What is a Bank Complaint?
A bank complaint is effectively a grievance by the customer against the bank, whether it be by a service offered by the Halifax or a person/employee offering the service on behalf of the bank.
Halifax deal with many complaints on a daily basis, ranging from inconveniences of its customers, such as queuing too long for a service, the websites going down when online banking, cash running out of an ATM or no local branches nearby.
What does a Bank Complaint cover?
As well as dealing with the above, bank complaints are also made about more severe issues that customers have against their bank including mis-sales of products they offer, such as: –
Mis-sold Package Bank Account
A package bank account is a bank account that has special additional features added on for a fee from the bank each month.
These benefits can include travel insurance, car breakdown recovery, tech and gadget cover and many other benefits available. The prices for these accounts set by the banks vary, on average, from £8 up to £30 per month. These accounts are usually named “gold”, “platinum” and so on.
Package bank accounts can be mis-sold if a free bank account was not offered as an alternative, if you felt pressured into taking the account and if the account did not meet your needs or requirements. For example, if you already had the cover and insurances that the package bank account offered elsewhere.
There are many different types of pensions available on the market, including SIPPs, Final Salary, Deferred Benefits and Annuities.
Pensions can be mis-sold if you were given unsuitable advice or your personal circumstances were not fully considered when you were being advised about your pension.
If your pension adviser did not assess your attitude to risk, i.e. the level of risk of pension investment that you are prepared to take and what type of pension is suitable for you, then this was not fully explained or full information provided and this can all lead to a mis-sale.
Mis-sold investments by Halifax covers financial investments such as stocks, shares, bonds, gilts, guaranteed and personal investments.
Again, these can be mis-sold, in particular, where your attitude towards risk has not been fully explored or discussed or correct investment products matched for your needs and requirements.
If you were sold an insurance policy which was unsuitable for your circumstances, then it was likely to have been mis-sold.
Mis-sales can occur where you had pre-existing medical conditions that were not taken into account by the insurance provider, in cases where home insurance policies do not cover an area of your property that you thought it would, if you were too old to be able to ever claim on it. There are many other examples where mis-sales can take place, including being pressured into taking the policy and not being given full options of other more suitable policies.
Refused House or Life Insurance claim?
House insurance can be refused for many reasons. Some of those are if you you’re your home vacant/empty for more than 30 consecutive days, you have made previous claims before, you are living in a household with people who you are not related to or who has a criminal conviction, you live in high flood risk areas, you run a business from your home or your home is of a non-standard construction.
In some cases, house insurance is rejected in part, usually because the valuable and possessions are not fully covered, i.e. only up to £500,000 is covered and if your valuables and possessions are worth more or it costs you more than that to replace those items, then you will have to find the difference.
There are many other examples but ultimately, if you were not advised of the above, then it is likely you have been mis-sold your house insurance.
Life insurance is usually declined as a result of medical issues. There are however other insurance companies that will provide life insurance for those medical issues.
If your adviser did not take into account any existing medical conditions that you have or had then should you need to make a claim on your life insurance, it could be rejected. This would be a prime example of a mis-sold life insurance policy.
Mortgages can often mis-sold if Halifax did not explain to you fully about the full terms and conditions of repaying the mortgage. In particular, interest-only mortgages only ever repay the interest of the mortgage. They do not cover repaying the equity in the home, so at the end of an interest-only mortgage, whilst the mortgage repayments may be cheaper during that term, you will still need to have a way of repaying the full capital of the home.
If this was not explained clearly to you, then you were mis-sold your interest-only mortgage.
Many mortgages are now running over and into retirement. Some mortgages can be taken from the age of 50 but these are usually very high interest. If your adviser did not factor or take into consideration how you would repay the mortgage after the age of retirement, then you will have been mis-sold your mortgage.
Incorrect Business Lending?
Most businesses will require some money to get them off the ground running, so to speak. Many Directors of companies applying for a loan to help their business will find that the lenders will want a lot of information before they agree to give it.
It is also common for banks to require some form of guarantee, usually against the customer’s personal home or other assets, for the business loan.
If you were not fully advised about the risks or you were not fully advised about the personal guarantee before signing it, then it is possible you were mis-sold your business lending.
How do you deal with a Halifax Complaint?
If your bank complaint is a more traditional bank complaint, i.e. cash running out of the ATM or excessive queues to get to a service offered by the bank, then you can simply make your complaint in writing or through the bank’s online complaint system which you will be able to find on their website.
For mis-sale complaints, you should initially write to the bank with as much information as possible, setting out clearly and concisely why you believe you were mis-sold the bank product.
The bank has a window of eight weeks to respond to your complaint stating whether it agrees with you that a mis-sale has taken place. If they do agree, then they will likely offer you some form of compensation, including interest from the time that the mis-sale took place until the date that it is paid to you.
If the bank does not agree that you have been mis-sold a product by them, then you can contact the Financial Ombudsman Services and ask them to look at the complaint as a whole. The Financial Ombudsman Service will then conduct an investigation, looking at all papers available and make a decision. This can take months, and in some extreme cases, years.
Once a decision has been made, the decision of the Ombudsman is final and binding upon you and the bank.
How can we Help?
If you felt that you did not want to make the enquiries yourself, or you have got so far and not sure where to turn next, then we would be delighted to assist you with your enquiries and pursuing your mis-sale complaint with the bank on your behalf.
We would require some basic information and background from you in order to make those initial enquiries on your behalf, such as, full name, date of birth, addresses, including previous addresses that your bank would have on record for you and the name of the bank that you feel has mis-sold the financial product to you.
We will undertake this on your behalf on a “no win, no fee” basis.
If we are successful on your behalf, which would include: –
- Financial Compensation for the mis-sold product;
- Interest on top;
Then our fees would be 20% plus VAT (24% inclusive of VAT) of your total recovered costs from the bank.
Are there many Bank Complaints?
As you can see above, there are many, many forms of bank complaints made on a daily basis by customers of a bank and these run into the millions.
The most common types of complaints are for poor service, excessive or hidden fees on accounts, poor advice and mis-sales, as well as many other types of complaints.
Was PPI the only type of Bank Complaint?
As you will see above, PPI was certainly not the only type of bank complaint to ever be made and it certainly won’t be the last.