We redeemed our mortgage with Lloyds in 2013, but recently discovered that the bank did not remove its legal charge.
My wife and I took the mortgage with TSB in 1985. This became a Lloyds TSB mortgage when the banks merged.
Following Money Mail’s advice, whenever the interest rate decreased we kept our repayments at the same level to pay off the mortgage sooner, and it was redeemed in 2013.
Penned in: A couple are struggling to raise any money against their home after the bank found a legal charge from 1985 which should have been cancelled
Now we are buying a new property and want to raise a mortgage against our home. But our lender’s solicitor discovered a legal charge in favour of ‘the Custodian Trustees of Trustee Savings Bank England & Wales’ dated March 12, 1985.
I have been chasing this since September. I was told it should take three to five working days, but it is still not resolved.
C. F., Coventry.
When we take out a mortgage, banks and building societies take a legal charge against our property. This stops us selling without their permission and means they have first call on the money if we do sell.
You paid off your mortgage, so the legal charge should have been removed. However, it seems that when you phoned the bank on September 16, the request was passed to the relevant department but was not processed properly.
Lloyds has apologised and sent you £450 as a goodwill gesture, in addition to the £300 already paid in October in recognition of the poor service and the delays caused to your property purchase.
A spokesman says: ‘We’re extremely sorry for the inconvenience and have now sent the relevant information to the Land Registry so this can be resolved as quickly as possible.
‘We have provided feedback to the department that incorrectly processed their request to make sure it doesn’t happen again.’
For just a few pounds you can check your own property details at HM Land Registry via the gov.uk website.
British Gas took extra £185-a-month from elderly grandparents ‘just in case’
British Gas has taken £286.65 from my grandparents, instead of £101, for the past six months.
Their usage has not increased and they are horrified. As both are nearly 90 and preoccupied with trying to remain safe, they didn’t notice this change, and say the firm did not write to notify them.
I rang British Gas several times and it offered no help or apology. It says the increased charges were ‘just in case’ they went over their usage and it refuses to offer a refund.
It claimed it sent a letter, and said it would send another to prove this. Nothing has come.
P. D., Liverpool.
The problem stems from estimated readings. British Gas didn’t receive readings and, as we know, energy companies can no longer be bothered to send out meter readers.
Instead, they invent consumption figures and customers suffer the consequences.
Using guestimates, British Gas raised the monthly payment by around 184 per cent in April, supposedly to avoid your grandparents falling into arrears.
This was at the beginning of the summer, when usage might be expected to fall. It’s possible your grandparents were behind after the winter months, but a far smaller increase would have made up the difference.
British Gas has now refunded the £325.90 it owed them. You are far from happy with its conduct, especially the failure to apologise in a way you felt appropriate.
A British Gas spokesman says: ‘We strongly advise customers who pay by direct debit to review their statements regularly and provide regular meter readings to ensure their payment plans are accurately reassessed.’
I strongly suggest that the regulator insists energy firms actually read customers’ meters before they are allowed to reassess direct debits.
Struggling for refund from TV Licensing
My mother, 77, wrote to TV Licensing in August after discovering that she had been paying for a TV licence when she didn’t have to.
I had already told them that Dad had passed away with dementia in 2015, but they still sent letters addressed to him.
On August 17, we completed a refund form. I’ve also twice sent proof of address and a consultant’s letter regarding Mum’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis.
Mum has since been admitted to hospital. I would like to get this sorted before she comes home.
V. P., Essex.
TV Licensing is hell-bent on taking money from the over-75s, but seems rather more reluctant to refund it. It has apologised and paid the refund of just over £300. My best wishes to you and your mother.
Straight to the point
I read in Money Mail last week that investment services such as Hargreaves Lansdown and AJ Bell cap their platform fees.
But I’ve been a customer of both, and have always had to pay more than the maximum amounts stated.
S. O., by email.
The figures we showed with our ‘Make sure fees don’t shrink your profits’ story were the platform charges levied on shares.
Platforms have similar percentage fees on fund holdings. This charge is not capped, but is often reduced for those with larger portfolios.
I’ve had service issues with my BT landline for months, yet I’m still being chased for payment. I am 81, in ill health and no longer want to be a BT customer.
S. E. Kent.
BT says it was unaware of the issues you were having until it received your letter in August.
It adds that someone tried to call you, but there was no answer. Your contract is now cancelled and your final bill of £15.10 has been wiped.
BA gave me vouchers when my flights were cancelled during lockdown, but I was unable to use them in its Black Friday sale and therefore missed out on a 20 per cent discount. This is unacceptable.
T. B., Cleethorpes.
Customers can absolutely benefit from special offers when paying with vouchers.
The problem was that you had tried to cancel flights you had re-booked for September 2021 so you could re-buy them in the sale.
BA’s flexible booking policy, which allows you to change travel dates for free, only covers flights departing before August 31.
I have had no dealings with Halifax for about 30 years.
Then, out of the blue in March, I started receiving letters from the bank about an account I do not recognise.
I have tried on numerous occasions to resolve the issue, with no joy.
C. B., Gravesend.
The account belongs to you, but it was dormant because you have not used it for so long.
Halifax is still required to send you updates, such as when interest rates or its terms and conditions change.
The bank has apologised for not resolving the issue sooner, closed the account and paid you £50 as a gesture of goodwill.
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