I recently produced a piece detailing my concerns with the BBRS (Business Banking Resolution Service). Those concerns were founded on fact and evidence, and demonstrated that the BBRS is far from what UK Business customers were promised.
Indeed, the promise and Mission statement was:
The BBRS is a dispute resolution service set up to resolve disputes between banks and their small and medium sized business customers. The organisation is being established in accordance with a voluntary commitment made by the banking and finance industry in response to the Simon Walker Review (2018) on the small business complaints landscape.
The independent Walker Review consisted of an evidence-based, comprehensive analysis of the scale and complexity of banking complaints from SMEs. It identified the need for better monitoring, information and dialogue to help rebuild the relationship between banks and SMEs.
The BBRS is taking steps towards operational readiness this autumn and is currently transitioning to go live following the completion of participating bank governance processes. The design of the BBRS has been developed and agreed by the Implementation Steering Group with representatives of SMEs and banks involved in equal measure.
In anticipation of launching the full service, the BBRS is now setting up an independent and transparent advisory council comprising representatives of the SME sector and relevant bodies.
Let’s look at that and compare it to the reality that I highlighted in my previous article. ( http://jupiter87.com/2020/10/bbrs-the-newest-link-in-the-conflicted-chain )
And then compare it to events of this week, that give me further, and greater, cause for concern.
The above Mission statement acknowledges the need for ‘BETTER’ than that which already exists. BETTER monitoring, BETTER information and BETTER dialogue.
That which already exists, is the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). There would be no need for any new vehicle or body in the first instance, but for the abject failings, and yes, dishonesty that is evident from top to bottom within The FOS.
Yesterday the BBRS issued a Press Release announcing multiple new hires, including the hire of ‘experienced case assessors’.
Three of the four hired are long serving employees of……. The Financial Ombudsman Service. The BBRS Press Release (https://thebbrs.org/news-updates/) boasts of their substantial years of service as if some kind of virtue or qualification in respect to the roles they are going to fill.
Whereas, the reality is that these hires are ‘infected’ by the ways and failings of The FOS. They are ‘institutionalised’ and entirely accepting of the very failings and dishonesty that so infests that organisation.
So much wrongdoing or criminality from LIBOR to FX to PPI to Insolvency fraud, GRG to BSU is, or was, ‘justified’ by the mantra ‘That’s the way we have always done it, therefore it must be acceptable.’
I find that mantra wholly offensive, and it certainly does not excuse it or make it legal.
Indeed, my associates and I see the evidence of it in all of the work we do on major cases. There is always the point at which the person/s and firms involved ‘self justify’ their behaviour and conduct.
This is, evidentially, also the case within the corridors of The FCA and The FOS, UK Finance (and the BBA before it).
The BBRS Press Release names Ashley More as one of these hires from The FOS. Others have already raised concerns with the other hires, but Ms More is a person that I have personally dealt with on a complaint, and can vouch for her inadequacy.
In fact, I will go on the record here and now, and state that her decision and her actions were so inconceivable that I do not necessarily believe that they were not dishonest.
I will further add that it is clear that they were made as much to protect the adjudicator and Ombudsmen before here that had produced wholly incorrect, and knowingly false representations, so as to deny the complaint, as it was to protect the firm in question from liability.
I cannot publish the evidence here that prove these statements as it is part of a claim being brought against Black Horse and The FOS jointly in respect to another case, and to which this case and evidence is a part of. However, if the statements are formally challenged I will gladly do so.
There are key ‘practises’ that The FOS use to ‘engineer’ outcomes, and Ms More was guilty of both in this case.
The first is; Misinterpret the grounds of the complaint so that you can produce a denial to this deliberate misunderstanding of the complaint. A complaint that the consumer never actually made.
The second, and even more disturbing and dishonest, is; ‘Cherry pick’ the evidence that is deemed to be relevant to the complaint. A ‘relevance’ determination that is made entirely by The FOS employee.
The ONLY way for complaints to be properly reviewed is for ALL evidence to be reviewed. PERIOD.
I have 30+ years experience working on the trading floors of many of the world’s largest banks and six years working on substantial lawsuits for law firms globally. I know that you cannot rely upon evidence that has been ‘selected’ for disclosure by the defendants, and you cannot make preconceptions yourself as to what evidence you want to view.
You must view all of the evidence and let that evidence shape the picture and the outcome.
Ms More deliberately misinterpreted the complaint, and then ignored the vital evidence that I obtained and provided to prove the complaint that I had made.
Her complaint outcome that I refer to can be found here: https://www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk/files/50135/DRN1546507.pdf
Now, consider what my complaint actually was:
- Black Horse allowed the car dealer, who was acting entirely as broker, to set the APR on this finance agreement.
2. Black Horse allowed the car dealer to set the APR subject to a ‘whatever they could get away with basis’ as opposed to the ‘subject to status (credit score etc)’ basis upon which it was advertised.
3. Back Horse incentivised the car dealer to set the APR as high as possible by way of a commission structure that paid higher commissions to the car dealer, the higher the APR that the car dealer set.
4. Mrs B was a trusting pensioner and accepted that when the car dealer told her that this “was the best APR we could get from multiple lenders”, she accepted that this was true and signed the agreement on that basis. However, the evidence provided proves that this statement was not true. The car dealer concealed an offer at lower APR from Ford Credit, and the car dealer could have applied any APR on the Black Horse agreement, down to as low as 5%. This being the lowest APR within the 5%-15% APR bands that Black Horse allowed car dealers to apply to any agreement.
How does Ms More believe that her ‘decision’ is an outcome in response to that complaint?
She persistently refers to Black Horse setting the APR, and their right to set APR based on certain factors. THEY DID NOT SET THE APR. THE CAR DEALER DID.
She refers to Mrs B signing the agreement as an acceptance and forgiving of the lender and car dealer. She signed it due to the false representations of the car dealer and lender, and that can never be forgiven or ignored.
She refers to the element of the complaint whereby the APR wasn’t determined by status, but then ignores the issue and fails to address how her APR could have been 14.6% instead of as low as 5% that her credit score and status would have deserved.
Ms More then defends this by making the incredible statement that the business is entitled to apply APR on the basis of “commercial considerations for businesses and at their discretion”. This is false when the finance agreement is being sold on a ‘subject to status’ basis.
Indeed, even Black Horse confirmed in their final response letter to Mrs B that “We can confirm that your APR was determined by the credit score obtained from Experian.” No, it wasn’t, and the audio recording with Black Horse proves that only Black Horse have access to the credit score information for the customer, and they never share this with the car dealer, acting as broker, because data laws do not permit it.
How therefore can Mrs B’s APR have been determined by her credit score, when the party that applied the APR to her finance agreement, the car dealer, is never provided with any information as to her (or any other customer’s) credit score and status?
I went ‘undercover’ so to speak, and called Black Horse posing as someone setting up a used car business and seeking finance providers. I recorded the call. I had scripted myself several questions that I needed to ask so as to prove each and every allegation within the complaint, and expose every position and argument by The FOS as incorrect and/or knowingly false.
The Black Horse sales person was only too happy to spill the beans and explain how they operated with all of their car dealers.
The audio recording proves everything.
Ms More went to extraordinary lengths not to reference this audio recording or explain to me why this did not prove the allegations.
Multiple attempts by me to have her and The FOS explain why this audio recording did not prove the complaint, saw her and The FOS claim that they did not have to a) confirm to me that they had listened to this audio recording, b) did not have to justify their actions and c) did not have to explain to anyone how they had interpreted certain evidence.
I have noticed this morning on various social media, other concerns over these appointments.
Like banks persuading customers that the best solution for them to escape from the damages of a toxic IRHP, was to….. buy another toxic IRHP, expecting the public to believe that the solution to the failings of the past and of The FOS, is to create another FOS, populated by former FOS employees, is as insulting to our intelligence as it is disingenuous and dishonest.
BBRS is not the solution that the public were promised it would be. Like establishing ‘UKFinance’ to escape the name and dishonest past of the BBA, calling this the BBRS is simply a lipstick veneer, and a pig in lipstick is still a pig.
BBRS = FOS 2.0
I provided a copy of this article to the BBRS, UK Finance and Caroline Wayman, CEO of The FOS, for comment and/or to challenge the accuracy of the content before my proposed publication of it after 5.30pm. All parties chose not to challenge any of the content.