Santander fabricating complaints and false recording calls

Santander complaints staff are making false accounts of customer calls which escalate to a formal complaint, just in case the complaint is referred to the financial ombudsman.

Here's what santander claim was discussed;

* You were unhappy with bank charges incurred
* You stated that you had informed us not to let any direct debit to process if funds weren't available in your account
* You were unhappy that santander had paid a direct debit which caused you to go overdrawn and incur further fees
* You feel that by doing this, santander have acted illegally and fraudulently.

Some details missing so far, here's santander's reply;

What we have done to fix the issue.

- As discussed, customers have a responsibility to manage their account and ensure funds are available when bills are due

* What was actually asked was why santander had failed to operate the account to the customer's instruction (15 months earlier), whereby santander were told NOT to pay any direct debit or standing order, if no funds were available in the account?
Santander staff replied that "our system cannot follow this instruction, it is not possible"

Santander staff looked back to previous charges applied to the account, over a year earlier, could find no record of the customer's instruction not to pay direct debits if no funds in the account! (So now there is evidence that santander staff are not recording calls accurately, which is an offence under the Data Protection Act)
* So how can the customer manage their account if santander are ignoring the customer's express wishes?
No answer from santander staff.
* Why then did santander have two charges, one for "non payment of direct debit when no funds were in account" and another for "paying a direct debit when no funds were in account"?
Santander staff claimed that "this was because the system will pay some direct debits and not others. For example, if a direct debit comes in for £800 and no funds are in the account then the system won't pay it."
* So what is the cut off limit for paying direct debits, ie, how much does the direct debit have to be before it becomes a non payment of a direct debit charge?
Santander staff "Don't know"

I then pointed out, that the santander "system" is set up to manipulate bank accounts to extract maximum profit in charges.
Instead of the "non payment of a direct debit due to no funds in the account" charge, santander had instead paid a direct debit, resulting in a charge, taken the account into "unauthorised overdraft" incurring another charge then increased the daily amount charged for "interest" from £1 per day to £6 per day.
Manipulation for financial or personal gain has a simple term, fraud!

Santander staff said, "No it's not fraud."

* It's not "the system" doing this, it is santander. Santander set up and control/run their own system, they are responsible for their own system and how it operates.
If santander's "system" is manipulating accounts for financial gain, then fraud is carried out by santander. It matters not whether the manipulation of accounts is being done by an individual or santander's "system" the outcome is the same, fraud!

Not one word of this has been recorded or put into the final complaints response by santander staff.

- As discussed, customers have up until 4pm on the day the direct debit processes, to pay funds in to the account.
* No idea where this comes from as it wasn't discussed or stated in the entire conversation.

- I am unable to waive these fees as you have had a number of charge refunds in the past (read: one charge refund over 15 months earlier) however I advised you how to avoid charges in the future.
* Advising me to "make sure funds are in the account before a direct debit goes out" is hardly advice on how to avoid charges is it!
Telling a customer "santander don't have the facility to not pay direct debits at customer's instruction" when under the lenders code, santander actually do have the facility and have to honour their request, just makes santander look completely foolish.

One final insult, I spoke with a member of santander accounts staff, who then passed it on to their team manager.
At the end of the conversation I was asked, "Would you like me to report this as an official complaint?"
What's the use? I asked, ok then go ahead.

The letter sent out comes from santander's "complaints resolution team" which refers to the team leader now as a complaints resolution team, so santander are cutting more corners to speed up complaints process improve their response times for the Financial Conduct Authority audits.

Utterly odious are santander, avoid them if at all possible.

Unenforceable bank charges under common law in England & Wales

In September 2016, MPs called for "a cap on overdraft fees" - a simple but useless request. (Especially as MPs took powers away from those that had them in the first place!)

Overdraft fees are an unenforceable burden on account holders.

Over 100 years of legal precedent, determines that any fee, charge, etc. can "only recover actual loss incurred" - if actual loss cannot be proven (as banks systems are automated) then the charge cannot be enforced.
It really is that straight forward.

A current account has £10 balance.
A direct debit requests £20 from the bank.

The bank SHOULD return the direct debit unpaid (as not enough funds in the account to cover it)

The bank instead pays the direct debit, putting the account into an "unauthorised overdraft" incurring additional charges.
Santander currently charge £6 per day for an unauthorised overdraft balance.

So if this scenario is applied to a santander current account, where a two day unauthorised overdraft is charged for, santander take £12 from the account holder, for two days of the account being £10 overdrawn.A 20% fee.

There are endless examples of the bank taking £6 per day, from account holders being less than £2 overdrawn.
If an account is overdrawn for 5 days, this equates to £30 for a £2 negative balance.
If there is a bank out there that can prove in court that the "actual loss" for being £2 overdrawn, is a £30 "actual cost," I've yet to see a single example of it.

Banks tell customers that "it's up to the account holder to manage their account" that's all well and good, but when "the system" is applying charges/fees, "the system" is over-ruling account holders and paying direct debits without funds in the account, then the bank are responsible for it.
The bank's system is built, set by, controlled by the bank themselves.
For the bank to blame their own system and staff being unable to explain why some direct debits are paid and some are not, regardless of what the account holder requests, shows the banks to be fraudulently applying fees, to increase profits.

Which official body is asking the banks why they have a charge for non-payment of a direct debit on their "system" - when no one at the bank knows under which conditions their own "system" applies it to generate the charge/fee and the banks continue to pay direct debits and charge extra unauthorised overdraft fees on top?

I repeat again, bank charges are straight forward.
If a charge/fee does not recover "actual loss" then it is unenforceable under common law in England & Wales.

So which official body is enforcing the law? None that I can see.
This includes MPs, Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), ombudsmen, etc.

They all spend vast amounts of money doing reports and studies, taking years, yet the outcome is always the same, the customer always pays unenforceable bank charges.

They wonder why so many people are thoroughly hacked off with official bodies, they are toothless talking shops.
It's time for action.
If official bodies fail to act, then they should be closed down and replaced, or the court system should changed to allow free access to challenge them.

Axa car insurance - unable to explain own policies...

Axa car insurance (using the Swift cover insurance company) are unable to explain their own policies.

Had our first ever bump at the weekend.
Car was recovered to a holding centre, claim submitted.

Paying for No Claims Discount (NCD) cover also (£60 per year) which was then dropped to 4 years from 19 years in the policy renewal for the next 12 months.
This has resulted in premiums that have now gone over £160 per month as opposed to the £65 per month previously offered.

Contacting Axa insurance today, some simple questions put to them that they were unable to explain.

* Why has our NCD dropped to just 4 years when we paid for it to be protected?
- This is because two claims are currently open on the policy, a no fault claim from 8 months ago remains open and is going to court (previous discussions resulted in a £10 per month increase while this is ongoing, from £55 to £65 per month) and the bump you had at the weekend.
With two claims open on the policy, this is classed as the second claim, which has resulted in your no claims dropping from 19 years (40% policy discount) to 4 years (28% policy discount).

* If this is really the reason, then the policy should have increased by 12% (which is the difference between 19 years NCD at 40% discount and 4 years NCD at 28% discount an increase of 12%) instead Axa have DOUBLED the price of next years' premium, an increase of 100%, why?
- The advisor then proceeded to go through the rigmarole of how NCD works. I repeated the question, still got no answer.

* Why have axa only supplied a courtesy car for 14 days, when the insurance document states that "while repairs are being carried out we will provide a courtesy car"?
- This is because it is with our salvage team (Copart UK) after suffering substantial damage, with a view to declaring your car a "total loss"
They will check your car to see if it can be repaired and if it is repairable then we will provide a courtesy car while those repairs are carried out.
* I'm not happy with a salvage company that works "with" axa (and auctions off insurance write-offs) being the "experts" that judge whether a car can be repaired or not, as they have a clear financial interest in writing off vehicles.
- no answer

The rest of the conversation was a complete fob-off from axa.

Totally devoid of any answers and passing the buck to their claims team, which is conveniently "closed until tomorrow" and only open limited hours.

What's becoming apparent, is that insurance companies are writing off cars when they can be repaired, as pay out is better than dealing with a repair and providing a courtesy car.
Problem is, it took us ages to find this car and we had to jump through proverbial hoops to get it, this combined with exceptionally genuine low-mileage, makes it well worth keeping.

Park holidays (Seaview, kent) - Watch out when booking a caravan!

When booking a caravan with Park holidays, watch out, their sales agents and website are misleading.
They will attempt to "upgrade" you to a "higher standard plus" caravan, don't fall for it!

We upgraded to a "gold plus" and got a caravan that not only was not up to their advertised "bronze standard" but cost us an extra £130 for the privilege!

On sending a complaint with various questions, it took two weeks for a very limited response to arrive via email from their customer service dept. The reply for this remains unanswered (4 days later).
Their reply did reveal some truth though...

Park holidays - Seaview, Kent booking.

Caravan space:
Sales agent - "There's a lot more space in our 'plus' range caravans"
Website - Advertises Gold and gold plus caravans, gold plus said to be "12 foot wide"
Customer service says, "When a caravan is listed as plus then it means 12ft wide rather than 10ft wide. We do not have gold standard caravans throughout park holidays only gold plus"

So all Park holiday's gold standard caravans are classed as 'Gold plus'?
Why do park holidays sales staff and website advertise both then?
Why is a gold plus "12 foot wide" when the gold standard is also 12 foot wide and not mentioned?
'Gold standard' caravans do not exist on Park holiday's sites, so why list 'gold standard' on your website and through your sales office?

Lack of storage space:
Sales agent - "There's a lot more space in our 'plus' range caravans"
Website - Advertises 'bronze' caravans with more storage space than the "gold plus" caravan we were given.
Customer service says, "Our newer caravans are more minimalistic so we do tend to find they have less storage but this gives them a cleaner finish"

No draws in the bedrooms, no storage around bed area in the twin room and a tiny wardrobe, but a much "cleaner finish"?
Not much point in a cleaner finish, when you have 4 adults and a child staying in a six berth caravan and nowhere to put your clothes.
When the 'bronze' advertised caravan has better storage than the 'gold plus' caravans being sold as a higher standard, for a higher price, not mentioned at the point of sale, it doesn't look very good Park holidays does it?

Bathroom:
Sales agent - "There's a lot more space in our 'plus' range caravans"
Website - Advertises a relatively spacious square bathroom, even in their 'bronze' standard caravans.
Customer service says, "The bathrooms are small in most of our caravans regardless of layout"

Unable to sit the right way on the toilet as your knees touch the wall (adults had to sit sideways on the pan) and a bathroom less than 3 foot across is acceptable for a 'gold plus' caravan is it?
What happened to the "more space in 'gold plus' caravans"?
Why does the website show 'bronze' caravans with more space than the bathroom we got?

Bed linen:
Sales agent - "Bed linen is included for 'gold plus' customers"
Website - Advertises bed linen for gold and gold plus customers
Customer services say, "Bed linen is included in Gold plus caravans and it is also included in silver plus caravans"

So it's also included for customers whom book a silver and silver plus caravan?
I wonder why Park holiday's sales staff sell bed linen as a benefit for gold customers upgrading to a gold plus?

Bed making services:
Sales agent - Sold as an extra for 'gold plus' customer upgrades
Website - Advertises bed making services for gold and gold plus customers
Customer service says, "Bed making is not a daily service it is just for arrival"

Not once did your sales agent state that this upgrade bed making service was just for arrival. They also failed to mention that it was available to gold and gold plus customers as standard.
It was sold as a benefit for customers that upgraded to 'gold plus' - clearly misleading at the point of sale.

Seating area:
Was identical to the seating area advertised for the 'bronze' standard
Customer services say nothing about this, they didn't answer the question.

Entertainment passes:
Sales agent - Sold the gold plus upgrade as "includes all your entertainment passes"
Website - Advertises them in all bronze, silver and gold caravans.
Customer service says, "All booking made through park holidays regardless of grade have passes included. They are mainly used for the swimming pool and games"

Not true, the games area of the camp was open to all touring and caravan bookers regardless of an entertainment pass.
Sprog2 made friends with a young lady that was staying on the touring part of the holiday park, who used the pool everyday without the need for an entertainment pass.
Games in the clubhouse were entered by all guests staying on site, none were asked for entertainment passes.
All grades of customer receive entertainment passes, so to sell them as an upgrade for 'gold plus' customers is misleading at the point of sale.

Outside seating:
Sales agent - "Most of our gold plus caravans come with a bit of decking and outdoor seating now, while we cannot promise to provide it, we can certainly add a request to the camp for it with your booking. The camp is not fully booked so there's a good chance you will get it"
Customer service says, "We do not provide garden furniture with our caravans, if requested we try to get you in a sublet that may have these but we can not always manage this"

Not only did we get just three rickety steps from the caravan entrance, but the request was not put in to the camp itself.
No outdoor seating nor bit of decking was asked for by the sales agent or provided. So why state that it will be requested?

Free wifi:
Sales agent - "Free wifi is available at the camp"
Website - Advertises, "...and surfing the web are some of the many things you can enjoy on the park"
"Free wifi on site"
Customer services say nothing about this, they didn't answer the question.

The free wifi is useless as it does not work. It never worked the entire week long stay.
The free wifi trial offer, said to be provided by a private outside company and was complimentary didn't work either.
Connection to it was very much hit and miss. In the unlikely event you connected, the server dropped the connection and then you have to try reconnecting again. Totally pointless.
So to use this as a selling point for the park is a joke.
Customer services didn't even acknowledge the question let alone answer it.

Kitchen area:
Sales agent - "There's a lot more space in our 'plus' range caravans"
Website - Advertises a square, self contained kitchen for gold and gold plus caravans
Customer service says nothing about it. Not interested.

There are two types of kitchen area advertised by sales agents and on their website.
Bronze and silver show a walk through type kitchen between the outside door and the seating area.
Gold and gold plus show a full caravan width self contained kitchen area, seperate from seating area and walk through from the outside door.
The kitchen area in our gold plus caravan was identical to the 'bronze' kitchen described by the sales agent and shown clearly on their website.

Customer services neglected to even acknowledge the question, let alone answer it.
So much for the sales agent claim of "more space for gold plus upgrades"

I have also asked about Park holidays' website claims about local attractions and discounts/deals.
Park holidays' claim, "many local attractions offering exclusive deals for Park Holidays UK guests, you’ll find plenty of purse-friendly days out to keep everyone happy"

Really Park holidays?
During our stay we visited the following attractions;

Dreamland
Hornby visitors centre
Charles Dickens house
Canterbury cathedral
Turner gallery
Micro museum
Spitfire museum Manston
The plough public house – for a meal (directly across from the entrance to seaview)
Shell grotto
Dogs trust open day (Canterbury)

Not single one of these offered any "exclusive deals for park holiday guests"
So perhaps Park Holidays would like to clarify which local attractions DO offer exclusive deals for park holiday guests?
I won't hold my breathe.

IF you are booking a stay with Park Holidays, I would not bother "upgrading" and paying an extra £130.
Most of the so called upgrades are already available with silver, silver plus and gold caravans as standard.
As their customer service have said in writing, they do not have any 'gold' standard caravans, even though their website continues to claim they do!

Entertainment passes are available to all guests and apart from the link up bingo games, are not needed to do anything on the camp.
There are no "local attractions" that offer "exclusive deals to park holiday guests" Well none in Broadstairs, Margate or Ramsgate that we found.

Park holidays' gold plus caravans are "minimalistic and do not have as much storage space" according to their own customer service manager. Less storage space than bronze and silver caravans.

Regardless of your £130 extra fee for upgrading, your caravan will have a walk through kitchen area and not the one advertised on their website, you will not get a caravan with any decking outside or any outdoor furniture and your bathroom will be miniscule, more so than the pictures advertising gold caravans on their website. You can expect to be provided with a toilet, but as we found, you may very well be unable to sit on it facing the right way as your knees will be pressed up against the wall, such is the limited size of the bathroom.
As Park holidays' customer service manager states, "The bathrooms are small in most of our caravans regardless of layout"

Park holidays' free wifi does not work (as well as the free trial wifi being offered that doesn't work either), so pay no heed to their website claims and set it up with your own mobile provider before you travel.

Bed linen is not a bonus for upgrading to gold plus, it's available with silver, gold caravans as standard.
Bedmaking is simply for your arrival, put your own douvet cover on and the jobs done, again not worth the upgrade.

Save yourself some money, DON'T PAY FOR AN UPGRADE, if you have a complaint, ask the hardworking, overworked staff at your camp, as their customer service after-sales is slow (2 weeks to respond) and only answer the  questions they want, not what you actually asked.

This post is a follow up to the post:

http://www.frugalways.co.uk/life.php/seaview-holiday-park-kent-review

Is microsoft operating a cartel with their corporate partners?

I am used to different windows operating systems taking away user options, the newer they get, but are microsoft in cahoots with other corporate businesses where there is a mutual benefit?

Options disappearing from windows operating system:

When I upgraded from windows xp to windows 7, one feature I used a lot, was the option to drag mp3 files into a folder on my desktop and burn to disc from there, nothing else was needed.
There were even options to format the disc (cd and dvd) and delete files from disc if it was a rewriteable.

After upgrading to windows 7, this option vanished.

It wouldn't have been so bad, but nero also would not work on windows 7 operating platform.
(Handy for upcoming pay to use systems and their co-corporate friends that were lobbying to bring in DRM (digital rights management) in various industries.)

So not to be out done, on our old PC I installed windows xp and on the newer PC I upgraded to windows 7... best of both worlds I thought.

All was well, until I attempted to burn a disc for my own use, in our in car dvd player, a JVC head unit.

I used windows options to burn a dvd of my own mp3 and mp4 files, which play without issue on my JVC head unit in the car. Happy days I thought. I was wrong.

I burned the dvd, nipped out to the car, "disc error"
I loaded it up on my PC, there all the tracks were?
I could play them on PC but not on the JVC?
Three further discs were burned and finalised, I tried rewriteable discs, permanent discs, fast and slow burning speed discs, nothing. Each time all I got was "disc error"?
Out of sheer frustration, I fired up the old PC with windows xp on it, burned the disc, put it in the JVC and hey presto... it worked like a charm!
Now imagine if this was orchestrated by microsoft, so that windows 7 discs were prevented from running on older in car audio equipment?
That would be a nice little earner, especially if it involved many other corporates that made in car head units, like JVC, Sony, Blaupunkt, alpine and the like.
We [microsoft] stop millions of users burning discs that can be used with their older head units and in return they get to shift a whole pile of newer head units that work with windows 7 burning disc feature/software, good for both parties!

So back to today's events.
Thanks to sprog2 wanting to play roblox, within an hour she got a virus on the old PC running windows XP, so much so, that it was on a continuous shutdown and restart loop.
A full reformat and reinstallation of windows xp followed.
Installed the wireless key no problem, off online I go to grab google chrome or a higher version of IE, so I can find all the drivers I need...

...Not happening.
Google website wouldn't open, checked all the settings, still nothing.
I'll update windows then to service pack 3... Not happening!
Microsoft websites were all failing to load up.
Hmmm time to check other websites then.
Youtube (google owned)... not happening!
Microsoft... not happening!

I tried non microsoft and google websites... BBC, bookface and my own website, all opened without issue. They looked a bit out of sync as I was using IE6 but they still worked fine.

So now I'm left to update the old PC to windows 7, which leaves me without access to any disc burning software that works with older head units in the car, which means I'll now have to change this as well, yet more expense.

Anyone would think microsoft were operating a cartel with their corporate friends... I wouldn't mind but it's costing me MONEY!