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CHAPTER 1

GUILTY OF BEING NAIVE

1.3 The Mortgage Contract Documentation
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The first instalment of our mortgage was forwarded to our solicitor in the beginning of August 1991. (As we were building the house ourselves, we were to receive the mortgage loan amount in two instalments.) About the same time, we received Details of our Loan (see Appendix 1/5) from the First National Building Society Head Office and a letter, together with the First National Home-Way Mortgage Plan policy documentation (see Appendix 1/6), from Irish Life. This was the first communication we received from Irish Life.

The cover letter (Document 6A of Appendix 1/6), accompanying the policy documentation forwarded by Irish Life, contained the innocent line:

Please read the document carefully.

I now know that a warning such as Achtung Minen!, with accompanying ‘skull and crossbones’, would have been more appropriate to the policy documentation’s contents.

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The Policy Documentation forwarded by Irish Life consists of two separate ‘Irish Life’ headed documents.

The first document (Document 6B of Appendix 1/6) is ‘THE SCHEDULE’, a single page A4 size document titled FIRST NATIONAL HOME–WAY MORTGAGE PLAN, wherein are stipulated the specific monetary details relating to our Endowment Mortgage Policy ––– it is signed and officially stamp-sealed by Irish Life Assurance plc.

The second document (the contents of which are reproduced as Document 6C of Appendix 1/6) is a small (A5 size) booklet which is also titled The First National Home–Way Mortgage Plan. Its first page defines ‘THE CONTRACT’ as 'THE POLICY and THE PROPOSAL'; the Policy includes The Schedule and the Provisions, Privileges and Conditions. Its remaining pages comprise the said Provisions, Privileges and Conditions.

At the time, I read through the Policy Documentation and found both the wording and the interaction between the various elements to be very complicated. It was certainly Documentation that required an informed and detailed study, rather than just careful reading by the ordinary individual. As it stated in the policy Conditions that the policy had to be in force for at least 2 years before Encashment, and as I had no reason to be suspicious of either the First National Building Society or Irish Life, I gave the matter no further consideration.

 

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