Bank penalty charges
In late 2004, I starting fighting against Britain's High Street banks to help unfortunate customers recover penalty bank charges. Over the next couple of years, I was joined by other individual campaigners in the fight against the banks. During this period, I acquired the title of Bob the Bankbuster (courtesy of the Sun newspaper).
Until July 2007, the campaign was immensely successful. In the first half of 2007 alone, Britain's banks paid out over £700 million to its customers; I personally helped individual consumers recover over £300,000. We campaigners had successfully used the laws of the land and the Courts. It was probably the most successful grass roots consumer campaign of all time.
We received no help from organisations such as the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) despite the fact that the OFT has a statutory duty to ensure fair treatment for Britain's consumers. We certainly received no help from Her Majesty's government. The whole thing was an embarrassment to the establishment.
Then at the end of July 2007, the OFT stepped in. They and the banks decided to fight a "test case" in the courts. Immediately, all claims in the court system were put on hold and the banks stopped paying out. So, instead of helping the campaigners who had been so successful, the OFT, in collusion with the banks, the Financial Services Authority (FSA) and the Financial Ombudsman, took away the campaigners' only weapon: they disarmed us.
The test case proceeded at a snail's pace through the High Court, the Court of Appeal and the House of Lords (now rebranded as the Supreme Court). Finally, in November 2009, it was decided in favour of the banks. See News item on Supreme Court ruling.
After mulling over the judgment for a few weeks, on 22 December 2009, the OFT unconditionally surrendered to the banks. See their press release at OFT surrender.
This is a gross betrayal of British consumers by the OFT. It is a shameful day for justice. The establishment has once again taken back control from the revolting masses.
This website now serves merely as a reminder of the battles that have been fought. For a longer reflection on how badly the test case was handled, see reflection.
I am sorry that it has come to this.
Published and promoted by Bob Egerton, TR2 4RS