Stamp Duty Problems

Discussion in 'Legal Issues' started by bodybuilder, 11th Jun, 2009.

  1. bodybuilder

    bodybuilder Member

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    Hi, I was wondering if anyone had any tips/advice for my predicament...

    I recently purchased my first PPOR. I received the first home buyers grant of $14K from the federal govt. I was also entitled to a $3K grant from my state govt (Victoria). However, instead of getting the grant from my state govt I applied for stamp duty exemption as I have a Department of Veteran Affairs Health Care Card.

    The list of the cards accepted are on the State Revenue Office's website listed here: http://www.sro.vic.gov.au/sro/SROWebSite.nsf/taxes_firsthome_concession.htm

    My card is not the "gold card" listed, however it falls under the category of "Health Care Card (Centrelink or Veterans’ Affairs)". I rang the State Revenue Office to confirm I was eligible. I was told yes. I printed out the form to fill in, yet the form only lists "gold card" and "health care card (centrelink)", it doesn't say Veterans Affairs health care card. I rang them back speaking to a different person, and was told I was not eligible. I was told by my mortgage broker to call again as I had received 2 different answers. I called again (speaking to a 3rd person), this time I was told they weren't sure, but to fill out the form and try anyway, as the worst that could happen is that it is denied.

    A few weeks before settlement I got a call from my mortgage broker stating it had been accepted. As you can imagine I was very happy. Settlement was 8 weeks ago and went fine and I moved into my home.

    Then on Tuesday I received a call from my conveyencer stating that my application for Stamp Duty Exemption had been denied and I'd need to pay for it. I didn't understand, as I had already been told by my Mortgage Broker that it had been approved. I was also wondering why this was an issue now, and how settlement actually took place if there were a problem.

    I rang the State Revenue Office and they told me they only accept the Department of Veteran Affairs Gold card, as listed on the application form. However their website clearly states that it accepts my card too. But they wouldn't listen.

    I then called my Mortgage broker to find out why the hell I was told my Stamp Duty Exemption was approved if it hadn't been. According to their notes, the CBA (my mortgage provider) told my Mortgage Broker that it had been approved. They also have the name of the CBA person who told them this. They called the CBA to find out what happened. The CBA merely said it was a mistake on that persons behalf, and he should not have told my mortgage broker my exemption had been accepted.

    The reason it took so long for anyone to realise this is because apparently it takes the State Revenue Office 6-12weeks to finalise Stamp Duty on properties.

    I was told by my mortgage broker that because I'm not eligible for the stamp duty exemption, I would be entitled to the $3K grant from my state govt and a slight concession as the house is my PPOR. However this still leaves me out of pocket close to $8K. I asked my Mortgage Broker why I should have to pay when it was clearly the mistake of the CBA. I was told they "empathize" with me, and that they highly doubted CBA would pay for the mistake, being such a "big bank".

    They even stated they would not go into bat for me against CBA. It seems that my mortgage broker has received their commission and no longer gives a flying toss. I paid my conveyencer almost $1K, yet seeing as they have received the money and attended settlement, they won't help either.

    I am now going to visit my mortgage broker and demand a print out of all my notes/files, and take it to CBA. Then ask CBA to fix their mistake, because I sure as hell am not going to fork out $8K for their incompetence.

    Everything I do financially is through CBA - I have streamline account, 2 savings accounts, credit card, house insurance, my commsec trading account, and of course my mortgage. Would threatening to take all my business elsewhere act in my favour? Or am I too small to matter?

    Anyone that has any ideas/tips/advice, it would be greatly appreciated. Cheers.
     
  2. wylie

    wylie Member

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    What about a quick call to the banking ombudsman?
     
  3. bodybuilder

    bodybuilder Member

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    I went to my mortgage broker and had them print the file of the details of CBA stating the stamp duty exemption had been approved. However this isn't even an issue, because when I spoke to CBA, my case manager admitted the person made a mistake and it was never approved in the first place. Yet they are still saying I have to fork out the extra money when they admit an employee of theirs made the mistake.

    I told the case manager I would contact the banking/financial ombudsman and/or take my loan elsewhere, she didn't seem too phased. However the person in charge of loans at my local branch wasn't happy about that and wants the issue resolved and made an appointment with me to see him next week (I don't know how he could fix this?). Basically they can cough up the $8K for their mistake (which is only about 6 months worth of my mortgage's interest), or I take my loan elsewhere and they'll lose hundreds of thousands in interest.

    I'm drafting a letter to my local state member about the State Revenue Office declining my exemption when my card is clearly on their website, and will also write to the banking/financial ombudsman.
     
  4. Rolf Latham

    Rolf Latham Member

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    One test will be

    Would you have gone ahead with the purchase if the exemption did not apply ?

    ta
    rolf
     
  5. bodybuilder

    bodybuilder Member

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    I still would have purchased the property if I knew the exemption did not apply, but that is beside the point.
     
  6. Rolf Latham

    Rolf Latham Member

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    By all means give it a go with the Ombudsmans service.........they can be quite helpful.

    From a recent case where we got involved, the core issue that they may look at............have you suffered actual financial loss as a result of the stuff up.

    More to the point I believe your primary beef isnt with the bank, but with the OSR information being incorrect. Quite likley the bank acted in reliance of the same information you were provided with.

    ta
    rolf
     
  7. bodybuilder

    bodybuilder Member

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    Thanks for your reply Rolf.

    I am meeting with the head of the loans department of my local CBA next week. If the issue is not resolved by then, I'll definitely be contacting the banking/financial ombudsman.

    You are correct re: State Revenue Office. I have sent a letter to my local state member of parliament to see if they can help with the issue, as I can't see any reason why my application was denied when my card is clearly on their website.

    Cheers.
     
  8. wylie

    wylie Member

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    Take a screen shot of the website, just in case they change it.
     
  9. Token Funder

    Token Funder Token Funder

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    VIC OSR provides SD assistance for people holding (a) a Pensioner Concession Card or (b) a Centrelink Health Care Care Card or (c) a Department of Veteran's Affairs Gold Card.

    Unless I have mis-read your post, it would appear you weren't ever entitled to the discount.