Monday, 31 March 2014

Don't Play With Fire

The latest Amazon TV ad features an annoying woman who likes to poke her nose into your online activities via your Amazon Kindle Fire.

She chirpily offers the following advice:

Great... all this time I've been trying to keep my kids away from the fire...

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Don't Be Greedy

Here's an interesting story. The guy returned a laptop but was still charged for the loan, he went to court and was awarded £116,000!

Then there was an appeal, and 16 years later, the High Court awards him £8,000 instead.

But who appealed? PC World? No. The loan provider? No.

He did!

Because £116,000 wasn't enough.

Just goes to show, when you get something you shouldn't have, keep your big mouth shut.

And don't be greedy.


A man has won a 16-year dispute over a laptop which he bought from the Aberdeen branch of PC World.
Richard Durkin claimed the HFC bank ruined his credit rating after he tried to pull out of a credit agreement when he returned the £1,499 computer.
Mr Durkin, 44, took his case to court and initially won damages of £116,000 but that ruling was overturned.
The Supreme Court in London has now allowed his appeal and ruled he should receive £8,000 in damages.
Mr Durkin said the ruling was a victory for the consumer but a blow for him personally.
He had handed over £50 and signed a credit agreement with HFC in 1998, but said he was told by a sales assistant at the store in Aberdeen that the laptop could be returned if it had a problem.
He discovered the laptop did not have an inbuilt modem.
Mr Durkin was eventually paid back the £50 by PC World but HFC said he was still required to make payments under the terms of the credit agreement.
In 2008 Aberdeen Sheriff Court ruled that he was entitled to reject the laptop and cancel the sale and the credit agreement and awarded damages of £116,000.
The decision was overturned later by judges at the Court of Session in Edinburgh after Mr Durkin himself appealed against the size of the damages.
Delivering the Supreme Court conclusion, Lord Hodge ruled: "I would allow the appeal and declare that Mr Durkin was entitled to rescind and validly rescinded the credit agreement by giving notice to HFC in about February 1999.
"Damages resulting from HFC's breach of its duty of care are confined to injury to Mr Durkin's credit in the sum of £8,000.
"I would give the parties an opportunity to agree the date from which interest should run and the rate or rates of interest to be applied."
Lord Hodge said the Supreme Court did not have the power to restore the damages originally awarded to Mr Durkin.

Analysis

Today's judgment is a significant victory for consumers, but rather a hollow one for Richard Durkin.
The judgment establishes that if you buy goods using a credit agreement, and then validly terminate the contract of sale by rejecting the goods, you can also validly end the credit agreement.
More significantly, it establishes that any lender who wants to blacklist a consumer's credit rating, when they are asserting that they've terminated the credit agreement, owes that consumer a duty of care to ensure that they are genuinely in default of the credit agreement.
Mr Durkin had told HFC bank that he'd ended the credit agreement.
The court found that, in the light of that, HFC were under a duty to make the appropriate enquiries to establish if he had. They did not do so.
Mr Durkin had originally been awarded £116,000 in damages, but that sum was dramatically reduced on appeal at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.
Sadly for Mr Durkin, the Supreme Court in this type of appeal is unable to reassess the damages in the case, and so he was left with just £8,000.
However, his legacy will perhaps be that banks and others extending credit to purchase goods under what are known as 'debtor, creditor, supplier' agreements will have to be exceptionally careful before informing credit agencies that the customer is in default.
If they get it wrong and are negligent, they can be sued by the customer.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

First Direct - Are They Scamming Us With Charges?

I've just sent this complaint to First Direct, part of HSBC. Is your bank finding ways to charge you?

Hello,

In the past, I have applied more than once for an increase to my overdraft and it has been refused. You will see from my account history that mortgage payments often make me overdrawn but I transfer money in almost immediately to restore my account to credit. This is because I'm self employed and my partner has to transfer money from the business account, and we don't take any more out than we absolutely have to.

Since you've repeatedly charged me for going over my overdraft limit of £250, it could look like you're intentionally keeping my OD limit to £250 so that you can carry on charging me. As you see, if you increased it to £500, as it is automatically with other banks such as Smile, I wouldn't be paying any charges.

On these grounds, I think it's more than fair for you to increase my overdraft limit, and as I say, the FCA could take the view that you're holding my OD limit to £250 in order to charge me whenever I go over it.

Of course, you could argue that I should manage my mortgage payments better, but that's life, and that's what overdraft limits are for, is it not?

Thanks,