offer.
 

Tazzy

Registered User
Messages
5
Re: Bank offering monetary compensation provided I don't pursue this any further wth

Thanks for the feedback. In response to the query above, there was no mention of "without prejudice" in the letter. So looks like the Bank is within its rights to offer compensation provided I don't pursue the case any further with any third parties. However, given the long running issues I've had, I think I'm still going to go the FSOB route for final resolution.
 

bond-007

Frequent Poster
Messages
3,175
Re: Bank offering monetary compensation provided I don't pursue this any further wth

Fair play for standing your ground.
 

Complainer

Frequent Poster
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4,951
Re: Bank offering monetary compensation provided I don't pursue this any further wth

Were the banks letters sent "Without Prejudice"? If so you won't be able to show them to the FSO.
Is there a legal basis for this restriction? What's to stop a consumer showing such letters to the FSO?
 
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irishpancake

Guest
Re: Bank offering monetary compensation provided I don't pursue this any further wth

Is there a legal basis for this restriction? What's to stop a consumer showing such letters to the FSO?
As the term has not been used in the Bank's Offer, there is no bar whatsoever on Tazzy disclosing this offer to the FSOB, as part of the complaint being made against the Bank.

As to the legality of offers havings the term included, see below:

In many common law jurisdictions such as the UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore, the term "without prejudice" is also used in the course of negotiations to indicate that a particular conversation or letter is not to be tendered as evidence in court. Such correspondences must be made in the course of negotiations and must be a genuine attempt to settle a dispute between the parties. It may not be used as a façade to conceal facts or evidence from the court and as such a document marked "without prejudice" that does not actually contain any offer of settlement can be submitted should the matter proceed to court. Courts may also decide to exclude from evidence communications not marked "without prejudice" that do contain offers of settlement.
Admittedly the above is from Wikipedia, but I believe it is accurate.
 

Complainer

Frequent Poster
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4,951
Re: Bank offering monetary compensation provided I don't pursue this any further wth

Is the FSOB considered to be a court for the purposes of 'Without Prejudice' letters?
 

bond-007

Frequent Poster
Messages
3,175
Re: Bank offering monetary compensation provided I don't pursue this any further wth

The FSOB is a quasi judicial body so I would think it does count as a court.
 
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