Endowment complaint stonewalled by Halifax - serious advice needed


S

Sparky

I'm completely stumped as to what to do next, and very annoyed by these
shenanigans, so perhaps someone can suggest where I should go from here?

Last year I began an endowment mis-selling complaint against Sun Alliance in
relation to the low-cost endowment policy I took out in May 1987 to purchase
our first (and current) house for £28,300 in Newport, S.Wales.

Sun Alliance stated that they did not sell me the policy, an employee of
Hartnell Taylor Cook (the estate agent at the time) did. The partnership
secretary of the only bit of HTC I could still find, in Bristol,
subsequently wrote and told me that the assets and liabilities of HTC
Financial Services had been sold many years ago to the Halifax PLC.

So I then made a mis-selling complaint to the Halifax, who replied stating
that they had previously sold their shares in HTC Financial Services, and
that with that sale went their legal obligations and liabilities. They then
went on to consider my mis-selling complaint as a "matter of goodwill", and
to dismiss my complaint out of hand, basically because they have no
paperwork relating to the policy sale. They finished their reply by adding
that as they had considered the complaint on a goodwill basis, the Financial
Ombudsman Service might decline to consider the case.

My first thoughts were that if Halifax had sold the HTC shares and weren't
now responsible, I ought to find out who was now responsible and complain to
them, and this is where things get sticky. Halifax refuse to tell me who
they sold the shares to, and a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service
produced the reply that this was a matter that "... does not appear to be
one we would deal with."

The Financial Ombudsman Service also confirmed that Halifax' statement
regarding them declining complaints considered on a goodwill basis was also
true.

At this stage I cannot see the point of writing a line by line rebuttal of
HTC's dismissal if they aren't actually responsible. I feel it would be like
complaining about my postman to the previous owner of my house.

So - Halifax say they aren't responsible as they have sold the HTC shares,
but they won't tell me who *IS* now responsible. Meanwhile the toothless
wonders at the FOS stand idly by and look the other way.

I do have some evidence to support my mis-selling claim (which is a *LOT*
more than Halifax has), as I have a Sun Alliance pamphlet given me at the
time with all the extravagent claims of the late 80's on it, hand annotated
by the advisor who actually sold me the policy. However, I seem to be in
this catch-22 position where I am not being given a fair hearing.

If there is anyone in a similar position who has managed to break the log
jam, or can offer some sensible advice as to what I might be able to do
next, I would greatly appreciate it.

Sparky
 
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M

Matthew Church

Sparky said:
I'm completely stumped as to what to do next, and very annoyed by these
shenanigans, so perhaps someone can suggest where I should go from here?

Last year I began an endowment mis-selling complaint against Sun Alliance in
relation to the low-cost endowment policy I took out in May 1987 to purchase
our first (and current) house for £28,300 in Newport, S.Wales.

Sun Alliance stated that they did not sell me the policy, an employee of
Hartnell Taylor Cook (the estate agent at the time) did. The partnership
secretary of the only bit of HTC I could still find, in Bristol,
subsequently wrote and told me that the assets and liabilities of HTC
Financial Services had been sold many years ago to the Halifax PLC.

So I then made a mis-selling complaint to the Halifax, who replied stating
that they had previously sold their shares in HTC Financial Services, and
that with that sale went their legal obligations and liabilities. They then
went on to consider my mis-selling complaint as a "matter of goodwill", and
to dismiss my complaint out of hand, basically because they have no
paperwork relating to the policy sale. They finished their reply by adding
that as they had considered the complaint on a goodwill basis, the Financial
Ombudsman Service might decline to consider the case.

My first thoughts were that if Halifax had sold the HTC shares and weren't
now responsible, I ought to find out who was now responsible and complain to
them, and this is where things get sticky. Halifax refuse to tell me who
they sold the shares to, and a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service
produced the reply that this was a matter that "... does not appear to be
one we would deal with."

The Financial Ombudsman Service also confirmed that Halifax' statement
regarding them declining complaints considered on a goodwill basis was also
true.

At this stage I cannot see the point of writing a line by line rebuttal of
HTC's dismissal if they aren't actually responsible. I feel it would be like
complaining about my postman to the previous owner of my house.

So - Halifax say they aren't responsible as they have sold the HTC shares,
but they won't tell me who *IS* now responsible. Meanwhile the toothless
wonders at the FOS stand idly by and look the other way.

I do have some evidence to support my mis-selling claim (which is a *LOT*
more than Halifax has), as I have a Sun Alliance pamphlet given me at the
time with all the extravagent claims of the late 80's on it, hand annotated
by the advisor who actually sold me the policy. However, I seem to be in
this catch-22 position where I am not being given a fair hearing.

If there is anyone in a similar position who has managed to break the log
jam, or can offer some sensible advice as to what I might be able to do
next, I would greatly appreciate it.

Sparky
It doesn't sound very hopeful does it! Presumably when you talk about
"shares" you mean HTC Financial Services *Ltd*, in which case throw a couple
of quid at the Reg Cos to see if the company is still around (exceedingly
unlikely).

Otherwise forget it, you lost a couple of thousand on this mis-selling but
the net result has been a house that has doubled and re-doubled in value.
 
T

Tim

It doesn't sound very hopeful does it! Presumably when
you talk about "shares" you mean HTC Financial Services
*Ltd*, in which case throw a couple of quid at the Reg Cos
to see if the company is still around (exceedingly unlikely).

Otherwise forget it, ...
Why not try the FSA to see if HTC are still authorised?

If they are no longer authorised, then make the complaint to FSA who could
review it & then pass it to FSCS for compensation...
 
J

Jonathan Bryce

Matthew said:
It doesn't sound very hopeful does it! Presumably when you talk about
"shares" you mean HTC Financial Services *Ltd*, in which case throw a
couple of quid at the Reg Cos to see if the company is still around
(exceedingly unlikely).
It was dissolved on 22nd October 2002. The last filed accounts were to 31st
December 2000.
 
S

Sparky

Jonathan Bryce said:
It was dissolved on 22nd October 2002. The last filed accounts were to 31st
December 2000.
Wow! How did you find that out so quick?

The FSA had told me over the phone a while back that HTC Financial Services
Ltd ceased to be authorised by them on 17 Jan1997. I wasn't sure then
exactly what to make of that particular piece of information. The fact that
the company continued to exist for another five years must mean something,
but I'm not sure what!

Does it mean that Halifax were lying to me when they wrote in August of last
year, "Since you were sold this policy, the Halifax has sold it's shares in
HTC and with this sale went our legal obligations and liabilities for this
company."

If they never "sold" HTC Financial Services, does this also mean that they
are still well and truly responsible??
 
S

Sparky

It doesn't sound very hopeful does it! Presumably when you talk about
"shares" you mean HTC Financial Services *Ltd*, in which case throw a couple
of quid at the Reg Cos to see if the company is still around (exceedingly
unlikely).
The replies I have received so far from the Halifax use the term "shares",
so I assume, since they are a Financial Instituition, that they know what
they mean.
Otherwise forget it, you lost a couple of thousand on this mis-selling but
the net result has been a house that has doubled and re-doubled in value.
Because I hate to see someone profit from making misleading claims simply
because there's a fat commission in it for them, and for them to then stick
two fingers up at their customers and hide behind their rules and
regulations. Especially when that customer is me!

I don't intend to let them off the hook without a bloody good fight!
 
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J

John Bishop

Sparky said:
The replies I have received so far from the Halifax use the term "shares",
so I assume, since they are a Financial Instituition, that they know what
they mean.
value.

Because I hate to see someone profit from making misleading claims simply
because there's a fat commission in it for them, and for them to then stick
two fingers up at their customers and hide behind their rules and
regulations. Especially when that customer is me!

I don't intend to let them off the hook without a bloody good fight!
I have never done one of these, but know a bit about companies and their
ownership. If Halifax owned the shares, then they had a liability. If they
subsequently sold the company, and the deal specifically included a transfer
of liabilties, then that to me is a clear statement from the Halifax that
they acknowledged the company had liabilities. I would suggest you take
legal advice and write to the compliance officer at the Halifax stating they
must either be responsible, or advise you of the company that now is. They
can't just duck out of it and say we can't tell you. Also, you may be able
to track the sale through their annual accounts, if you do a bit of digging.
Find out from them when they sold it, and get the accounts for that year,
they could be on the web.

John
 
J

john boyle

John Bishop said:
I have never done one of these, but know a bit about companies and their
ownership. If Halifax owned the shares, then they had a liability.
How can the shareholder be liable? Only the Company is liable.
 
J

John Bishop

john boyle said:
How can the shareholder be liable? Only the Company is liable.
A shareholder is an owner. If Halifax owned the majority of the shares, then
they owned the company.
 
T

Tim

John Bishop wrote
"John Bishop" wrote
A shareholder is an owner. If Halifax owned the
majority of the shares, then they owned the company.
Of course - but it was a **limited liability** company, hence the owners are
only liable up to the nominal value of their shares!
 
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J

John Bishop

Tim said:
Of course - but it was a **limited liability** company, hence the owners are
only liable up to the nominal value of their shares!
Sometimes you end up with a dead end, but it's always good to check where
the liability went. Maybe someone else took over the liabilities under a
different company? cost nothing to find out
 

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