BHW check by mail. Should you cash it in?
Currently, many BHW customers receive a check. If you accept the cancellation by cashing the check?
The building societies currently want to get rid of as many old customers as quickly as possible. Just as with banks and savings banks, the building societies also want to cancel old contracts in which customers were promised relatively high interest rates of 3 or more percent by today’s standards. Also for building societies* it becomes by the historically low interest to still serve these old contracts ever more heavily.
In the past, this was good business for the building societies, since the promised interest rates were not so lavish by the standards of the time. It came with the building savings more on the allocation of a relatively favorable building credit. But many customers used their building savings contract as a kind of financial investment. What a few years ago yielded relatively little, but guaranteed the building societies good income, has now become a real alternative for customers. 3 per cent or more one finds today with the investment of funds hardly still. In order to achieve this, one would have to invest in shares or similar, but live with a higher risk. Owners of old building savings contracts do not have this risk and still collect the promised interest.
But hardly it runs for the building societies in contrast to their customers rather suboptimal, already they want to know from their earlier promises nothing more. Therefore many building societies simply cancel such old contracts. Legally, however, this is questionable.
Send the check by mail
BHW does not make an exception. Also it wants to terminate old contracts with high interest promises for the building savers as fast as possible. Many customers received therefore already the notice. This triggered a wave of indignation among BHW customers, but also among those of other building societies, since they had been promised the promised interest rate in the contracts practically forever. They do not want to accept a notice therefore.
Building savings as an investment
Therefore the BHW tries it now apparently with a trick. It sends the terminated customers a settlement check for their credit balance. Probably in the hope that customers will cash this check and thus practically accept the cancellation of the building savings contract.
Do not cash the check
The Consumer Advice Center of North Rhine-Westphalia advises all BHW home savings customers who receive such a check from BHW not to cash it. Otherwise BHW could claim this as the customer’s consent to the termination of the building savings contract.
Lawyers are however different opinion. Who contradicted its notice in writing, expresses also with the cashing of the cheque no acknowledgment of the notice. This also applies to lawsuits already filed or ombudsman proceedings initiated.
Only those who first cash the check and then object to the cancellation are likely to have a problem. Then BHW will certainly construct forfeiture or abuse of rights from this and the termination of the building society contract is effective.
So there is every reason not to cash BHW’s check.
Keep the check safe
However, the check should be kept in a safe place and should not be returned to the building society under any circumstances. This BHW check is a crossed check. It can be cashed by anyone who comes into its possession. If the check is cashed by strangers, then the money is definitely gone.
Therefore, it is essential to keep the check in a safe place and to inform BHW in writing of the objection to the termination of the building savings contract.
If BHW does not agree, customers have the option of initiating an ombudsman procedure or taking legal action against BHW. As one saw at the wrongly terminated high interest contracts of the savings banks, such a complaint might have a very high chance of success.