Friday, 25 January 2013

Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Fifteenth century Italian historian, politician, diplomat and philosopher Niccolo Machiavelli once said, “There are three kinds of intelligence: one kind understands things for itself, the other appreciates what others can understand, the third understands neither for itself nor for others. This first kind is excellent, the second good, and the third kind useless” and now I am finally in receipt of the Bank of Scotland full investigation into my overvaluation complaint it is clear I have most definitely had a close but useless encounter of the third kind.

It is a year since I first accused the Bank of Scotland, via the Financial Ombudsman Service,  of overvaluing my home in April 2006 at £925,00 and I have already received an unsolicited £500 for the distress their delay in investigating this matter have caused me. However I am now in receipt of their full report and in it the Bank of Scotland tell me, prior to instructing their surveyor “our systems were updated to show what the estimated value of the home was at the time. This shows that based on the original purchase price of £890,000 in 2004, the value of the home would have increased to £925,000 [in April 2006.] The valuation carried out for your mortgage agreed with the assessment that was entered into our systems during the application process.” 
After three more pages of “could haves, would haves” and “should haves” based entirely on this statement I am then told, “To compensate you for the delay it has taken to send this response to you, I have agreed to send you a cheque for £100”. This I have now also received with along a covering letter which states it is in “full and final settlement” of my complaint.

This was my reply,

Dear [Bank of Scotland investigator],

Re; Bank of Scotland overvaluation complaint

Thank you for your letter dated 17 January 2013.

Unfortunately, I am unable to respond to any of the points you raise in your letter as the “original mortgage application notes that are held on file for this account” are inaccurate.

I purchased the Tithe Barn in 2000 for £250,000 and not in 2004 for £890,000 as stated in your letter.
You say that your “systems were updated to show what the estimated value of the home was at the time”.
I am assuming that the bank used a sophisticated piece of software to update your systems fed by data which you have gleaned from a number of sources.  Please supply copies and evidence of the data you used to “estimate” the value of my home in May 2006 at £925,000 based on a purchase price of £890,000 in 2004.  I am very disappointed, at this stage of the bank’s investigation, to find I am to experience yet further delays due to such fundamental inaccuracies.

You also state at the end of your letter that if I remain unhappy I have the option to contact the FOS as long as I do this within six months of the date of your letter.  Having previously fallen foul of the jurisdiction issue over time limits with the FOS and the Bank of Scotland I would request that you provide me with the information I have asked for within the next 14 days.  If you are unable to do this, I would further request the time limit be extended to the date of your next response to prevent it eating into my six months.  May I also ask you acknowledge receipt of this letter by return of post.

On another point, I have received your letter dated 17 January containing a cheque for £100 in “full and final settlement” of my complaint.  In your other letter of 17 January you state this cheque is “to compensate (me) for the delay it has taken to send this response to (me)”.  Could you please clarify if by accepting this cheque I would be forfeiting any legal rights I may have in the future to pursue this complaint further.  It is my understanding that this would indeed be the case.  I am very unhappy to have been put in this situation, particularly as I have not been given an opportunity to respond fully to your investigations or any time to argue my case.  My issues with the Bank of Scotland have stolen 4 years of my life and as a result my family has experienced huge financial loss.  To jeopardise my complaint with a cheque for £100 is very distressing.  I am returning the letter and attached cheque for the reasons stated above.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,


cc Financial Ombudsman Service

Eighteenth century poet, essayist, moralist, literary critic Dr Samuel Johnson once said, “Between falsehood and useless truth there is little difference. As gold which he cannot spend will make no man rich, so knowledge which he cannot apply will make no man wise” and as far as I can see those choosing to employ falsehoods and useless truths at the Bank of Scotland have simply not grasped that the purpose of my complaint is to not to finance the repairs on my car with compensation from their mistakes but instead to encourage them to address my miss-sold mortgage.

Now, once again, I await their reply.


  1. The BoS letter you received is nothing short of extraordinary Caroline. Quite how they could get so much wrong in three short paragraphs, especially given the number of years that have elapsed since the purchase and the apparent (claimed) extent of their investigations. Your patience is commendable. Were I the victim here I am sure I would doing time now having done something quite terrible to the appropriate BoS executive(s).

    That said you have to keep going and ensure you have the largest possible audience for distributing information concerning their incompetence and your resulting stress.

    Keep going

    1. Thanks Ashley. Think HBOS's next reply will make interesting reading. I am also marginally encouraged to have been invited to formally start the complaints process again through my contact at the FOS. This happened as a result of my copying him into the response I sent to HBOS about their inaccuracies/lies. Hoping this time HBOS will not be able to just sweep me away.

  2. Just be aware that the limits of what the FoS can order are and that the bank do not have to abide by whatever they order even if they do!

    We also had a very clumsy "full and final" letter with a £100 bank draft for what we estimate to be over £500,000 they owe us!