Here are some simplified bullet points requested by a journalist yesterday:
- HFC Bank (part of the HSBC Group) for many years applied unlawful contingency fees to defaulting accounts via their solicitors Restons – 16.4% of debt was added. (John Lewis, Dixons, Curry’s, B&Q, HFC Bank, Beneficial Finance etc). There was no contractual provision for the charges and the bank paid no legal costs.
- Their solicitor Duncan Hamilton was told by NW in 2003 that the charges were unlawful.
- NW reported his employers to the Solicitors Regulation Authority in 2006, for the unlawful practice. The SRA agreed, NW was sacked.
- NW’s ex-employers & Restons solicitors continued to apply the charges until they were told to stop by an order of the Office of Fair Trading in November 2010.
- No debtors affected have ever been compensated [apart from 2 NW has assisted]. NW estimates at least £500m applied. [NW has recently reported HSBC to the FSA and Duncan Hamilton and Restons to the SRA]