HSBC is to pay out an estimated £30 million to more than 25,000 people who had unreasonable debt collection charges applied to their bills.
They all had a loan, or a credit or store card from HFC Bank or, in fewer cases, from John Lewis Financial Services (JLFS) and missed payments.
The debt was referred to one of two solicitors, Restons or Weightmans, who wrote to customers and on the bank’s instruction added a debt collection charge of 16.4 per cent of the amount owed.
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In 2010 the Office of Fair Trading ruled that charge unreasonable and ordered HFC to stop.
HFC and JLFS are owned by HSBC, which began a limited exercise in 2017 to find 6,700 people it had identified as due compensation.
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They were owed an estimated £4 million plus interest, which at eight per cent over many years would approximately double their awards.
On those figures compensation will average about £1,200 including interest. Many will be owed more.
Last month it emerged that HSBC is writing to another 18,500 people who may be due redress. HSBC will listen to their “recollection of events”, even if they have lost paperwork.
Nicholas Wilson, who has campaigned tirelessly for redress to be paid, says he was leaked county court records that show 119,000 people had the charge added and believes the real number could be as many as half a million.
Andrew Bailey, chief executive of the FCA, said at its annual public meeting in July that the number given redress would be “driven by the evidence”.
HSBC told me: “We believe we have identified all those affected who may have paid a Debt Collection Charge between 2003 and 2009, and are writing to them.
If someone believes they paid a DCC and we haven’t contacted them, they can call us to discuss it on 0345 585 7564.”
Neither Restons nor Weightmans would comment. If you were pursued for a debt to HFC or JLFS by either firm in the period 2003–2009, call the above number and make a claim.