It appears that George Bernard Shaw was right when he said, “The golden rule is there are no rules,” but knowing this does not make it any less disappointing to find that the Financial Ombudsman Service is upholding Shaw’s theory in regard to my case against HBOS.
The problem with rules are they only work when we all agree to abide by them and it is on days like this I am reminded of just how insignificant my one woman battle of the banks is to anyone but me. Although I have always hoped that my decision to fight HBOS would give me an opportunity to be heard, I never pretended to think my personal plight would be of sufficient interest to make National Headlines or make an impact on banking policy. I did, however, battle on in the belief that by going through the right channels, remaining persistent and keeping to the rules I would eventually be able to reveal HBOS as negligent in their duty of care to me and brutish in their pursuit of a debt they chose to create and saddle me with.
I hoped my refusal to be swept under the carpet like so many other HBOS misdemeanours might eventually shame them into acting with compassion and integrity. I thought quoting the rules and the guidelines laid down by their own governing bodies would force them into reconsidering the merits of pursuing a mortgage shortfall of £217,000 that they chose to create and hoped it might prevent them wasting more time and money bullying me for something I do not have. I believed the Financial Ombudsman’s Service would help me seek HBOS explanations to my questions about their negligent procedures, discriminatory actions and reluctance to follow guidelines.
Nothing could have been further from the truth.
I was completely unprepared to find that the Ombudsman’s reply, although very sympathetic, was not unlike a reply I received from HBOS’s former debt collecting agent Merrils Ede. In both letters I am told it is not necessary to answer my questions regarding HBOS’s duty of care or their flaunting of FSA and government guidelines. The inference is I am merely wasting my time and theirs and moreover should be grateful of the eighteen months respite from debt collecting HBOS harassment for which they have already secured an offer.
So here I am again, back on the self same precipice but this time even more astounded that discriminatory practices and negligence are not something anyone, including the Financial Ombudsman, feel able or willing to comment on.
Realising I have not only been baring my soul to a toothless Financial Ombudsman but also an Ombudsman who is most definitely not neutral I am now faced with a very big question.
What do I do next?