Murdo Urquhart had a c-store for six years in Elgin, Moray, Aberdeenshire. He says that he had a mortgage with Clydesdale Bank and they went out of their way to destroy his business because they wanted to realise their assets.
According to him, they did a range of things. First off, they told Scottish Hydro that he was “a deceased customer”. He discovered his death when Scottish Hydro wrote with condolences and asking if the business wished to continue under a different arrangement.
Then, when he paid in £110, the bank recorded it as a debit. There were also card payments for what appeared to be someone else’s holiday.
Murdo was called to attend court as a material witness after a man he sold a bottle of vodka to went on to commit a serious offence. But the bank told him he could not close the shop. There being no one else to run it, he did close it and attended, and says the bank put his mortgage up by 1.1% (from 5.5% to 6.6%) as a “punishment”. He stopped paying it and the bank took him to court. He defended it himself and says the court was sympathetic, but told him he “would have to sue the bank for what they did to us”.
He went to the ombudsman and although she asked the bank some questions, she did not have the power to cross-examine. So essentially he got nowhere.
Now he says he is going to sue the bank - a DIY job. He and his wife now live rent free with their son and, if he loses, he will declare bankruptcy. He says: “You can’t get blood out of a stone.”
Clydesdale now has the shop and he thinks they are going to sell it.
It sounds to me as though this could come down to more cock-up than conspiracy, but they have treated him harshly.
I urged Murdo to get some legal advice, because when they took him to court before he didn’t win, and if he takes them to court they will certainly get professional defence.
A lawyer will be able to at least work out his chances. I know lawyers are not free, but he could start with free advice from Citizens Advice Scotland.
I also think he should approach his local newspaper as his is quite a story.