Resolving Bank Disputes for Over 15 Years

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So here again is yet another, but recent story about how Dispute Assist has helped me out of a sticky situation, which in reality, had the bank been normal, or at least reasonable would not have needed to get to this stage.

What happened is that I had purchased water front land in the Gold Coast with the intention of building. Unfortunately some 12 months after that along came the GFC, and the mining industry crash. The land property cratered in value, and income dried up. So finally the LVR value on the main land and other property that I held increased to above 100%. However this based on the banks valuations and these being somewhat conservative.

Firstly one has to admit that this was not the banks fault, it was a fact of life, the GFC and drop in valuations was what it was. You don’t blame the bank for that. The bank gave me time to try to sell the first property which finally came through at a loss of $300,000. Tough to take it on the chin, but that is when the fun really started.

As security I also held other land that I was now told was even worse off and was now at a 107% LVR. And then the games began. Their valuation of the land was dropped from $340,000, down to $320,000, and I was then advised that it had become $280,000. At that time I had engaged a broker to try to find alternative lending, from which point in time, the bank started to ignore all correspondence to me.

Part of the original loan was a fixed $550,000 loan over 10 years. When a partial payment was paid I was advised that early payout fees would not be applied on that portion, as long as I kept the remainder of that fixed loan ie $280,000. However when the partial payout of $210,000 was done on sale of the first property the banking system automatically deducted $10,000 in early payout fees. When I asked the bank about this my emails were ignored.

When my broker subsequently asked what the payout fee would be on the now $280,000 loan, he was advised that the amount would now be $320,000. This implying some $40,000 in early break fees. Note that the bank did not actually talk to me, they talked only to my broker. It was interesting that the early payout was now nearly four (4) times larger than their system had calculated on the first payout. Something was not right, and despite sending numerous emails to the bank, I was continuously ignored. The bank was kind enough to advise my broker that they were terminating the relationship with me, but not to me to the broker! This after 18 years of being with them. At no time was I ever in default of any payments. Things were getting bad and I was sensing foreclosure and after searching and only getting vague comments from online lawyers about how this was all wrong I finally found Dispute Assist. Their quote at first scared me off.

Well at risk of losing $50,000 in what seemed to be extortion, I went for it, paid the bill and hoped for the best.

Wow, what a difference.

After compiling a list of what had happened, paying the fee which hurts, as you never know “is this good money after bad”, Dispute Assist got to work. Filing a claim with the ombudsman and then dealing with the bank directly.

The outcome.

Well the lovely person whom I was dealing with in the collections department at the bank was in fact lying, their internal valuation was not $280,000 as stated to me, it was $320,000, and the refinance was not quite as bad as required. Cleaning up my company overdraft, being hard when the industry was down, and a final small adjustment on the loan finally being agreed to.  The first payout fee of $10,000 also being refunded! This took only three months! So instead of being forced into moving to an alternative lender and paying excessive fees we have an agreement.

The key issue being that Dispute Assist knows the games that are being played, because that is really what they are. The banks are all about gouging individuals whom may not have the ability to pay and are too scared to question what they are told. Not replying to emails, obvious bullying behaviour, proposing exit fees that are not in line with the banks own published documentation etc, just shows how bad things can get. I did not have to talk to the bank, Wendy at Dispute Assist, took care of this all. Seems like a dream out of Peter Pan! Pardon the humour but at last I can sleep at night and a two year nightmare can be over.

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