Losing our tracker contributed to my stroke, doctor said
Thomas (49) and Claire Ryan, who live near Wexford town, have three children. They had tracker mortgages with Permanent TSB for their home and an investment property. They lost their trackers in 2009.
"In September 2006 we fixed our tracker for three years," said Thomas. "The contract entitled us to go back to a tracker rate when the fixed term expired. In January 2009, I heard PTSB customers could break out of their expensive fixed rates without paying any penalty. That seemed to be too good to be true so I called the bank, who confirmed it. I was never advised that we would lose our right to a tracker. And that was that. A 10-minute phone call followed by a fax, and we lost our right to a tracker for the full term of our mortgage.
"When we realised what had happened, we took a claim to the Financial Services Ombudsman. They rejected it, so we took it to the High Court. During the appeal, it came out that PTSB had a recording of the phone call in which I was told there were no penalties for breaking out of the fixed rate early, which the ombudsman hadn't heard. The High Court found in our favour. But everything has been delayed by PTSB's appeals and six years later we are still being overcharged.
"This whole episode has put a huge strain on my finances and on my health. As a family, we feel mentally and physically destroyed by PTSB. We had built up a college fund for our three children. That has been wiped out completely by the overcharging. In 2013, I had a stroke. My doctors have said that the pressure of this case was a significant contributory factor. Luckily, I have made a good recovery."