Abbey’s non-refundable fees policy is unfair to clients

From J Light

I am writing to warn other brokers about a situation we recently had with Abbey so they can help their clients avoid suffering a similar fate.

We applied online for a fixed rate product on April 25. The client elected to pay the 599 arrangement fee by debit card. The client contacted us on April 28 confirming she had changed her mind and wished to go for the two-year tracker product instead. We phoned Abbey which required us to fax this to it. We faxed it the same day and then were told on May 2 that we needed to include the product code (which strangely it could not provide us with, but that’s another story).

We duly faxed over the product code and confirmed that despite the arrangement fee rising to 699 the client would rather pay it upfront than add it to the loan.

The client called us on May 30 to let us know she was concerned that two payments had been made from her card to Abbey. We assured her that we would get Abbey to rectify the mistake and refund the incorrect amount taken from her card. On contacting Abbey we were told that this was not a mistake and that two non-refundable booking fees had been taken – one for the fixed rate and one for the tracker.

At no time did Abbey point out either to us or to the client that both fees would be taken regardless. We are aware of non-refundable booking fees but the client simply changed her mind and wanted to switch to a different deal in the early stages of the application process.

Abbey retained a nice 220,000 mortgage which has now completed. It’s not as if the client booked the deal and then decided to go to another lender. We understand that in this situation the fee is definitely non-refundable.

The other thing we find astonishing is that had the client had elected to add the fee to the loan she would have been ripped off by Abbey to the tune of 599.

We have written to Abbey for Intermediaries in Fareham and it has confirmed that no refund will be made.

Is this any way to treat your customers Abbey, and also the intermediaries who feed you so much of your business? We think it is a disgrace to treat customers in this way and will encourage the client to take this case to the Financial Services Authority and the Financial Ombudsman Service.

J Light Mortgage & Insurance Solutions

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