Nationwide Building Society 28 May 2010
Thank you for the copy of my Credit Card Agreement received yesterday, and Final Notice from KPR dated 14 May 2010 and received 25 May.
Unfortunately the Terms and Conditions “on the following page” referred to in the Agreement were not included and I would refer you to Carey vs HSBC 2009 EWHC 2417 (QB) on this matter.
Nationwide froze my FlexAccount ******** on around 21 May 2010 intending to force me to use the money in it to pay a debt to their credit card **** **** **** ****.
The FlexAccount should contain around £1400. The demand is £2040.66 and Nationwide offshoot KPR says they will settle for £1200. That would leave me £200, or (according to the Society) nothing at all if I don’t agree to settle.
KPR have said many things; see http://www.bank.si/nationwide.htm. Few have yet turned out to be true. KPR say that if I do not agree this settlement, they will just empty the account, on June 3.
The circumstances are as follows. I live in Slovenia at subsistence level. The Nationwide FlexAccount debit card was the only means I had of paying for day-to-day living expenses. For years I have been unable to pay off any loans and have been living on very little.
I don’t agree to settle on these terms and removing funds from my FlexAccount is an illegal, immoral and vexatious form of enforcement.
If you disagree this action constitutes enforcement please say why. In the absence of any such explanation suspension and/or removal of available funds will be deemed to be an enforcement action dating from 21 May 2010.
No such possible enforcement action is referred to in the Agreement signed by me on 6 January 2006 and the Agreement is unenforceable for the following reasons.
The date on the Society’s signature is unclear. It appears the date has been changed from the 16th to the 12th of January 2006, i.e. from ten days of my signature on 6 January to six days.
Whichever, if either of these, is the true date of the Society’s signature, it can be seen that this differs from the date of my own signature. There is no evidence that I was present on either of these (your two) dates.
Kindly observe that the handwriting of the person (identity illegible) signing and dating on behalf of the Society on one of the above dates, or possibly any date, is the same handwriting used to insert the credit limit in the same box headed “For Society Use Only”.
The date(s) thereby confirm that the credit limit was not contained in the Agreement at the time of my signature and therefore failed to meet the criteria for the minimum prescribed terms under S61(1)(a).
Quoted per HHR Waksman, the judgment in Dimond v Lovell (2002) 1 AC 384 at p397F calls such an agreement “irredemably unenforceable”.
Was it possible for the credit limit to be known and inserted at the time of my signing? It wasn’t. The craze at the time was all about getting the terrorist customer's multiple proofs of identity, which was to accompany the Visa application, to be subsequently weighed up elsewhere later - along with the credit limit - in the lap of the Gods.
Will the Society argue that the credit limit could have been decided there and then in the branch? The discrepancy between the three dates of the two signatures tells a different story.
I can find no trace of the Society ever sending a copy of the countersigned Agreement before this week and the first knowledge I had of the credit limit was when the card arrived in the post. This was quite common, I think.
The key financial information is not provided in the order specified by para. 8 of the Consumer Credit (Agreements) Regulations 1983 (as amended).
The timing of the repayments (paras. 11/12) and the APR (para. 13) are shown in the wrong order.
The Terms and Conditions applicable upon whichever date applies to the Agreement and subsequently amended were not included with the true copy.
The Society intends to rely on amendments to the Terms and Conditions to argue its right to freeze the FlexAccount and deduct therefrom. Although the credit Agreement itself is invalidated by the absence of the credit limit when I signed on 6 January 2010, I will address the withholding of funds additionally and without prejudice to the aforegoing.
No reasonable or adequate steps were taken by the bank to publicise an important change alleged to have occurred in the Terms & Conditions about setting off one account against the other. As I said, no Terms and Conditions from January 2006 or afterwards have been produced.
A copy of the 2007 credit card T&C obtained from the internet shows no such provision. Paragraph I in the Key Financial Information of the 6 January Agreement shows no power to vary the repayment terms by removing money without permission from the customer’s other accounts.
Had such a provision existed, this financial information would have certainly been key.
Therefore I did not agree any setting-off clause. The ultimate evidence for this is, that had I been made aware of the possibility that money in the FlexAccount could be swiped against my wishes, I would not have risked having any – and least of all this particular money – being put there.
Introduction of a hypothetical setting-off clause represents such an important effect, detrimental to the isolation and security of the FlexAccount user, and upon the individual customer’s control of his own funds, that it should be more boldly announced than, for instance, a new, higher savings rate or a 0% balance transfer offer.
This hypothetical clause is more important to people in their daily lives than whether or not Nationwide sponsors the England World Cup team.
The effect of any such clause on the bank vs. customer relationship is much more profound than these mere financial or reputational changes, yet the first, it may be claimed, is buried there in small print while the Society’s more popular traits are received via fanfares and metre-high letters.
The account would be transformed by such a clause from a private banking facility into a general repository for payments by the Society to itself, at the discretion of the Society, to meet any debts it owns, or debts it purchases in the future, by way of balance transfers for example.
In this way, to whatever extent the Society becomes the poodle of debt brokers, the ethos of service to members is diminished and demoted.
All in all the Society has not demonstrated any powers to share data about his balance with a subsidiary company, mistreat the client, deny his living expenses, freeze his account or demand instant repayment under this unenforceable Agreement.
On 22 May 2010, Nationwide initially tried to defend the setting-off under para. 26 of the FlexAccount T&C which do not relate to credit card borrowings but to the overdraft facility on this current account. This polite mendacity was quickly upended and was recorded.
Then on 24 May 2010 Nationwide said that their credit card Terms and Conditions contain a provision allowing them to use money in any other account to repay unpaid borrowings, and pointed to paragraph 8e in their T&C at http://www.nationwide.co.uk/pdf/creditcard/P4433-ccard.pdf
However Society has failed to show that the T&C from January 2006 contained any such provision.
Trying to add to the confusion, the Society’s representatives have at times referred to the FlexAccount T&C also. The FlexAccount T&C contain no mention of setting-off either. In fact they do not mention credit cards once.
Thus Nationwide have gone beyond what the OFT guidelines regard as misleading, referring not only to the non-contemporaneous T&C on the second occasion, but on the first occasion the wrong T&C altogether.
Freezing the FlexAccount contravenes the BBA Banking Code paragraph 7.6.
I have very obviously not knowingly or actively agreed, do not and would never actively agree, to the loss of control which this alleged inter-account liability represents. I don’t think anybody would.
And now back to the human part of the story. Thanks to Nationwide, with no money to pay for food and water I have been taken from an already impossible financial situation. And finally dumped into a full-blown crisis by the withdrawal of emergency daily living expenses - which is obviously a threat to anybody’s health and well-being.
Without a valid, regulated agreement you have no right to enforce the debt by any means. I did my best, but I just don’t have the money. Life seems to be just an endless series of difficult choices. Some people have more money, some less.
Please take notice that unless access to the FlexAccount is restored immediately upon receipt of this letter I intend to pursue the recovery of the FlexAccount balance plus interest at the County Court rate, and costs, in the County Court, even if I have to walk back to England to do it.
I suspect Nationwide has fooled itself into thinking that systematic, greasy theft is less than theft. The great thing about customer experiences is that they become clearer when they are all gathered together in one place.
This is a written request for a true copy of any and all relevant credit and banking agreements and Terms and Conditions under the Consumer Credit Act 1974.
You stated twice on the phone that you do not want the £1 payment. If you do not respond fully you will be in default and I consider this will be aggravated by the ad hoc illegal enforcement action - withholding my living expenses in an attempt to starve me into complying with what you cannot achieve by legal means.
I find it a pity Nationwide doesn’t have a more positive approach to the problem of the debt crisis, something to offer those in most difficulty. Liquidity is a paradox in that it can generate enterprise but also profligacy. However anti-liquidity (for us, not banks) can only reduce people to existence-is-enough lives.
In the Balkans some people still keep their wealth under the mattress. Not everyone trusts banks. If that is the atmosphere Nationwide is trying to create, keep on going exactly as you are.
I obviously don’t advocate debt avoidance in principle. In this case it is simply a matter of survival. Cash is king at the moment and the smart investor can make billions with his algorithm simply by shaking the world’s companies, countries and peoples around in a tin.
Sporty Nationwide used to be brilliant, but in the great credit cascade it seems to have been left holding the murder weapon.
I am very sorry about the global financial crisis and the position in which we are both placed, and I hope the Society learns something from it. The only terms that matter in business are the terms we are on.
For details of who has and who hasn’t been speaking nonsense on the telephone, please see www.bank.si/nationwide
Can the UK’s first internet banking provider and largest mutual home-lender feel positive about no wrangling over small print, no debt collectors, no IVAs, no homelessness, no bankruptcy, no stress, no breakdowns, no claims companies, and minimal lawyers? How can I prove I’m just not in your league?
The Agreement is defective. I am not legally liable for this debt. Once again I demand the restoration of my current account which has nothing to do with this non-enforceable debt.
YOU REAP WHAT YOU SOW
But what do profligacy and defective agreements have to do with football? Are there lessons I can learn about my global financial crisis from the way banks and millionaires behave?
Specifically, how could I be treated by one, like the other?
RBS has gone soft on £237 million it loaned for the
purchase of the UK’s top soccer club, Liverpool FC, although US bank Wachovia
wanted to pull the plug. To keep the business going, Liverpool's owners
need to sell their assets - the club that can't pay its bills cost
them £219m in February 2007 when it had debts of £44m.
Amid tumbling revenues and with now £351m of debt they want to sell it for £800m, so if you know anyone... There’s nothing to suggest The People's Bank might steal the team’s dinner money, though.
Meanwhile rivals Nationwide Building Society had £20 million to sponsor England at football for the four years up to 2002. Then £30 million for the next four years to 2006. Now it's £20 million again, with three Liverpool players in the squad which will play Slovenia on June 23.
England and therefore Liverpool fans will be flocking to Nationwide for their loans and banking. I'm sure they like me are fascinated by small print and contract law and Nationwide will get their cash and sell them the t-shirt.
Better to get your money stolen at home than lurching around in South Africa, I suppose. Thanks to banks and millionaires like these I now understand this money business. Yes, regular Joes like you and I can use the same strategy.
THE RIGHT IDEA
Suddenly my debts are in perspective. The solution is clear.
When you are looking for big bucks the quality of an idea is not the important thing.
What matters is that it has something to do with football.
We already know what the customers are going to do.
They are going to watch football.
So you just mix Nationwide up with football and wait for them to become emotional. Tell them brand Nationwide supports brand England. Teary-eyed England supporters will support Nationwide as they gratefully max out their Nationwide credit cards in Johannesburg. Easy.
For branding reasons KPR and not Nationwide will be responsible if Nationwide deems itself entitled to their FlexAccount cash, and emotions go wrong.
Nationwide has £5.88 million a year to spend on branding itself by pretending to like football, because a lot of people like football? Then I do too.
Finally, some kind of terrific magic number should be involved, by which factor the value of anything associated with the engine of consumer capitalism (especially football) just GROWS.
It grows and grows, regardless of its tangible benefits, authentic purpose, nationalistic tone or instrinsic value.
Hey presto! I'm rich!!
EXCLUSIVE WORLD CLASS INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OPPORTUNITY
To rebalance the economy, I will formally offer Nationwide the full ownership of the premium domain name www.liverpool.si. Es una ciudad donde los Beatles vinieron.
In return you must give me eleven times my total UK credit card and overdraft owings minus (without prejudice) the full amount claimed by you on the above card e insto encarecidamente a usted a decir que sí a esa.
Of course if you don't like the idea that brand Liverpool is worth the debts of just eleven ordinary mugs like me, you can offer more.
Or if you think eleven football fans' credit is too much for brand Liverpool, maybe something went wrong with the Society's lending criteria.
With a "three lions" logo costing Nationwide millions to borrow, I don't see how that can be. Lions don't even come from England.
I look forward to our concluding this mutually advantageous solution and hope to hear from you very soon indeed.