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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10401
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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I have a legal question about a default notice placed on my

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I have a legal question about a default notice placed on my credit file by Natwest back in Feb2016 regarding an account I had opened with them.. I will give the main facts so it is easy to follow relating to an amount of £2,798
1. Account opened 2010 whilst I was married
2. Address changed by me when I moved out of my place in SL1 to HA8 in Aug2013 as I was going through a divorce - however I am unable to prove this as it was done over the phone and Natwest are unable to prove it as they don't have records that far back
3.Reminders and Defaults sent to address in SL1 so I had no idea my account was in arrears
4. Moorcroft group sent a soft search letter to me in March16 regarding the account, I immediately called them back and paid £1,500 and arranged to pay monthly installments to clear this off
5.Rang Natwest to explain the situation but they are not interested in taking the default off as they don't believe I changed the address even though they can't prove that... spoke to them on the phone explaining that I was going through a divorce and some accounts slipped my mind however they took that out of context and say that I said that on the phone so why did I state I "may" not have changed it, however what i meant was as I was going through a divorce there were lots of things going through my mind
6. Wrote 3 letters with no luck to them, eventually getting the financial obdussman service involved...
Sent Financial Obdussman service countless proof e.g copies of my emails where no reminders about account going into arrears were made, as well as screenshot of phone were no texts were sent and also a copy of my therapist report stating that I was going through depression back in 2013 due to my divorce
7. Natwest got the date wrong on the default and have since changed the date from Feb2016 to Nov2015
8. I have since paid off the whole amount e.g £2,798
9. Financial Obdussman service have favoured the bank and stated they are not in the wrong even though they are unable to provide any phone records from Aug2013 when i changed it, they have also told the Financial Obdusman service that back in 2013 a customer was unable to change an account over the phone.. I have since rang Natwest up out of the blue to confirm this and a representative has told me that our policy hasn't changed and a customer has always been able to change their address on the phone as long as they have a 10 digit reference number which I do or provide any other details of their account
I need to understand where I stand legally and what else I can do to get this default of my credit file as its causing me really big problems.

So, in essence, you changed your address and advised them over the phone but there is no record for that which either you or they have. They sent default notices and reminders to the old address and you didn’t get them and hence, there is now a default registered against you.

You want it removed.

Is that the essence of it?

Do you accept that the account was in default? Did you know it was in default?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
that is correct the reminders and default went to my old address hence why I had no recollection of it... I want this default removed as as soon as I got wind of it I immediately started to rectify the balance. I had no idea the account was in default until a letter from Moorcroft group (debt collection) was sent to my new address asking me to call themI can accept the account was in default however to note If I knew the account was in default e.g if they had called, texted, emailed rather than just writing letters I would never have let it get to the stage of a default being placed on my credit file. I feel like I wasn't given the time to sort it out before that occurred

You have tried reasoning with the bank to no avail and the next course of action, Financial Ombudsman Service has failed. You can appeal the Financial Ombudsman decision but assuming that also fails, your only recourse is through the court. It would be worthwhile appealing the Financial Ombudsman decision if you can get something in writing which contradicts the statement they made that it was impossible to change an address on the telephone in 2013 and that it’s always been possible.

You would have to prove on the balance of probabilities that you did advise the bank of the change of address. This is what problematical for you. The onus is on you to prove that you change the address not on them to prove that you didn’t.

What doesn’t help you is a statement that you’ve made and which they may have a record of, “I was going through a divorce and some accounts slip my mind”. If they were to raise that issue in court because they have a record of it, that would be enough to tip the balance in their favour. I appreciate that you may not have meant accounts but meant other things but if that’s what you said they have a record of it, that could be fatal to any court claim. The statement about a change of address not being possible over the telephone in 2013 and any contradictory evidence you may be able to get would assist you in court in the same way it may assist with a Financial Ombudsman appeal.

Court is the last resort if everything else fails. I think you have 50-50 chance of winning.

Can I clarify anything for you?

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Best wishes.


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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Someone told me to write a letter to the CEO of Natwest appealing to him what happened.. what do you suggest re that? and if I did take NatWest to court how do I go about doing that as I am not wanting to claim compensation I just simply want them to take the default off

A letter addressed to the chief executive, personally by name is ***** ***** bad idea. It should go as an appeal rather than a complaint. It can’t do any harm.

Your application to court before an injunction making NatWest remove the entry. You have to warn them that if they do not remove this entry, you will be making the application to court. Do remember that if you are not successful, you will have to pay the banks legal costs which could run into several thousand pounds.