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Patricia vs. Abbey

Patricia was charged 385 in one day (on 29 April 2006) by Abbey. Abbey refused to refund any of this amount and so a claim was issued immediately to recoup this amount. The claim was issued in May 2006. Abbey filed a defence and a court hearing was scheduled for 21 September. On 1 September, Abbey decided to pay the claim in full. Unfortunately, because of an administrative shambles within their solicitor's offices, the payment was not made into Patricia's account until 2 days before the court hearing.

Abbey continued to charge Patricia at the end of each month for the next 4 months, May through August and so further claims were issued each month against Abbey. The charges imposed on 29 May were for 405. A claim was issued in June for recovery of the charges plus an additional element (500) for the distress caused by Abbey's deceit in imposing charges whilst knowing that the charges were unlawful. Abbey filed a defence and a court hearing date of 17 November was set. On 16 November at 5.44 p.m. (!) Abbey emailed to say that they had deposited 485 (405 plus court fee of 80) into Patricia's account. At the court hearing, the judge felt that the claim for the refund of charges had thus been satisfied and the only issue that he could consider was the question of damages for mental distress caused by deceit. However, the hurdle for proving deceit or fraud on the part of Abbey was high, and, in a nutshell, we could not prove fraud on the part of Abbey. The fact that Abbey paid for a barrister to travel from Plymouth to Truro to fight the deceit part of the claim but did not want to fight the substantive issue of the penalty charges (and, therefore, the usual argument for banks settling being that it is not worth the cost of going to court was not true) - this did not sway the judge. So we got all the charges back but nothing additional. However, the victory for Abbey was somewhat pyrrhic in that the case was top item on the local BBC TV News that evening plus coverage in the regional newspaper and one or two nationals. So another one or two million people now know about Abbey's unlawful charges and how they repaid them all.

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Published and promoted by Bob Egerton, TR2 4RS