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Just When You Thought They Couldn’t Get Any Lower PDF Print E-mail

Do you have an outstanding PPI claim with FirstPlus?

Have you been informed that they have put your claim on hold pending the PPI judicial review?

Are you due a 5 year PPI cashback?

A member of FPC has today (12/01/2010) brought to our notice a new and, in our opinion, a quite disgraceful tactic being employed by FirstPlus to not only delay PPI claims, but to get customers to drop their claims by effectively applying a process which is tantamount to blackmail.

You will all be aware of the infamous ‘cashback’ promise that FirstPlus used to snare you into purchasing the dreaded PPI on top of your loan.

This promised that if you did not make a claim then you would receive a full refund of the premium after 60 months, providing that you met all the requirements.

The member submitted a PPI mis-sell claim some 3 months ago and is still awaiting resolution. FirstPlus has now informed them that a final response cannot be provided due to ongoing legal proceedings between BBA, FSA and FOS. This is the judicial review.

The member is due their ‘cashback’ at the start of February and has enquired as to how to claim it. FirstPlus has said they will provide the relevant form so the cashback can be claimed but are now informing customers that they must ALSO write to FirstPlus confirming that they want to withdraw their PPI missell complaint as part of the cashback claim process

The ‘cashback’ offer is included in the Terms and Conditions of the loans agreement and is therefore a CONTRACTUAL obligation where

customers qualify. First Plus are obligated to comply with that

agreement.

This latest tactic by FirstPlus is quite despicable and is, in our view, deliberately exploiting customers’ fears, uncertainty and lack of understanding of the financial processes, procedures and contractual obligations of FirstPlus.

So if you have been asked to withdraw your PPI claim as a condition of qualifying for your ‘cashback’ then you MUST challenge FirstPlus on the legitimacy of their request.

Don’t give in to despicable blackmail.

 

We knew that FirstPlus had sunk low but we didn’t realise they would go slow as to have to jump to touch a snakes belly.

 

Remember: Professional Legal advice should always be sought where necessary.

 
Another Low For Firstplus PDF Print E-mail

Have you sent a Subject Access Request to FIRSTPLUS? Only to have them use some lame excuse to not provide copies of telephone calls?


Here is an example response from FIRSTPLUS...


With regards to your request for recordings of telephone calls, we are unable to provide these on the basis that the call recordings are not stored in a relevant filing system for the purpose of section 1 of the Act. Call recordings made before December 2005 are not stored electronically but in manual form and are not structured by reference to individuals or criteria relating to individuals in such a way that specific calls are readily accessible. This does not therefore constitute a "relevant filing system “for the purposes of the Act.

The case of Durant v Financial Services Authority (2004 EWCA Civ 1756)held that such manual filing systems will only constitute a "relevant filing system" where they are broadly equivalent to computerised system in giving ready accessibility to relevant information capable of being personal data. This is clearly not the case for our old call recording system and therefore we are not at liberty to retrieve the information you requested.

Please also note that we are under no duty to provide you with information relating to our business. Such information is sensitive in nature and therefore it is our policy that requests for this will not be fulfilled.

We are confident that we have fully discharged our obligations under the Data Protection Act 1998(the Act) in providing you the information which was enclosed with our letters.

We trust that our position is clear. As we are unable to provide any further information, we will not be in a position to comply with any further requests.


Personally speaking as a pre - 2005 customer, FIRSTPLUS have no problem whatsoever locating our calls, and they did so provide these calls in electronic format.  Contrary to what they are claiming now to other customer requesting access to this data.

We can only assume that FIRSTPLUS are refusing to provide this data, not out of lack of finding it, but more as a prevention of you claiming Mis-Sold PPI.  FIRSTPLUS may try to discredit you by later finding the calls and then using the information held within these calls to counter-argue your reasons for mis-selling.  Should this happen, your complaint to the ombudsmen may be dismissed.

Therefore, should FIRSTPLUS use this method to prevent access to information that is a justified request under the Data Protection Act of 1998 and amendments, it is also a Justified Request under European Data Protection Law,  Simply respond with.

"as you are unable to supply the requested information, we therefore hold that the information contained within the requested calls are inadmissible and can therefore not be relied upon by FIRSTPLUS and its Associates in the event of legal or other claims against FIRSTPLUS pertaining to the content of the calls."

".....we therefore submit that had the call information been available, it would prove that FIRSTPLUS mis-sold the Single Premium Payment Protection Policy that was attached to Loan Number *********, the calls would have proven lack of disclosure to the commission received by FIRSTPLUS for the sale of the Single Premium Payment Protection Policy, they would also have shown that FIRSTPLUS failed in its duties to provide clear and concise information that would allow us to make an informed decision.  Finally the calls would prove that FIRSTPLUS failed to inform us that alternative insurance was available, that would not only have cost considerably less, it would have offered real protection that would have lasted the term of the loan and not for Five Years"

"...On the basis of the information above, we request that you return the premiums paid to date plus simple interest and that you return the loan to a position had the Upfront Single Premium Payment Protection not been added to our loan"

I would remind ALL FIRSTPLUS customers that the Ombudsmen is upholding 99% of the complaints in favour of you the customer.  If you feel that FIRSTPLUS is giving you the run-around then join the forum and let us know.  We have access to information and legal resources that will help champion your claim.

You don’t need to do this alone.  We can help.

(as a point of note the case to which Firstplus refer to in its letters is incorrect.  The correct citation is [2003] EWCA Civ 1746, while this case does set precedence, the context in which FIRSTPLUS are using this to avoid compliance is challengable) to view the complete judgement : http://www.hmcourts-service.gov.uk/judgmentsfiles/j2136/durant-v-fsa.htm

 

 
The Super Complaint PDF Print E-mail

For the past 6 months with the help of legal and compliance experts and some great wordsmiths here at the FPC Site, we have put together and submittted a Super Complaint as a consumer group, directly to the Office Of Fair Trading, to highlight the issues with the interest rate variations and the contract terms relating to the interest rates, whereby under the current terms it allows for Firstplus to change interest rates for whatever reasons it wants and in most cases when it wants.

Most of you will remember in previous rate increases, you would have received a letter that stated "Due to Increases in the Bank of England Base Rates" to justify increasing your rates, however since the the start of the Credit Crunch Firstplus have distanced itself away from any link to Financial Base Rates and continues to apply usury rates on to its customers.  Firstplus state the reasons as Competiiveness or Underlying Costs, However Firstplus are no longer in the Loan Market place, Firstplus themselves have borrowed from its Parent Company Barclays Bank bringing down its costs by 4.5%, and it has shed the majority of its workforce.

We therefore see nothing competitive or any increase in underlying costs..

We have requested that the OFT take action and we are fighting now for retrospective rates to be applied and subsequent overpayments to be refunded to all customers, we are also asking for the contract terms to be re-written with respect to how it can vary interest rates.

We will continue to lobby the government, media and regulators to take action against Firstplus.. We are confident that we will prevail, however we still need your help.  Contact your MP, Complain to Firstplus and the Regulators.  If you have PPI then ask for all the payments back.. We can help you get back what is yours.  The Financial Ombudsmen is Upholdding 99% of the PPI complaints against Firstplus.. Just Think you could be Thousands Better off and your monthly payments will be reduced.  Even if you have claimed the Cashback after 5 years, its still possible to have your loan reduced and payments refunded.

Finally the issue of settlement figures.  Firstplus continue to use the Rule of 78 when Calculating Settlement Figures, so if you have had your loan for less than 7 years, it is likely that despite everything you have paid to date, you will still owe more than what you originally borrowed.  The Rule Of 78 has been outlawed across the world and was advised to not be used under the OFT Guidlines on Secured Lending.  We found this calculation to be inaccurate and unfair to consumers, this view is echoed with all the financial regulators.

We are therefore requesting that this also be allowed for a claim retrospectively.

The Members and Operators At Firstplus Complaints Will continue to push these issues all the way to the end.  Join us, we can help.

 
How Low Will They Go PDF Print E-mail

Several Firstplus Customers upon calling Firstplus to query the reasoning behind this latest interest rate increase, are allegedly being told from FIRSTPLUS Staff that Permission to increase rates was given and approved by the Financial Services Authority.  We found this statement to be odd, I contacted the FSA Consumer Helpline and then the FSA central office at Canary Wharf who categorically denied any involvement in any decision relating to interest rate increases, FIRSTPLUS did not seek permission from the FSA, nor would the FSA give such permissions.

If these claims are to be true, one has to ask who is responsible for these lies.

This is just a sample of what we have been hearing and reading in Firstplus correspondence to its Customers.

Another new tactic is to deny that telephone calls exist prior to 2005 and are on a system that can not be located.  As a Pre 2005 customer I and several other members can refute this statement as we had easy access to our call history and copies of the calls were sent in the same format as those calls post 2005.  We advise lodging a complaint with the Information Commissioners Office, myself and other members in the forum will be happy to sign a statement and provide evidence that refutes Firstplus Claims.  We have requested under several complaints to the ICO that action be taken against the Firstplus Data Protection Officer, we would encourage ALL customers to put forward complaints to as many regulators as possible.  Should you not know how, or are not sure what to say then we can create letters and supply you with the contact details of all the regulatory bodies to whom you can complain.

We have again requested that the Office Of Fair Trading review and rule on the Terms & Conditions of the Firstplus loan contracts, several industry compliance experts and legal professionals have come forward in support and they are all in agreement that the terms and conditions breach regulation.  We will continue to press on with this Super Complaint and are rallying more consumer groups to champion our cause.

Contact your MP, Contact the Press, we have contact details of all the major press and media outlets.. Together we will fight this to the end.

 
Barclays Shamed as Most Complained About Bank PDF Print E-mail

The FOS have today named and shamed the worst offenders that customers have complained about, and as we previously reported it has been confirmed that Barclays were at the top of the list out of the Top 5 High Street banks.  It was also noted that 99% of Firstplus complaints made to the Ombudsmen were upheld.

What is clear here, Barclays and Firstplus are not listening to their customers, and clearly not treating customer complaints fairly.

Now with the recent rise in Insterest Rates levied onto Firstplus customers, the deludge of complaints will only increase, if this websites traffic is anything to go by.  Some 208,000 page views a week and hundreds of new registered members have joined in the fight against Barclays Firstplus.  We have power in numbers, we will continue to pressure the regulators and the government to take action against Barclays Firstplus.  We will continue to put pressure on the Media to expose the business practices of Barclays Firstplus.  We will continue to fight to have the unfair contract terms removed and to have the interest rates applied fairly and retrospectively.

 

99% of Complaints Upheld against FIRSTPLUS

 

 
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