Practice areas AIB Tracker Mortgage Overcharging

Many of AIB’s customers who have been overcharged have recently received a second redress and compensation letter.

Second Redress and Compensation Letter 

As a result of a recent decision of the Financial Services Ombudsman approximately 5,600 customers who came off their fixed rate after 5 January 2009 will receive the following:

  • A 12% write down of the capital balance of their mortgage; and
  • A refund of the interest paid on the write-down.

Approximately 300 customers who came off their fixed rate between 10 October 2008 and 4 January 2009 will receive:

  • Redress based on a tracker margin of 1.45%-1.74%; and
  • A tracker rate with a margin of 1.45%-1.74 going forward.

The second Redress and Compensation Letter came about as a result of the below.

Background

On 10 October 2008, AIB announced that it was withdrawing tracker mortgage rates to all new mortgage applicants. Customers who took our their AIB mortgage before that date, and who had an entitlement in their contract to be offered a tracker rate at a later date were not supposed to be affected by AIB’s decision to withdraw tracker rates.

However, in many cases, AIB Tracker Mortgage Overcharging withdrew tracker rates for pre-October 2008 customers even though those customers were contractually entitled to be offered a tracker rate at a later date. As part of their first Redress and Compensation Scheme, AIB have admitted their ‘failure’ in that they withdrew tracker rates for those customers. Therefore, they breached many customers’ mortgage agreements / contracts.

In their Redress and compensation letters, they say that despite their ‘failure’ customers have suffered no loss as had they been offered a tracker rate by AIB (between October 2008 – December 2013), AIB estimate that the tracker rate would have averaged in or about 7.9% (AIB’s tracker margin of 6.9% + ECB at 1%).

Despite AIB maintaining that their customers suffered no loss, they offered to pay customers compensation in the sum of €1,000 for their ‘failure’ together with €615 towards professional legal advice. Thirdly and most crucially, AIB offer customers affected the option of moving onto their current ‘prevailing tracker interest rate’ which they say is 3.32% + ECB. This interest rate is higher than nearly all AIB’s variable and fixed rates.

AIB do not provide any documentation to corroborate the 7.9% or 3.32% + ECB which they say are the correct tracker rates. Fianna Fáil finance spokesman Michael McGrath has said that a‘7.9% tracker mortgage rate never existed; it has been manufactured to enable AIB to reach the conclusion that these customers suffered no loss’. He also went on to say that ‘the 7.9% rate is a concoction and it needs to be vigorously challenged by the Central Bank’.

Legal challenges to AIB’s First Redress and Compensation Scheme

In our opinion, AIB’s mortgage contracts entitle customers to a lower tracker margin in some cases. There is also a strong argument that as AIB unlawfully withdrew tracker rates, they should now afford their customers their last available tracker rate (1.5% + ECB) before they withdrew same.

We believe so strongly in this case, that we are taking a test case to the High Court against AIB seeking Orders from the Court that our clients:

  1. Were entitled to a tracker margin of 1.5% + ECB when their fixed rate expired in 2011.
  2. Are now entitled to this rate of 1.5% + ECB until the end of their mortgage.
  3. Compensation for every AIB Tracker Mortgage Overcharging repayment made over and about this rate.

Our test case remains with the Courts and is progressing towards trial.

In the interim, the Financial Services Ombudsman has recently decided a number of cases which similarly challenged AIB’s First Redress and Compensation Scheme, finding against AIB (see our quick links below for further information). AIB has accepted the FSPO’s decisions in full and will implement the decision through their Second Redress and Compensation Scheme for approximately 5,900 affected customers as set out above.

Common Questions & Answers

  1. We accepted AIB’s offer of compensation and their ‘prevailing tracker interest rate’. Is there any legal remedy open to us at this stage?

Yes. Regardless of whether or not you accepted the compensation offered and ‘prevailing tracker interest rate’, you can still pursue AIB Tracker Mortgage Overcharging for correct and additional compensation.

  1. We received a letter from AIB advising that they incorrectly have our mortgage on the higher rate and have overcharged us. However, they will not move our mortgage to the lower tracker rate straight away unless we complete and return the Mortgage Instruction Form and accept the compensation offered. Are they allowed to do this?

No. Regardless of whether or not you want to accept the compensation, AIB should immediately repay any arrears over charged and move your mortgage to the correct tracker rate. You should consult with your solicitor and seek advice from him or her as soon as possible.

  1. If I want to review my own mortgage account, what should I do?

Step 1– Request your file from AIB Bank using the Data Access Request form. Click here to download a copy Data Access Request Form. You should receive a copy of your file within 30 days.

Step 2– Arrange a consultation to meet with a specialist solicitor together with your AIB Tracker Mortgage Overcharging file.

If you have received a letter of Redress and Compensation or a similar letter from AIB, please contact our Niall Kiernan on niall@lawlorkiernan.ie or 01 872 5255.