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ombudsman news

issue 47

July 2005

about this issue

In this issue we outline our general approach to disputes where banking firms have paid out on cheques that have forged signatures. The disputes we see cover a wide variety of circumstances. Increasingly, however, we are seeing cases where firms argue that the forgeries were made with the collusion of the accountholder – whose cheque book (often accompanied by credit and bank cards) may have been stolen "by arrangement" in exchange for money. Our case studies include that of a woman whose former partner stole a cheque from her cheque book when he moved out of her flat. After he withdrew £1,000 from her account by forging her signature on the cheque, the firm refused to refund the money, saying she should have kept the cheque book locked up.

Following on from our article on market value adjustments (MVAs) in issue 38 of ombudsman news, we set out our approach to cases where an MVA is already in place at the time the investment advice is given. This is illustrated with case studies, including that of a man seeking investment advice who was warned that an MVA might apply "in exceptional circumstances" to the fund in which he was investing, but not that an MVA had recently been applied.

Finally, in an article on aspects of legal expenses insurance, we explain our approach to complaints arising from an insurer’s decision not to meet a claim for the funding of legal proceedings.

Walter Merricks, chief ombudsman

ombudsman news issue 47 [PDF format]

ombudsman news gives general information on the position at the date of publication. It is not a definitive statement of the law, our approach or our procedure.

The illustrative case studies are based broadly on real-life cases, but are not precedents. Individual cases are decided on their own facts.