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&#39Line being drawn under dual-pricing complaints&#39

Halifax and Cheltenham & Gloucester say the Financial Ombudsman&#39s rejection of complaints about their dual-pricing policies shows the arbitrator is trying to draw a line in the sand for future complaints.

Last week, the ombudsman threw out a case of a couple tied to C&G&#39s standard variable rate of 7.25 per cent who applied to be transferred to the lower variable rate of 6.35 per cent after it was withdrawn in September last year.

The ombudsman says C&G&#39s commercial decision did not breach its contract with these customers.

The ombudsman is calling this “lead case B” as it can be used to help decide the outcome of similar complaints.

This follows its lead case A when it adjudicated in June in favour of a woman who had been tied into C&G&#39s higher SVR while the lower rate was available between May and September.

Last week, the ombudsman also rejected a series of claims from Halifax customers who first complained about its dual pricing after the lender&#39s cut-off date of March 4. Halifax says it supports the ombudsman&#39s clarification in its briefing note that it will not “ordinarily interfere” with “legitimate commercial judgements.”

Halifax press officer Jason Clarke says: “This puts a line in the sand and gives clarity to how we interpreted its original decision in January to take a tiered approach to compensation payments.”

Cheltenham & Gloucester spokeswoman Susan Knight says: “We are delighted that the ombudsman last week accepted our decision. It appears that the ombudsman is trying to draw a line under the complaints.”

FOS spokeswoman Iris Baker says: “The briefings show the up to date picture on Halifax and Cheltenham & Gloucester.”


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