A letter to the Abbey National regarding their insufficient notification of end of mortgage term.

Letter 01

Customer Satisfaction Centre
Abbey House
201 Grafton Gate East
Central Milton Keynes


Re: Lack of prior notification to mortgage period end date (AccNo. 0915/862/017744872/TAR)

Dear Sir or Madam,

I am writing to find out why notification of the end of my fixed rate mortgage period was not sent out in sufficient time for me to change my mortgage package last time, and so avert additional interest payment charges. In fact, the letter of notification was dated for the 3rd November 2007, the day that the mortgage period ended, and then it was only sent out second class. Consequently, I didn’t receive it until the 8th November 2007, five days after the mortgage period ended. This meant that, even though I acted immediately, requesting a change of package from the Abbey National, by the time the package was in place, I would still be charged a considerable and unnecessary additional amount of interest.

When I mentioned this to the mortgage help team, I was told that the Abbey’s policy is to consider the onus to be on the customer to ‘make a note’ because the mortgage period end date is shown on the mortgage statement. When I pushed the point a little further, by saying that the Abbey should notify customers in advance, I was told that this issue (unsurprisingly) has been raised before and, in fact, has been ‘in hand’ with upper management for some time now. However, nothing has yet been done about it. Why is that I wonder? The fact that the Abbey adopt this attitude in the first place is bad enough, the failure to rectify the issue upon it being brought to the Abbey’s attention by unsatisfied customers, and the Abbey’s unscrupulous continuance of this policy, in the very least, can be considered to be discourteous, and at worst, a deliberate and greedy ploy to trap entrusting customers who do not realise the situation, and who are being less than diligent, for the purpose of making easy money. I would also like to say that previously I was with the Halifax, who are thoughtful and courteous enough to notify their customers one month in advance of such a change and I therefore expected, as a matter of routine, the same courtesy from the Abbey National, which is partly why I for one was caught unawares. When I spoke to a lady at the Halifax to clarify their policy on this issue, she said, "We like to keep our customers happy", and suggested that perhaps I may like to move back to the Halifax.

It is usually general practice for any company to notify in advance of any such changes in circumstances, thereby, giving sufficient warning. Vehicle tax, insurance policies, bank charges, utility bills, mortgage changes, personal loans, etc. Everybody does it, except the Abbey it seems. Again, why is that? It would be nice if, under the circumstances and, as a gesture of goodwill, such additional charges incurred by loyal customers in this position were to be waived by the Abbey, and that in future, customers receive a courtesy letter one month in advance, as with the Halifax and other building societies, thereby, ensuring fair play and customer satisfaction. Two objectives that should surely be considered paramount!

Yours faithfully,

Mr DJ Tarrant

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