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Bank Smart IMPORTANT UPDATE

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  • EXC
    started a topic Bank Smart IMPORTANT UPDATE

    Bank Smart IMPORTANT UPDATE

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    After years of sustained lobbying by LegalBeagles, the Financial Conduct Authority has finally taken enforcement action against the notorious claims management company Symmetric Systems Ltd T/A Bank Smart.

    Thank you to everyone who agreed to share their information with FCA to assist in their investigation.

    The FCA have published the following requirements on Bank Smart on their Financial Services Register:

    1. Business requirements

    1.1 In relation to the issuance of cancellation and breach of contract invoices by Symmetric to its customers:

    a. Symmetric must not issue any further cancellation or breach of contract invoices; and

    b. Symmetric must cease pursuing any existing cancellation or breach of contract invoices through, but not limited to, any legal proceedings or debt collection processes.

    1.2 In relation to the charging of commission to customers on any PPI claims initiated after 10 July 2018, Symmetric must not collect commission from customers, or invoice customers for commission, at a rate above 20% excluding VAT. Symmetric is to comply with this requirement until the FCA is satisfied that the appropriateness of commission invoices has been reviewed to the FCAís satisfaction.

    Asset requirement

    1.3 Symmetric must not, without the prior written consent of the Authority, take any action which has, or may have, the effect of disposing of, withdrawing, transferring, dealing with or diminishing the value of Symmetric's client book and clients. For the avoidance of doubt this includes the disposal, transfer or sale in whole or in part of Symmetric's customer base. This is an asset requirement within the meaning of section 55P(4)(a) of the Act.

    Retention and notification requirements

    1.4 Symmetric must secure all books and records and preserve all information and systems in relation to claims management activities carried on by it, and must retain these in a form and at a location within the UK, to be notified to the Authority in writing by no later than on, or before, 7 December 2021 such that they (or, so as not to hinder Symmetric's performance of its business activities, true copies of them) can be provided to the Authority, or to a person named by the Authority, promptly on its request.

    1.5 By close of business on, or before, 7 December 2021, Symmetric must notify in writing all customers affected by the requirements at sub-paragraphs (1) and (2) of the effect of these requirements. The notifications must be in a form to be agreed in advance with the Authority.

    1.6 Once the notifications referred to in sub-paragraph (7) have been made, within 24 hours of those notification, Symmetric must provide to the Authority:

    a. Copies of the template notifications sent to all recipients referred to in sub-paragraph (7).

    b. A list of all parties to whom notifications have been sent pursuant to sub-paragraph (7).

    c. Confirmation that, to the best of its knowledge, Symmetric has sent notifications pursuant to sub-paragraph (7) to all relevant parties.

    1.7 An employee holding a senior management role of Symmetric must send to the Authority by email by 12 noon every Friday (or the following business day should the Friday fall on a Bank Holiday), until such time as it is notified otherwise in writing by the Authority, written confirmation that Symmetric is in compliance with the Requirements.

    2 The Requirements shall take immediate effect and remain in force unless and until varied or cancelled by the Authority (either on the application of Symmetric or of the Authority's own volition).
    In respect of the requirements we have asked the FCA to clarify the following and we'll update here with the answers when we get them.

    1 Does requirement 1.1 (b) mean that current legal proceedings in respect of cancellation & breach of contract invoices should be discontinued?

    2 With respect to requirement 1.1 (b), what is the current status of complaints currently lodged with the Financial Ombudsman?
    Tags: None

  • EXC
    replied
    Originally posted by Weenateena View Post
    How do I get help taking these on they have hounded me for 15yrs nearly and say they made a successful claim for me but never did. They want to take me to the small claims court for £1081. I have logged a complaint with the Financial Ombusmen. I have offered to pay £5 a month while my complaint is looked into I feel this company is the lowest of the low.
    Hiya

    I'm responding to your email...

    Leave a comment:


  • Weenateena
    replied
    How do I get help taking these on they have hounded me for 15yrs nearly and say they made a successful claim for me but never did. They want to take me to the small claims court for £1081. I have logged a complaint with the Financial Ombusmen. I have offered to pay £5 a month while my complaint is looked into I feel this company is the lowest of the low.

    Leave a comment:


  • EXC
    replied
    FCA have finally published the Second Supervisory Notice which represents the final nail in Bank Smart's coffin.

    Second Supervisory Notice: Symmetric Systems Limited (fca.org.uk)

    During FCA's investigation they analysed 20 customer files picked at random and below are some of the gruesome findings. Although we saw this predatory conduct every day for years on end, it brings it home to see it officially recorded.


    *A charge of £345 in respect of a claim against a counterparty despite there being evidence on the file that the counterparty had stopped selling PPI before the customer opened the account with the counterparty.

    *A charge of £550.20 for cancellation of three PPI claims where the Firm had evidence on file that no PPI claim existed.

    *A charge of £1,600 for breach of contract when a customer failed to provide further evidence in respect of 9 claims for which the firm held evidence that the accounts were opened after the selling of PPI had ceased.

    *Charging £90 per claim for the uploading and verification of a single Letter of Authority containing multiple claims. This has resulted in charges of £810 in respect of one customer who signed an LoA containing nine claims, and £3,600 for another who signed two LoAs containing 40 claims.

    *£90 cancellation fee per claim when no evidence the Firm did any work on the claims.

    *Customer charged £118.75 plus VAT where the PPI claim appears not to have been made in time for the deadline.

    *Charge of £1620 for cancellation of 18 default charges claims where there is no evidence the Firm pursued these claims or gathered any evidence to investigate the potential merits of the claims.

    *Charges for the same letter being duplicated across all claims. One customer, who received four reminder letters between March 2020 and January 2021, was charged £240 plus VAT for those letters, as each claim incurred a fee of £12 each time the letter was sent. This pattern was seen for all clients who had outstanding information on more than one claim.

    *One customer incurred additional costs of £150 plus VAT for the issuance of the breach of contract invoice itself.

    *Costs of £168 being added to a customerís breach of contract invoice, when the Firm ought to have known that the claim was without merit.

    *One customer who was charged £71.25 plus VAT for the Firmís costs in sending her the settlement cheque for the upheld Plevin aspect of the claim. She was ultimately charged a total of £474.30 for failing to agree to refer the unsuccessful mis-sale aspect of the claim to FOS.

    *One customer charged almost £4,500 in cancellation fees when she had made multiple references to being disabled and stressed in correspondence, had significant creditors, and was in an active IVA at the point when the claims were initiated. The Firm cancellation fees worsened her financial situation considerably. The Firmís response to her complaint letter was to halve her fees and allow her to pay at the rate of £5 per month, which would result in it taking her almost 40 years to pay her debt.

    *One customer outlined various physical ailments to the Firm and indicated that he was struggling and only received Employment Support Allowance. His credit file shows financial hardship. The Firm proceeded with his claims knowing that due to fees, the customerís debt was likely to significantly increase. He currently owes the Firm £2,767.29 and is paying this back at £20 per month, which will take 11 Ĺ years for him to repay.

    Leave a comment:


  • EXC
    replied
    Actually it's ok, someone else offered. But thanks anyway, totally understand.

    Leave a comment:


  • Tidyboy22
    replied
    Hi Exc

    There is alot of personal information shown when you log in as they have also attached all my paperwork with all the claims they have been chasing for me. Are you just wanting a copy of the letter or are you needing my log in to screen shot everything to send to FCA. I'm very happy to assist you reporting Bank-smart to the FCA however I shall be handing you alot of personal information if you have my log ins, it's not that I don't trust you as you have been very helpful. unless there is a easier way for me to assist you.

    Thanks

    Leave a comment:


  • EXC
    replied
    Hiya

    I'm really pleased for you.

    While thats great news and means you are out of the woods, they should have written to people rather than rely on them logging into their accounts.

    I'd like to report this the FCA. Would you allow me to have a look at your account so I can screenshot it for them? If so please email me the client ID and password to nick@legalbeaglesgroup.com

    Thanks!

    Leave a comment:


  • Tidyboy22
    replied
    Hi. I have had a letter from Bank smart which I found when I logged into my bank smart account. Please see below. I would advice anyone who is still with bank-smart to do the same. I have removed my person details from the letter below.

    Can I just say a special thanks Exc for all the hard work you have put into this for everyone needing help with this awful company Bank-smart and thank you for helping me along the way.

    Please see below Bank-Smarts letter.



    Symmetric Systems Limited T/A Bank-Smart 7 Bell Yard
    London
    WC2A 2JR

    7 April 2023


    MR.

    Our Reference:

    Dear Mr.


    Your Bank-Smart account

    We are writing about your Bank-Smart account, Client ID BLANK, please use this reference in any contact.

    The status of your claim(s)

    You currently have claims recorded against your Bank-Smart account, which remain outstanding in some way. We have attached a summary of them to this letter which shows 3 are active claim(s) which remain unresolved.

    Why we're writing to you

    We will be stopping providing claims management activity from 13 April 2023, and we are required to write to all our customers who currently have ongoing active claims.

    You have ongoing active claims that we have listed overleaf along with any relevant details to allow you to continue to progress those claims with the lender(s) or through alternative means. Alternative means that may be available to you are also listed overleaf.

    To download a copy of your file please go to www.bank-smart.co.uk and enter Client ID BLANK and your usual password. If you have forgotten your password, or would prefer your file posted to you, please contact us so that we can post your file or email you a replacement password. Please note that you will only be able to download your file for 90 days from 13 April 2023.


    Unless we hear from you, we won't contact you about these claims again.


    Yours sincerely


    Claims Department

    Bank-Smart

    Leave a comment:


  • EXC
    replied
    Originally posted by Tidyboy22 View Post
    Oh brilliant, I shall wait for a bit to see if bank smart send me any correspondence with that in mind first and if nothing I shall then send them the response to chasing my complaint.

    Will let you know what happens

    Thanks
    As the Requirements state, you should receive something from them by today. If you log in to your online account you should see a series of links to all the documents for all of the claims but let me know on both.

    Leave a comment:


  • Tidyboy22
    replied
    Oh brilliant, I shall wait for a bit to see if bank smart send me any correspondence with that in mind first and if nothing I shall then send them the response to chasing my complaint.

    Will let you know what happens

    Thanks

    Leave a comment:


  • EXC
    replied
    Originally posted by Tidyboy22 View Post
    Hi exc
    just checking in to report it's been 9 weeks since I sent in my email of complaint to banksmart and had their reply on the 24th of January stating a 8 week wait for them to deal with my complaint.

    I haven't received anything since from them.

    Any advice please.
    Hiya

    Well in theory the new FCA requirements should address your complaint, ie Bank Smart have to cancel any outstanding claims and inform you of such by 13 April anyway.

    But just to be sure I would send a chasing email like the one below. Just include you client ID and name.

    Dear Sirs

    As you will be aware I made a formal complaint to you on 20 January. Although I received an acknowledgement from you on 24 January I have not received your final response which I should have received 8 weeks after the complaint was made.

    Unless I receive your final response in the next 7 days I will file the complaint with the Financial Ombudsman without further notice.

    Leave a comment:


  • Tidyboy22
    replied
    Hi exc
    just checking in to report it's been 9 weeks since I sent in my email of complaint to banksmart and had their reply on the 24th of January stating a 8 week wait for them to deal with my complaint.

    I haven't received anything since from them.

    Any advice please.

    Leave a comment:


  • EXC
    replied
    The FCA have imposed additional requirements on Bank Smart.

    Give me a shout if you have any questions.

    Requirements

    1.1 The Firm is to write to all customers who have an outstanding invoice by 13 April 2023, which is 30 calendar days from the Effective Date, notifying them that the invoice has been cancelled and is no longer payable.

    1.2 Any monies received by the Firm towards outstanding invoices on or after the Effective Date should be returned to source within 2 business days.

    1.3 For the purposes of Requirements 1.1 and 1.2, an outstanding invoice is an invoice for any sums which is not commission payable to the Firm as a result of a successful claim.

    1.4 For all claims which are in progress:

    a. by 13 April 2023 the Firm will notify customers and the parties to whom their claims were presented that it is to cease carrying on the relevant activities and comply fully with the notification requirements set out in CMCOB 6.3.3R; and

    b. by 13 April 2023 the Firm must send each customer all information and documentation the Firm holds relating to their claim(s).

    1.5 In the absence of a waiver or modification approved by the Authority, unallocated and/or unidentified client money must be paid to the relevant customers or returned to source by 13 April 2023.

    Effective Date

    2.1 The Requirements are to take effect on the date that the Firmís 30 day period to wind down its claims management activity begins under section 82 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Claims Management Activity) Order 2018.

    2.2 The Requirements will remain in place from the Effective Date until varied or cancelled by the Authority.

    Leave a comment:


  • EXC
    replied
    No probs.

    Leave a comment:


  • Tidyboy22
    replied
    Hear. I mean

    Leave a comment:

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