Tony Hetherington is Financial Mail on Sunday’s ace investigator, fighting readers corners, revealing the truth that lies behind closed doors and winning victories for those who have been left out-of-pocket. Find out how to contact him below.
Mrs B.M. writes: In February last year, I complained to Lloyds Bank about my Premier Added Value Account, claiming it was mis-sold to me. The bank rejected my complaint and advised it would send answers by post, which I received last October. I then complained to the Financial Ombudsman Service, but the bank will not respond to my complaint as the six-month deadline has passed.
Result: Lloyds agreed to pay back all the fees and more for the account
When a bank rejects a complaint, it sends a final letter to the customer, saying any appeal to the Financial Ombudsman Service must be made within six months. The rules under which the Ombudsman operates only allow complaints to be investigated after the deadline if there are exceptional circumstances or the bank agrees, neither of which applies here.
Of course, this is not much help to you now, so I asked Lloyds to look into what you told me about your packaged account, which charges a monthly fee. For this, it provides a modest interest-free overdraft, AA breakdown cover, travel insurance and similar benefits.
The bank told me it had responded to your complaint at the time, but it was not until eight months later you told staff you had not received its letter, so what you received in October was a copy.
Lloyds has now taken a second look at your complaint. You told me you were advised by the bank you could not have a loan unless you opened the fee-paying account. There are no records to show what was discussed at the time, but you did take out a loan.
Staff have checked back and found you have never used any of the benefits that make up the packaged account. They also found a record showing you contacted the bank in 2011 and although it was clear you were struggling financially, nobody seems to have suggested the account was unsuitable.
Lloyds told me: ‘It is clear that in our original review of this complaint we did not consider all the evidence available. We would like to apologise to Mrs M and will ensure she receives a full refund in respect of the monthly fees she has paid to date.’
You are getting back every penny paid since you opened the account in 2009, plus interest and compensation. By the time you read this, you should be £3,132 better off.
If you believe you are the victim of financial wrongdoing, write to Tony Hetherington at Financial Mail, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TS or email email@example.com. Because of the high volume of enquiries, personal replies cannot be given. Please send only copies of original documents, which we regret cannot be returned.
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