APPEAL

Unfairpak have campaigned for truth and justice for Farepak victims for almost 6 long years now.

 

The case against the Directors of European Home Retail and Farepak Food & Gifts Limited collapsed spectacularly earlier on this year and Mr Justice Peter Smith slated the way that HBOS had acted in the whole debacle.

 

There are still questions to be answered regarding the collapse of the Group and Unfairpak believe HBOS hold those answers.

 

Unfairpak were well aware that Park II could have rescued Christmas, not only for 116,429 savers but also for Farepak Food & Gifts Limited itself.  However, HBOS, at its most senior level and having initially called it a “neat solution” then proceeded to ‘sit’ on it for 6 weeks before pulling the plug on the entire Group. Peter Cummings was quoted by Mr Justice Peter Smith as being the “ultimate arbiter”. The moment his decision was made he knowingly allowed extra subscriptions to be received when he also knew those receipts would be exclusively destined for his bank, without warning to the depositors.

 

This is NOT the first time HBOS have acted in this way.  The people involved in this debacle must be exposed.  Farepak savers were known as “Doris”, they are not the only ones to be called that by HBOS.

 

Back in February of this year, our National Campaign Coordinator wrote an article in the Times wherein she stated “The outcry over politicians’ expenses and bankers’ bonuses shows that society is no longer willing to sit back and let the “fat cats” get away with it any more. We are becoming a classless, less deferential society and the Farepak fight back is another example of how the voices of the “little people” will be heard. If any good can come from the debacle, this could be it. This week a loud message has been sent: no one is above the law and, though it may take time, justice will prevail.”  Suzy Hall 17th February 2011.

 

Unfairpak were originally told that it would cost £15,000 to obtain the transcripts from the trial.  The majority of Farepak savers were women on low incomes and simply could not afford this amount. We have since been informed copy transcripts will cost considerably less and probably hundred as opposed to thousands of pounds.

 

Accordingly, we are asking anyone who feels inclined to help us continue the fight for justice, to support us in our quest to obtain these transcripts which may help to further highlight potentially illicit activity at HBOS. We need as many people as possible to donate £1 (or more) to our PayPal www.paypal.com account info@unfairpak.co.uk in order to obtain the transcripts and give us a fighting fund to investigate HBOS’s role further. We might even be able to get legal advice on how to proceed. We will keep a running account of what is received and how it is disbursed, on the Unfairpak site http://www.unfairpak.co.uk/ .

 

Many thanks.

 

What our supporters have to say:-

“What happened with Farepak is absolutely outrageous and I’m not even sure it’s legal. But regardless of legalities, HBOS should pay back every penny to the victims”…Paul Moore, HBOS Whistleblower 17th August 2012

“HBOS’s handling of the Farepak and European Home Retail situation in September and October 2006 confirms that, two years prior to its own narrowly averted collapse, the bank had become congenitally incapable of acting honourably, morally or ethically — especially in view of the fact it continued to take in ‘deposits’ in September and October 2006, in the full knowledge that Farepak and EHR were headed for insolvency.”…Ian Fraser, Financial Journalist 17th August 2012

It is crucial to the future of UK banking that all the ‘baggage’ about HBOS is exposed, dealt with appropriately and that such behaviour is banished from the UK financial system before we become a laughing stock. Of all the HBOS scandals, this may not have been the biggest but it was certainly one of the shoddiest. One wonders if the HBOS bosses enjoyed their Christmas dinners in 2006? Even Scrooge may have found this one a step too far? Positively “ill founded and misconceived.”…Paul Turner 17th August 2012.

Christmas Pre-payment Association Press Release

                     

24 July 2012                                                                                                         MEDIA INFORMATION

 

Greater protection now available for Christmas Club customers after FSCS intervention

 

Christmas Prepayment Association members extend consumer protection to cover a banking failure

 

The Christmas Prepayment Association (CPA), the self-regulatory trade association for the Christmas savings industry, has strengthened its terms and conditions to maximise the safety of their savers’ money. The move comes after the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) proposed a number of changes to the CPA.

 

Christmas Clubs are not regulated by the Financial Services Authority and so do not come under the direct remit of FSCS. However FSCS can protect the Clubs’ funds in some circumstances, including if the financial institution holding the money fails but the Christmas Club provider continues to operate. Following an approach by FSCS in January the CPA has amended its Code of Practice to ensure that customers’ payments are placed with an FSA-authorised institution and clearly identified against the relevant individual. This means that in the event of a bank failure FSCS will be able to return the money so it can be used to fulfil their order.

 

The enhanced protection applies to schemes run by Country Christmas Savings Ltd, Family Christmas Savings Ltd, Park Christmas Savings Ltd, Flexesaver Ltd and Variety Christmas Club Ltd. Letters have now gone out to customers informing them of the changes. Banking deposits with the Post Office Christmas Savings Club, the sixth and final CPA member, are already covered by the Irish Deposit Guarantee Scheme.

 

Mark Neale, Chief Executive of the FSCS, said: “Although Christmas Clubs are not covered by FSCS we saw that a number of simple steps could be taken to improve the protection available for people who save with such schemes. We approached the CPA and are delighted they have accepted our suggestions to ensure that all customer funds are kept in FSA-authorised accounts, with individual amounts clearly identified. In the event of a bank failure, the customers of CPA members can be sure their money is safe.

 

“Customers should be fully aware of the risks associated with every product, including Christmas Clubs, before taking one out. They can check whether FSCS protection will be available by visiting our website or asking the provider. In these tough times, consumers can have peace of mind by knowing that FSCS will be there for them if they need it.”

 

Derek Walpole, Chairman of the Christmas Prepayment Association, commented: “Our members’ Christmas Clubs provide a service that hundreds of thousands of people find useful and convenient. They allow hard-working families to put aside some of their money to save for presents so they can enjoy Christmas. We want to do everything we can to protect our customers and so are delighted to tighten our code of conduct to do this.”

 

FSCS protects consumers if banks, building societies or credit unions go bust. Since 2001, it has helped more than 4.5 million people and paid out more than £26 billion. It covers the full range of financial services.

 

 

-ENDS-

 

Notes to Editors

 

1. About the FSCS

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) is theUK’s statutory compensation scheme for customers of authorised financial services firms. This means that FSCS can pay compensation if a firm is unable, or likely to be unable, to pay claims against it. FSCS is an independent body funded by a levy on authorised financial services firms. FSCS does not charge individual consumers for using its service.

 

Since 31 December 2011 the compensation limit for savings and deposits has been £85,000, up from the previous limit of £50,000. Pay-outs are now made on a ‘gross’ basis, ring-fencing deposits in the event that a consumer also holds loans with an institution that has gone bust. FSCS aims to pay compensation within seven days and in a maximum of twenty days if a deposit taker fails. For more information visit www.fscs.org.uk

 

2. About the Christmas Prepayment Association (CPA)

The CPA is a self-regulatory trade association for the Christmas savings industry which was set up after the collapse of Farepak in October 2006. It was launched in autumn 2007 and has six members – Country Christmas Savings Ltd, Family Christmas Savings Ltd, Park Christmas Savings Ltd (all three are subsidiaries of Park Group PLC), Flexesaver Ltd (also owned by Park Group), Variety Christmas Savings Club Ltd, and Post Office Christmas Savings Club. The CPA has a code of practice which is designed to give customers the “best possible service” and improve “the security of monies paid by them to members”.

 

3. Changes to the terms and conditions of the CPA’s members

The following changes have been made to ensure the FSCS can protect the Christmas Club customers of CPA members, excluding the Post Office, in the event of their bank failing:

 

  • Making clear that customer payments have been placed with a bank authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority, which is protected by FSCS.
  • In the event of that bank collapsing, that the Christmas Club provider is authorised to disclose the customer’s personal details (such as their name, address and payments) to the FSCS.
  • The Christmas Club provider will then receive any sum which the customer is entitled to from FSCS, which will then be applied towards the balance of their account to fulfil their order.

 

Post Office banking deposits are held in a joint venture with the Bank of Ireland and so are covered by the Irish Deposit Guarantee Scheme. However its Christmas Club card is not covered by FSCS as its remit does not extend to pre-paid/e-cards.

 

Vince Cable’s Statement Lloyds £8 million to Farepak

The Business Secretary Vince Cable has today responded to the Lloyds Banking Group statement on their decision to make an ex-gratia payment of £8 million for Farepak’s former customers. Dr Cable wrote to Lloyds on 28 June asking for their views on the comments made about the bank by Justice Peter Smith. Lloyds Banking Group has today responded.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said:

 

“The result of the legal proceedings case against the former directors was disappointing but this increased compensation will go some way in helping those who were left considerably out of pocket by Farepak’s collapse. My department and Lloyds will work to make sure this money gets to the victims as quickly as possible. I will be meeting a group of Farepak’s creditors and MPs next week to discuss the case.”