What happens if a bank breaks the Consumer Proection Code?

elacsaplau

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If is deemed (say by the Ombudsman) that a bank clearly violated the CPC, what sanctions/redress can the Ombudsman impose/direct?
 

RedOnion

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elacsaplau

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Thanks RedOnion,

Sorry - I should have been more precise (jet lag combined with innate lack of clarity, I suppose)

What I'm specifically wondering is if, in adjudicating on an individual case, the Ombudsman finds that a bank did not materially comply with the CPC - what compensation/redress can the Ombudsman impose/direct in favour of the individual client.

I think the bit you are referring to is very interesting and seems to be about the related actions of the Central Bank. I hadn't really thought about this before but it seems to me that if the Ombudsman finds that the bank breached the CPC in respect of one individual case and that the bank in question specifically denied breaching the CPC, this gives rise to a lot of questions about the (commercial) bank's understanding of the CPC and how many other of their clients have similarly not been treated in line with its provisions and by extension what the CB is going to do about it!
 

RedOnion

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Ah, the breach of CPC just makes things more clearcut in that scenario.
It generally doesn't change the compensation to customer, just whether or not the customer was wronged.
We'd need to talk about a specific scenario to get clearer on it.
 

Brendan Burgess

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I think that the Ombudsman can award up to €250,000 in compensation.

But most breaches of the CPC are technical and the customer suffers no loss. I would imagine in that case, that the Ombudsman would not award anything or maybe a token few hundred euro.

You probably need to set out what the breach was and how much you suffered from it, if at all.

Brendan
 

SaySomething

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The CPC is so loose it'd be unusual for the Ombudsman to rule that a bank had breached it.
The burden of proof is on the complainant. Are you 100% sure that this has happened?
As I'm sure you're probably aware an Ombudsman's ruling only has a short amount of days to be appealed to the High Court within 35 days of the ruling and even then you're asking for leave to appeal based on a technicality.
 

SaySomething

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To the best of my knowledge...

The CPC is a code that MUST be adhered to by banks.
The CCMA is not obligatory and not all banks/financial organisations are signed up to it. Parts of it are covered by legislation but parts aren't. It's 'a la carte' and once again it's unusual for the Ombudsman to rule that a bank breached it.

However, the Ombudsman has a little bit more discretion when it comes to rulings, compared to the strict legal interpretation that the courts would apply to evaluating whether or not a bank has breached guidelines. This means that the Ombudsman can reject a complaint partially and yet rule that the bank should make a payment to the complainant due to a lack/failing of customer care.
 

RedOnion

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CCMA has the same legal standing as CPC, and is mandatory (except for credit unions and local authorities).

On a practical level, the biggest penalty to a bank for non compliance with CCMA is that a repossession can't take place, and the clock must be restarted before legal action can be taken.
 

elacsaplau

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However, the Ombudsman has a little bit more discretion when it comes to rulings, compared to the strict legal interpretation that the courts would apply to evaluating whether or not a bank has breached guidelines. This means that the Ombudsman can reject a complaint partially and yet rule that the bank should make a payment to the complainant due to a lack/failing of customer care.
Thanks SaySomething,

Final specific question,

If someone believes that a bank has breached the CPC, can one report the suspected breach to the Central Bank (as in, I understand that it is te Central Bank that regulates compliance with the CPC)?
 

SaySomething

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@elacsaplau You can report a suspected breach to the Central Bank. The CB are not obliged to deal directly with individual customers and will not update you if they decide to progress an investigation. The Ombudsman is obliged to report breaches that they find to the CB as well, this would not happen until after an investigation has taken place.
 

demoivre

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CCMA has the same legal standing as CPC, and is mandatory
No doubt the banks are well aware of this. One example of the banks' indifference to the CPC is their routine applying of interim legal costs to mortgage accounts before repossession cases are even close to conclusion. Only a judge can award legal costs in litigation. So it's two fingers from the banks to the CPC and the courts. This is their version of mending their ways after the tracker scandal.
 

NoRegretsCoyote

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I took a case to the Ombudsman about non-provision of interest rate data to me on the grounds that it breached the consumer protection code.


I could have probably calculated some hypothetical loss when making the case, but I didn't. I decided not to for two reasons: (a) my case hinged on a point of law and wasn't at all due to error/oversight on the bank's part; (b) it might have made Ombudsman less likely to rule in my favour if there were broader financial implications for the banks.

He ruled in my favour and there was no mention of redress.
 

elacsaplau

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Hi NoRegretsCoyote,

Fair play to ya!

So, for the avoidance of doubt, the Ombudsman found that the bank beached the CPC and accordingly ruled in your favour? Please confirm! And very well done!

Bit cheeky to ask (I know!) but did the Ombudsman's ruling, as our American pals say, "make you hole" - i.e. were you put back on the right interest rates and was the overpaid interest rates returned in some form? Was "compensation" paid in addition? [I think getting these answers would be hugely beneficial to AAMers as the bank has great visibility on the thinking of the Ombudsman and Joe Soap hasn't much - albeit the recent publication of rulings is a very helpful step in redressing this imbalance!]
 

verywhys

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I took a case to the Ombudsman about non-provision of interest rate data to me on the grounds that it breached the consumer protection code.


I could have probably calculated some hypothetical loss when making the case, but I didn't. I decided not to for two reasons: (a) my case hinged on a point of law and wasn't at all due to error/oversight on the bank's part; (b) it might have made Ombudsman less likely to rule in my favour if there were broader financial implications for the banks.

He ruled in my favour and there was no mention of redress.
@NoRegretsCoyote was this for the non-provision of a tracker rate?
 

NoRegretsCoyote

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Hi NoRegretsCoyote,

So, for the avoidance of doubt, the Ombudsman found that the bank beached the CPC and accordingly ruled in your favour? Please confirm! And very well done!

Bit cheeky to ask (I know!) but did the Ombudsman's ruling, as our American pals say, "make you hole" - i.e. were you put back on the right interest rates and was the overpaid interest rates returned in some form? Was "compensation" paid in addition? [I think getting these answers would be hugely beneficial to AAMers as the bank has great visibility on the thinking of the Ombudsman and Joe Soap hasn't much - albeit the recent publication of rulings is a very helpful step in redressing this imbalance!]
I believe the term is to make one whole:D

The Ombudsman did indeed rule in my favour. As I said, I specifically didn't look for redress. The point was technical and I am not an ambulance chaser. There was no right or wrong rate to be put back on.

If you are looking for advice on how to make a complaint:
  1. Make a complaint to the bank in writing, seeking their final reply
  2. If you are unhappy with their response, make a detailed, but coherent written complaint to the Ombudsman
  3. Include all information - even that which might make the bank's case - otherwise they'll feel you're hiding something
  4. Attach scans of all correspondence
The whole process still took nearly two years!

@NoRegretsCoyote was this for the non-provision of a tracker rate?
No. It was very technical and I'd like to avoid specifics but relates to information relating to the calculation of interest rates by the bank.

The bank now seems to have a note on my account and sends me the information every time I ask for it.
 

demoivre

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If you are looking for advice on how to make a complaint:
  1. Make a complaint to the bank in writing, seeking their final reply
  2. If you are unhappy with their response, make a detailed, but coherent written complaint to the Ombudsman
  3. Include all information - even that which might make the bank's case - otherwise they'll feel you're hiding something
  4. Attach scans of all correspondence
The whole process still took nearly two years!
FSPO already has 1,000 complaints regarding trackers awaiting adjudication with more on the way. This whole tracker fiasco could take years before it's eventually sorted out.
 
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