Ulster tracker removal letter from first active

sampeckinpah

Registered User
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I have a very cheap tracker rate which i took out with First Active in early 2005.All was going well until someone in my local first active branch rang me in 2007 and told me me i would be better off going onto an fixed rate.I know ignorance is no excuse but in an 60 second phone call i aggreed to go on an 5 year fixed rate . I completed a letter of authority/acknowledgment form and an letter that said i had the option to transfer the mortgage to the prevailing tracker mortgage at the time of transfer when the fixed rate ends.My fixed rate ended 2 months ago and ulster bank have put me on an 4.9% variable rate with no Possibility of an return to my tracker. i got my final response letter today which says that the letter i signed was an tracker removal letter and ulsterbank staff members are under no obligation to provide advice when issuing these letters. In regards about someone ringing me ,they said they reviewed the notes on my account and are unable to locate an record of my conversation or who i spoke to and are unable to comment on this alleged incident. Am i wasting my time going to the Ombudsman ?
 

wbbs

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Have you a copy of the letter of authority you signed at the time for the transfer to fixed? If not can you get one and have a read of it. The wording of that letter is important as to what happened on finishing of fixed rate.
 

sampeckinpah

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on the letter it says the bank will offer me the prevailing tracker rate at the time of transfer but as all trackers rate products were withdrawn by ulsterbank they say they can only offer me the rates available now. my main gripe is they tell me that it would be impossible for someone to ring me out of the blue and give me advice and yet wont tell me why they sent these forms out to me in the first place.
 

wbbs

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Don't know what they mean about it being impossible for someone to ring you out of the blue, that is common practice in banks for various reasons, the most usual being the 'customer review'. The mortgage interest rate could have come up in conversation on one of these type calls, it was certainly common practice at one stage to ring mortgage customers and offer them the option to transfer to tracker, I am sure at some stage the offers to fix may have been there too.

Have a read of this, its a bit long but it might help, be sure to click back to first page of posts, its 2 pages long but she got her tracker back in the end

http://www.rollercoaster.ie/Discussions/tabid/119/ForumThread/141236570/ForumPost/2100893/ForumView/0/Default.aspx#2100893
 
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sampeckinpah

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thats what my local branch told me.they said they were not allowed to ring customers and said no one rang me from there and i must be mistaken.
 
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wbbs

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But how could your local UB branch have had anything to do with it, your mortgage was with First Active and they were open back then and it is the FA branch that would have rang you surely, not UB so what are they on about?
 

sampeckinpah

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wbbs the truth is, an woman working in customer service in the old first active decided to ring me on an whim.Ulster bank will never admit to this as she had no business ringing anybody about their mortgage.They have told me that its highly doubtful that this woman ever existed and yet refuses to tell me how i manage to get an tracker removal letter posted out to me without contacting the bank.
 

wbbs

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That's rubbish, First Active staff regularly rang customers both mortgage and savings for reviews, UB do the same thing these days, I got a call recently myself offering me a 'customer review'. I don't understand why this part of the argument is even important, what does it matter how you got the form to sign, it's what the form did that's important.
 

Brendan Burgess

Founder
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There are two issues here.

1) If they told you that you were entitled to a tracker, you are entitled to a tracker. I don't think that they can simply say "sorry we don't offer them anymore"

This has arisen before, but I don't remember seeing how it was resolved.

I would guess that you must be put on a tracker and I doubt if they can offer you ECB + 10%.

2) It is very odd that they would encourage you to come off a tracker onto a fixed rate. If they did this with a view to getting you off the tracker, then I don't think that the Ombudsman would be impressed. But as you were entitled to a tracker on expiry of the fixed rate, that was hardly their motivation.

You certainly should complain to the FSO. If this was a systematic practice, the Ombudsman may have had a complaint about it already.

Brendan
 

wbbs

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I agree customer should follow this through.

It was never practice in First Active to try and get people off trackers, in fact a lot of time was spent trying to get them to switch to them initially. By the time it was realised what a valuable asset a tracker was FA was already on the wind down. New trackers were stopped quite suddenly but there was never active attempts to move people off them.
 

Brendan Burgess

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I completed a letter of authority/acknowledgment form and an letter that said i had the option to transfer the mortgage to the prevailing tracker mortgage at the time of transfer when the fixed rate ends.
seems to contradict this:

i got my final response letter today which says that the letter i signed was an tracker removal letter and ulsterbank staff members are under no obligation to provide advice when issuing these letters.
If you had a letter saying you were entitled to a tracker, how can they classify it as a "tracker removal letter"?

Brendan
 

sampeckinpah

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Thanks for all the greath advice .I will go to the Ombudsman and whatever the decision will move on and draw an line through it.
 

Gerard123

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First Active

Sam, Can you please post an update for how you got on re the First Active tracker issue. Did you go to the Ombudsman and what was the outcome. Thanks.
 

DonKing

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There are two issues here.


2) It is very odd that they would encourage you to come off a tracker onto a fixed rate. If they did this with a view to getting you off the tracker, then I don't think that the Ombudsman would be impressed. But as you were entitled to a tracker on expiry of the fixed rate, that was hardly their motivation.

You certainly should complain to the FSO. If this was a systematic practice, the Ombudsman may have had a complaint about it already.

Brendan
I don't think this behaviour is that odd or unusual at all.

Around 2003/2004 I got my BofI and First Active mortgages converted to trackers(0.75 above ECB) when I "started" the process of switching to Halifax(same rate at the time.)

Within a couple of years I had a cold call from First Active telling me that they had a great deal if I switched to a fixed rate mortgage. I told them I'd think about it. I knew straight away that it wasn't in my interest to do this.

That week the Ombudsman was on the radio confirming that she heard reports that this cold calling was happening and said it was wrong and that if anoyone else receives calls they should report it to her office.

I also had BofI, try to take me off my tracker with them after 12 months saying that it was a special 12month offer only. I faxed them the transfer letter I signed and pointed out that the letter did not state a duration for the tracker and therefore it was clear that the tracker was for the duration of the mortgage. They backed off and I'm still on the tracker with them.

Hopefully things worked out for the OP
 

wbbs

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Whatever about these days when it is obvious to most people that a tracker is a benefit, back when previous poster is talking about (couple of years after 2004/05) there was not the same knowledge about how valuable a tracker was going to be in the future either with staff or customers. Equally there were of phone calls to customers advising them to switch to tracker from variable which some declined too.
 

DonKing

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Whatever about these days when it is obvious to most people that a tracker is a benefit, back when previous poster is talking about (couple of years after 2004/05) there was not the same knowledge about how valuable a tracker was going to be in the future either with staff or customers. Equally there were of phone calls to customers advising them to switch to tracker from variable which some declined too.
The banks or at least the policy makers in the Banks new very well the value of the trackers. BofI tried to get me off the tracker within 12months(thinking Halifax had gone away) and I know within 18 months First Active had increased the tracker rate above ECB.


Unfortunately too many people in this country believed that the likes of Bank Managers,mortgage advisors, insurance salesmen, Solicitors were very respectable professional people, who they trusted and accepted whatever advice they received from them.
Many were probably too lazy to do a bit of ground work and more concerned with planning holidays or which car to buy.

Hopefully going forward, the next generation will learn some lessons from their parents and be a bit more savvy when it comes to financial products.
 

sampeckinpah

Registered User
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ulsterbank is entitled to act in its own financial interests

just an update on my case.ulster bank has told the ombudsman that there are unable to detail the cicumstances surrounding my decision to give up my tracker rate and there is no record of me having any contact with the bank regarding with me changing my interest rate.furthermore they said that it is important to note that it was not first active policy to contact customers and it considers that the relationship between bank and me does not owe fiduciary duties and instead the bank is entitled to act in its own financial interests. what really confuses me i have just received an letter this morning from the ombudsman telling me that in response in him asking the bank did i specifically request the bank either at or immediately before the time time of transfer to apply a tracker rate to my mortage account the bank has told him they cant find no information of me contacting the bank to request a tracker rate when the fixed rate expired.
 

Brendan Burgess

Founder
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37,864
Hi Sam

"I completed a letter of authority/acknowledgment form and an letter that said i had the option to transfer the mortgage to the prevailing tracker mortgage at the time of transfer when the fixed rate ends."

Do you have this letter? If you have it and UB does not have it, you should give it to UB and to the FSO. Please reproduce the exact wording of this letter.

A letter fixing for 5 years is not, in itself, a tracker removal letter, unless it explains clearly that you will lose your tracker.

This is how I would see this from the limited information you have given:

If your mortgage contract said it was a tracker at ECB + x, then you are entitled to this unless the bank can show that they advised you that you would be losing your tracker.

If they do not have this in writing, then it seems to me that you will get your tracker back at the original rate.

When the fixed rate expired, you should have been offered various options. It seems to me that you were not offered these.
i have just received an letter this morning from the ombudsman telling me that in response in him asking the bank did i specifically request the bank either at or immediately before the time time of transfer to apply a tracker rate to my mortage account the bank has told him they cant find no information of me contacting the bank to request a tracker rate when the fixed rate expired.
I would reply as follows:

"I fixed my rate for 5 years in response to a phone call from UB. The issue of what rate I would be on on completion of the fixed term did not arise. I assumed that when the fixed rate was over, I would revert to the rate per the contract which is ECB + x%"
 
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