Update: 20 January 2015 – since writing this blog I have received confirmation from the FCA that they did indeed contact HSBC to ask them what to say to me, as I suspected. What the bank said was 100% false.
Here is an extract of a “requirement” imposed on HFC Bank (HSBC) by the Office of Fair Trading in 2010. It can be seen that the OFT ordered the bank to stop adding a “collection charge” unless and until they amended the terms and conditions of the their agreements to allow for them, such amendments to be approved in advance by the OFT. As I have pointed out many times, the charges were unlawful for various reasons. The charges are fraudulent, the bank relying on the ignorance of the law by it’s customers. If the charges were ever challenged the solicitors dropped them immediately, as they well knew they were illegal. In 2007 the Solicitors Regulation Authority deemed them to be unlawful contingency fees.
So the bank must not add a collection charge unless they change the terms of their agreements. Here is an extract from an email I received from the Financial Conduct Authority on 10 April, in an attempt to justify why they had done absolutely nothing about my report to them of the fraud in December 2012. It makes me wonder if they even read the OFT order; it sounds like the kind of thing the bank says to journalists – they probably just phoned HSBC to ask how to get rid of me.
Prior to 2010, when HFC sent an account to solicitors to recover outstanding debts (e.g. on personal loans, credit and store cards), it added a charge to reflect the costs of the recovery. HFC’s agreements with customers gave it the right to do this and the fee was added after the customer had defaulted on the loan/credit card payments.
If this is an example of regulation of the banks by the regulator responsible, the corruption in the financial sector will continue unabated.