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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71129
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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In 2003 I opened a bus.account with NatWest bank in.

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In 2003 I opened a bus.account with NatWest bank in Bournemouth. I was not the a/c holder , my son and an.other were I transacted all the business and with their authorisation signed the cheques. A few months later my dear wife passed away. As a result I was in so much grief I let the business dwindle and we ended up in debt to the bank for about 25,000 pounds. I had a moral obligation to my son to pay this debt but I had no money, I paid some money because both the bank and their solicitors harassed me from 2004 till last year 2013. I constantly informed them I was not a signatory but it fell on deaf ears. Finally in December 2013 they admitted they were wrong I have all the correspondence They refunded all the monies I had paid them £1770 .00 together with a derisory cheque for £200.00 which they called compensation. Throughout these last 7 years due to the stress of all this and my son's resentment I have been quite unwell. I have a doctor's report to hand. I feel very strongly that the bank should compensate me comnensurate to the stress I have suffered all this time . I cannot pay a solicitor to act for me . I am on benefits now. Could I claim legal aid. in order to deal with the bank.Can you please advise me as to what I should do. Thank you. Joseph xxxxx


Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

Ignoring a moral obligation to your sons, if you were not the account holder on what basis did the bank pursue you for the money?

Did the bank pursue you as an individual?

When did they send you the cheque for £200? Have you cashed it?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi Jo, In their letter dated 30th Dec.2013, they write "Having considered all the information , I agree with your complaint about you being pursued for the outstanding debt balance incorrectly when you were only a signatory to the account and therefore are not liable for the outstanding debt balance"


Yes they pursued me as an individual.. Cheque for £200.00 enclosed in above dated letter Yes I paid the cheque into my account.

Thanks Joseph xxxxxx

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I have replied to your questions .


Sorry for the delay.

Thank you.

Assuming that you do not want to risk taking them to court and spending money on court costs, you can actually get the same or a better result free of cost and free of risk by making a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman.

There is no doubt about it that the bank were wrong to do this from the start and now they have admitted that.

Write back to them and thank them for their contribution towards compensation in respect of stress and inconvenience and that you look forward to receiving the balance of a reasonable sum by return failing which you will refer the matter to the Financial Ombudsman without further notice.

Here is the link to the Financial Ombudsman service

The Financial Ombudsman has the power to make the bank give you a reasonable amount of compensation and although the service is not particularly fast, it is free of risk.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Jo C. and 2 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Dear Jo, I have been with the Financial Ombudsman who informed me that because I wasnt the account holder with the bank they cannot assist me with this case. So what do I do next ???

Joseph Shear

In that case, you have no option but to sue the bank in the Small Claims Court although you cannot use the online system because it is not a fixed sum of money.

The amount of compensation will be decided by the judge

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you Jo C I think I will send them one more letter then proceed via the Small Claims Court. By the way what is the cost via Small Claims Court ? Joseph Shear

The court cost varies depending on the amount of the claim.

You will find the court costs by following this link.

For a claim of up to £2000, you will see on page 3 that the cost is £95.

There are other costs on the following pages for allocation and hearing.

If you win, you will get costs awarded against the bank in your favour.

If you brought to attention of the solicitors acting for the bank that you were not a customer of the bank and therefore they should not bring any claim against you and that they ignored your correspondence, I think you could make a complaint to the Solicitors Regulation Authority also for the conduct of the firm