[*Example letter to the Financial Ombudsman Service
(FOS) with amended grounds of complaint for
consumers with outstanding FOS complaints]
[INSERT YOUR NAME]
South Quay Plaza
183 Marsh Wall
Unfair overdraft charges: FOS complaint reference [INSERT YOUR FINANCIAL OMBUDSMAN SERVICE REFERENCE AND YOUR NAME AND ADDRESS]
I write further to my outstanding complaint concerning unfair bank charges applied to my current account which had been placed on hold pending the Supreme Court test case of OFT v. Abbey National plc and others  UKSC 6. I understand the FSA’s waiver has been lifted and you can now proceed to determine my complaint.
Although the OFT lost this case under regulation 6 of the Unfair Terms In Consumer Contract Regulations 1999 (UTCCR), the Supreme Court stated that this did “not resolve the myriad cases that are currently stayed in which customers have challenged Relevant Charges” (para 61 of the court’s judgment). In particular, the Supreme Court made it clear that “it remained open to question whether bank charges were fair” in relation to regulation 5(1) of the UTCCR (para 80 of the Supreme Court’s judgment).
Accordingly, in consideration of my existing complaint, and in light of the Supreme Court’s judgment, please ensure that you have regard to the following amended grounds of complaint:
(1) I seek a refund of overdraft charges (with interest thereon) applied to my current account because these charges were unfair in terms of regulation 5(1) of the UTCCR as –
(a) the charges were set by reference to the overall costs of providing current account services to all of my bank’s customers, rather than the costs incurred by my individual conduct which occasioned the charges;
(b) at no time did my bank ever inform or adequately explain to me, that I would be paying bank charges in order to cross-subsidise the costs of providing the vast bulk of their customers with ‘free if in credit banking’;
(c) my bank’s charging structure was designed or created the potential for rolling or multiple charges, with charges and interest being applied and/or occasioned by ‘charges on charges’;
(d) the way that charges were imposed and accumulated in terms of my bank’s charging structure was unclear, unpredictable and complex; and
(e) the main providers of current accounts in the UK operated a similar charging structure to my bank, and in so doing restricted market competition, resulting in my inability to obtain an alternative current account with a fair charging structure;
(2) Separately, I also seek a refund of overdraft charges (with interest thereon) applied to my account because these charges were unfair within the meaning of section 140A(1) of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 for the reasons as set out in paragraph (1)(a) to (e) above, and in relation to the following additional reason: the charges were excessive in relation to the level and/or cost of the borrowing which triggered these charges.
Please note this is not a template letter as my letter contains specific factual information which relates solely to my personal circumstances. I would ask you to have regard to the following examples of detriment which I have suffered as a result of my bank’s unfair and punitive charges:
[INSERT in your own words bullet point examples of how bank charges have affected you personally – for example you may wish to discuss how charges resulted in personal hardship; not having enough money to pay bills or buy household essentials; or resulted in you being unable to pay other direct debits; or how they placed you into a cycle of debt resulting in difficulty with paying your rent or mortgage, for example. Essentially, explain how the charges impacted on your life and that of any dependents or partners, for example].
I would be grateful if you could please acknowledge safe receipt of this letter, and confirm that in determining my complaint you will have due regard to my amended grounds of complaint.
This letter is provided for illustrative and information purposes only. In using any part of this letter the user agrees that he or she shall obtain their own independent legal advice, and accepts that they shall not treat or use this letter as legal advice. The user accepts that any use of any part of this document is done at their own risk and subject to the terms of this disclaimer. © Dailly & Co., Solicitors at Govan Law Centre, Glasgow, 2010].