BANKS HAVE TO DO BETTER FOR FRAUD VICTIMS

TODAY’S BLOG

BANKS MUST DO BETTER FOR FRAUD VICTIMS

The Financial Ombudsman Service, which manages disputes between financial firms and customers, is ruling against banks in 73% of authorised fraud cases, data exclusively obtained by Which? demonstrates. This means if you have been tricked into sending money to a scammer, you may be able to get a refund from your bank.

The biggest banks are signed up to the voluntary Contingent Reimbursement Model (CRM) Code, which is designed so victims of authorised push payment fraud (APP) are treated fairly and consistently when they ask for compensation. If your bank refuses compensation, you can escalate your case to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).

But the number of customer complaints about banks’ handling of authorised fraud – the vast majority of which are APP – landing at the FOS more than doubled in the 2020-21 financial year, from 3,600 to 7,770. And three-quarters (73%) of these were upheld in favour of the customer.

VAST SUMS OF FRAUD – SOMEONE HAS TO PAY

APP fraud – being tricked into transferring money to a fraudster – is fast becoming one of the UK’s biggest frauds. Losses hit £355.3m between January and July, outstripping losses to card fraud. Banks are required to refund you for losses to unauthorised fraud such as card fraud, but not APP fraud. You will have noticed that we ran a couple of items in our client magazine Spotlight about fraud and scams.

The voluntary CRM code was launched in May 2019 and requires signatory banks to provide effective warnings to customers, identifying vulnerable customers and acting quickly when a scam is reported. In return, you are expected to pay attention to take care, have a reasonable basis for believing the payment is genuine, and pay attention to warnings.

Crucially, signatory banks must reimburse customers even if both parties have done nothing wrong. Data shows that many victims have been wrongly denied compensation but haven’t approached the FOS. Escalating a complaint to the FOS is free, and can be done online, but not all victims will be aware of or able to use the service. That’s why Which? wants the government to swiftly take the necessary action to enable the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) to introduce mandatory APP fraud reimbursement for all firms using Faster Payments.

If I were a betting man, (which I am not) I would conclude that Banks will find a way to recoup some of their costs from customers, this normally takes the form of higher interest rates or charges on all forms of borrowing. Alternatively, to end the myth of “free banking”. There is no such thing and its about time we all had a grown-up conversation about it.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

Email – info@solomonsifa.co.uk 
Call – 020 8542 8084

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GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

Email – info@solomonsifa.co.uk    Call – 020 8542 8084

7 QUESTIONS, NO WAFFLE

Are we a good fit for you?

Take Survey

BANKS HAVE TO DO BETTER FOR FRAUD VICTIMS2021-12-10T16:38:14+00:00

ENERGY COST CRISIS

TODAY’S BLOG

ENERGY COST CRISIS

It seems that there is a weekly crisis at present, by the time you read this there will likely be a new one! I wonder if you are bracing yourself for an expensive winter? As you probably know, there is a global surge in the cost of gas at wholesale has led many companies to drastically increase their prices. While many companies have reacted by hiking up costs even more for customers, others have taken themselves off price comparison websites and some have gone bust. Its worth mentioning that price comparison websites aren’t all that you may imagine, they are not whole of market and only show companies that provide them with a commission.

Anyway your household and mine are facing much higher gas bills this winter due to a global surge in wholesale gas prices that have forced some energy companies to go bust. The British public has already been hit with energy price hikes over the last few months and could be paying hundreds more this winter, unless they counterbalance the extra costs by making some simple changes to their usage. The news that another five energy firms have folded in recent months will no doubt worry many householders but Ofgem has said it “has systems in place to look after consumers”. An Ofgem spokesman said that currently wholesale gas prices are at a record high, driven by international supply and demand factors. This is undoubtedly putting pressure on companies – with four leaving the market over the last few weeks. In the past few months Utility Point, People’s Energy, PfP Energy, MoneyPlus Energy and Hub Energy have all ceased trading – something which is thought to have affected half a million British households.  More recently Green and AVRO Energy both collapsed with an estimated 800,000 customers between them – Octopus has stepped in to takeover.

Energy Crisis 2021

FULL OF GAS

These consumers will be given a new supplier, that means extra hassle for them with the costs passed onto customers. Speaking from personal experience, my supplier “Green Energy Network” went bust last year and we were switched over to EDF. An unfortunately timed problem with the meter itself during this period, left us in limbo as we waited for a new account to be registered and set up, which too several weeks. We finally got there and it wasnt a major problem, but it wasnt “straight-forward”.

OFGEM added that it is working closely with the Government to manage the wider implications of the global gas price increase and it is not thought that this will lead to a complete halt in supply. Make of that what you will, I’m yet to be convinced that the current Government could successfuly manage a raffle.

As such there is no better time to see if you qualify for the Warm Home Discount Scheme, which could ensure some people are £140 better off. To find out, people can speak to their energy supplier, most of them are signed up to the scheme if they have 250,000 customers or more. More than two million UK households should qualify for this rebate on their energy bills this year and it’s important to get in touch with them early as there is only a limited amount of people energy companies can help.

What I might suggest is that you get on with reviewing your gas supply. I would recommend having a look at Martin Lewis’ website www.moneysavingexpert.com where you can do a search. If you want a £50 discount off Octopus, here is a code that you can use (I get £50 too) but do your own research about what is best for your usage. Here is the link: https://share.octopus.energy/tulip-shark-521.

Long story short, make a record and update your spending plan – either just let us know with an email, or update your information within our secure portal.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

Email – info@solomonsifa.co.uk 
Call – 020 8542 8084

7 QUESTIONS, NO WAFFLE

Are we a good fit for you?

Take Survey

GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

Email – info@solomonsifa.co.uk    Call – 020 8542 8084

7 QUESTIONS, NO WAFFLE

Are we a good fit for you?

Take Survey

ENERGY COST CRISIS2021-09-30T16:49:40+01:00

IS YOUR COUNCIL TAX BILL RIGHT?

TODAY’S BLOG

IS YOUR COUNCIL TAX BILL RIGHT?

The average Band D council tax set by local authorities for 2021/22 will be £1,898 an increase of £81 or 4.4%. The total Council Tax requirement for the year is a whopping £34.4bn – billion! An increase of 1.3billion.

If you believe your property is in the wrong band, you can challenge it through the Valuation Office Agency to get your property revalued and moved into a different, cheaper band. There are some criteria you have to meet, so you’ll need to have some concrete evidence for your challenge to be successful.

For example, if there have been changes to your property that would make it less valuable than the original valuation – part has been demolished, or it is a house that has subsequently been converted into flats. Or there may have been a change to the property or local area that would have changed the valuation of the property, such as roadworks that have been built that would have affected the rateable value of the property.

Council Tax

TWO SIDES OF A NEIGHBOURHOUD

If there have been changes to your property that would make it less valuable than the original valuation – part has been demolished, or it is a house that has subsequently been converted into flats. Or there may have been a change to the property or local area that would have changed the valuation of the property, such as roadworks that have been built that would have affected the rateable value of the property.

You can also get your band changed if mistakes have been made when the rating was carried out. If your council tax band has been incorrectly calculated, not only will you enjoy lower bills, but you’ll get the money back that you had overpaid, all the way back to when you started paying the wrong amount. If you’ve been in your property for a couple of decades, this could be a big chunk.

But beware – challenging your council tax band can deliver bad news as well as good – you could end up increasing your council tax bill by the agency deciding that you should be in a higher band. This could even affect your neighbours, with the potential to make you quite unpopular down your street. That planned street party for the end of the pandemic, may create a few awkward moments.

Here’s a link to the Council Tax site.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

Email – info@solomonsifa.co.uk 
Call – 020 8542 8084

7 QUESTIONS, NO WAFFLE

Are we a good fit for you?

Take Survey

GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

Email – info@solomonsifa.co.uk    Call – 020 8542 8084

7 QUESTIONS, NO WAFFLE

Are we a good fit for you?

Take Survey

IS YOUR COUNCIL TAX BILL RIGHT?2021-09-20T17:41:26+01:00
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