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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10247
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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I have an account with UK based fx broker. The broker

Customer Question

Dear Sir or Madam, I have an account with UK based fx broker. The broker introduced new and lower pricing in executing trade in Nov 2014 but me, as a customer from Indonesia was not informed of this change, was not transferred to the new pricing model and therefore traded with more expensive fees for about 1 year 4 months. The broker claimed that all Indonesian based client were transitioned only in March 2016, just after I made this complaint to the broker and therefore they did not have to do reimburse me the difference between old and new pricing. I checked on their Indonesian website and they had been offering lower spreads to Indonesian based customer as early as June 2015. I think that this is unfair to me as they could have transitioned my account that early and according to FCA guideline they should have acted to the best of their clients' interest as I am dependent on them to keep me to the latest pricing. The total amount disputed is about USD 7500 fees difference between old pricing and new pricing for trades done between Nov 2014 to March 2016.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  F E Smith replied 1 year ago.

If you took them to court, attending court in the United Kingdom be problematical for you? You would not recover the costs of the trip.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I would rather not go there if there is no chance of winning at all, but legally do I have a strong case against this broker? what law is relevant for this case? and if I have a chance of winning, can I get the fees difference refunded?. My case is reviewed by adjudicator from Financial Ombudsman but according to the adjudicator, since the broker published the new lower rates on their website they had acted fairly (I am challenging the adjudicator is it fair that they only publish rates but not update my account, still waiting for reply). Also, according to the adjudicator, the broker can take the time to roll out the new pricing and it was reasonable for the broker to do so as their customer base was large. I am challenging the adjudicator if it is fair to rollout the new pricing to me at least 9 months later compared to other Indonesian customer, how long would it take until it become unfair? 2 years? 10 years? still waiting for reply. I tried to look into small claims court but they need UK address which I do not have. Is there a way a UK lawyer can represent this case? and I can share part of the reimbursement for the lawyer I mean I don't know what is the proper practice?
Expert:  F E Smith replied 1 year ago.

You have a claim against the broker for breach of contract and varying the terms of the contract unreasonably without consent.

You would not recover the costs of travel to the UK and if you instructed solicitors to deal with the legal proceedings, that could easily be more than the $7500 which you are adrift.

I agree with you that I do not think it’s fair to simply publish rates on a website and expect people to read them on the off chance that they may have changed. I don’t think that’s an unreasonable challenge you are making.

I also disagree that it’s reasonable for the company to roll out the pricing over a period of time because they have a large database because with electronic communication, they could email everyone the same time.

You would indeed need a UK address but that could be a friend or relative or accountant or solicitor or anyone, just to receive post. They would however have to forward all the post on to you.

I think it unlikely that you would get a lawyer to deal with this on a no win no fee basis and if you did, as I said in my second paragraph above, the solicitors costs are likely to be more or at least not much different than the amount you are claiming.

Sometimes, a defendant will agree to settle if proceedings are issued but that comes down to the defendant.

It is the geographical distance which is the problem. If you are in the UK, it would certainly be worthwhile going for it. Because you are in Indonesia, that could well be why you have been treated how you have been because they know the problem that you would face enforcing this through the court.

Can I clarify anything for you?

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Best wishes.