Newest Review: ... you an example... my mortgage adviser sent them bank statements and my visa (I am australian) and we assumed that all had been received ... more
My Mortgage Nightmare
Member Name: Vicki H
Date: 17/08/01, updated on 26/08/01 (876 review reads)
Disadvantages: Bad customer service, Shoddy accounts, No respect for the financial ombusman even!
I took my mortgage out with the Woolwich 3 years ago now and it has been one disaster after another.
I decided on a fixed rate so that I would know exactly how much I would have to pay each month. I employed a finanical advisor to find me the best deal on the market at the time and the Woolwich seemed to be the best. It was very difficult however to get through to them when checking on my application. The phone lines were constantly engaged and they even employ someone to answer the phone and tell you that they are busy. He takes your number and says someone will call back, but they never did.
I got some cash back with my mortgage but had to take out their insurance for 12 months. Once the year was up I cancelled the insurance and obvioulsy my monthly payments fell. Suddenly I got a letter out of the blue stating that my mortgage payment was to go up £75 per month! At the time I was on maternity leave and on half pay so was very upset. Money was going to be tight anyway with a baby on the way without this sort of financial burden.
Customer services were useless, they tried to fob me off with fancy patter hoping that I would be put off from looking any further into the whole matter. They tried to explain it away as an interest rise, I pointed out that the level of interest should not affect a fixed term mortgage and then they admitted that they didn't know why it had gone up. Each time I phoned there was a different excuse and it was being looked into. I asked repeatedly to speak to someone in charge and they stated that the supervisor wasn't available but would phone me back - this happened endless times but the call never came!
In the end I wrote to them, god knows how many times. I rarely got a response and when I did it was telling me that I would get a full written response within 10 working days. That was way back in April and I've still heard nothing.
This whole episode started in Octo
ber 2000 and it has taken exactly 10 months to resolve. During this time I have had to continue making these higher payments which I greatly resent. I have asked for forcasts to show my mortgage but they have failed to provide any such figures.
Basically what has happened is that they failed to add on my insurance payment and then deducted that amount from my mortgage when I'd never paid it anyway (hope you understand all that!). So in effect the deal that I signed up for originally did not exsist as they had worked the figures out incorrectly. Anyway this error has resulted in me making payments for 3 years yet now owing more than I did when I first took the loan out!
I have taken the case to the Financial Ombudsman and have been awarded £700 compensation although I still have to meet the higher payments! Therefore I have ended up worse off in the long run as over the last 10 months I have had to pay more than the compensation that has been awarded anyway.
Today I finally received my compensation! I have battled long and hard for it and feel it is throughly deserved. The Woolwich sent a covering letter but have failed to offer any written or verbal apology for all the hassle that I have had as a result of their mistake.
The Ombudsman finally nailed them down but I know that if I had not referred the case I would never have got anywhere. I look forward to the day when I can leave the Woolwich as they have been very unprofessional in the handling of my account.
Thanks for reading.