Key Post The Ombudsman's comments on his approach to lost trackers

Brendan Burgess

Bill Prasifka was on This Week today at 1 pm, and this is a transcript of what he said. He came on at around 1.45 if anyone needs to listen back to it.

[FONT=&quot]How many cases? [/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]Between July and Dec 2011: 100 cases about the type of mortgage and this would include trackers. [/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]All cases are individual[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]We must look at the underlying documentation very clearly[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]Does it say that they are entitled to a lifetime tracker? [/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]What happens when they fixed? [/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]Sometimes the documentation is clear – this is a new agreement which supersedes the old agreement. Sometimes it does not say that.[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]We look at the original document and any amendment to it[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]Some documentation is very clear. The only thing which changes is that they go on a fixed rate for a short period. That is clear. The person is always entitled to their tracker back.[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]Some amending documentation clearly says that when the Fixed Rate is over, the only entitlement is the existing suite of products which the financial institution has. If trackers have been withdrawn by the financial institution, they would not be entitled to it[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]But the critical point for us – we look at the language. [/FONT][FONT=&quot]It has to be clear,pPlain English which people can understand. In a recent high court case, that approach has been vindicated. [/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]The judge ruled that clauses with huge implications for customers must be in plain English . it behoved the bank to spell out [/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]And when they don’t?[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]The consequesnces are that people could be entitled to their trackers back. When we see that some of the ambiguity , when it is not spelt out clearly for the benefit of customers, we have been upholding the complaint. [/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]The cases turn on the documentation not on the intent of the bank We read the documentation We read the language. We try to have a consistent approach with all of these cases and our decisions are legally binding[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]I have been surprised by the variety of documentation even within the same institution, where there are different agreements for the same basic issue.[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]When you rule against a bank for a customer with a particular mortgage and particular set of documents what should the bank do for customers with similar agreements and similar mortgages? [/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]It is best practice that they should internalise the methodology and apply it across the board [/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]Should they be contacting customers with similar agreements? [/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]That is for the regulator and we are talking to them.[/FONT]


Frequent Poster

What may come out here - eventually - is that the Central Bank has with at least one lender approved their approach to remedying some customers and restored their tracker mortgages.

One sub set were not included were those on an original tracker then fixed and not offered tracker - and NOT telling Customer that there may NOT be a tracker at the end.

These cases are being resolved on a one by one basis IF the customer passes the first test.

By this I mean the customer writes in and makes their case. They will get a long letter basically saying NO.

Now, if its left there, then thats the end of it. (You fail the first test.)

If you were on a tracker and then fixed and now you don't have a tracker:

- get your letter of offer and copies of the mortgage change form;
- read the cases on here for the various banks (as they are different)
- see if you fit in and if you are confused ask here or pay somebody to do it;
- write in with the basis of your compliant (put some effort in it)
- when they reply with the 'DENIED' letter
- find out their Head of Customer Complaints;
- another longer letter to them plus copies - saying if you are not going to restore - give me the sign off letter as I will be writing to
both the FSO AND The Central Bank.

Be under no illusion - the Central Bank have royally screwed up with one of the Banks.