Have you ever had in an old or current account with a bank, and paid bank charges for operating the account on a monthly basis? They are called either Personal Bank Account Charges or abbreviate PBA Charges. The type of fees are charged monthly and range from about £10 per month to £25 or £30 per month. They are sold as a useful benefit and include I most cases travel insurance, phone insurance and possibly breakdown cover.
Yes the cover can be very useful and if you would use the elements in the account package and you understand what you are signing up for then the account package is worthwhile. Personally I have a packaged account and use the facilities on it and it works out cheaper, but that’s me and I knew what I was signing up for and the cost of the elements.
The problem is that again the banks take a product and rather than promoting it to clients for the client to make an informed decision they ram it down people’s necks, don’t explain the cover, don’t establish if the cover is of benefit to the client or whether the client would be excluded from any parts of the PBA package that is on offer. The bank does not offer any alternatives. Instead the banks still missell by steam rolling a client into taking the account despite it being inappropriate or establishing if they client has cover elsewhere or offering alternative accounts which do not have a charge applied.
So how would you know if the account charge that you have been paying can be reclaimed? Firstly you may have had a charge applied but you changed account or moved bank so the fee is no longer taken. There is no problem if this is the case if you have been charged a packaged account fee and the account has been closed or the account has been transferred to a fee free account you can still look at reclaiming the fees. The ability to obtain a refund is not just with current operating accounts.
If you have in the past or if you now pay the packaged account fee and would like to look at reclaiming the fee we can look at doing so on a no win no fee basis. We contact the bank to establish if you have paid any fees and the type of fees are recoverable. If they are we then look at obtaining a refund. This may not always be possible as in the past you could have used the cover which could mean you benefitted. If this was the case and the bank agreed a refund it would be minus the financial benefit that you obtained.
In any refund we look at a full refund of charges applied as well as interest accrued since the fees were applied, the bank would then look at calculating compensatory interest on the two amounts to the present day. Of course if there is no refund then there would be no fee to pay as we work on a no win no fee basis, where on any successful refund our fee would be 25% including the VAT.
After the recent scandals that the banks have faced and that have included Endowment misselling, excess bank charges although the banks were able to claim later that the fees for going over your account were justified, missold payment Protection Insurance through to rigging of interest rates and the many other scams and schemes that they involve themselves in to make vast sums of money to the detriment of you their clients.
The sad reality is that we treat the banks behaviour as normal, perhaps rolling our eyes when another news item comes on, what we now almost take for granted is that most if not all of the cases of misselling or bad behaviour is a criminal act. For instance the misselling of PPI is fraud, as it is a case of the bank obtaining a pecuniary advantage by deception, the interest rate rigging has led to criminal charges, but criminal charges are very infrequent. I can only image that the banks don’t face criminal prosecution on a lot of their bad behaviour as who would the police investigate the bank? the senior executives or the staff who are told what to do under threat of the sack?
Without the correct action, namely criminal prosecution and without a strong regulator who takes strong action to avoid these scandals, rather than being there to hand out fines after the scandals have occurred and the banks clients have suffered I cannot see the banks ever stopping. In fact you can see the next scandals coming with the misselling of mortgages in the past, the misselling of Investments and the advice that clients received or didn’t as the case may be and of course the selling of Pensions as a result of the new regulations coming out, which means people can cash part of their pension at 55.
So do not feel alone if you have not made a claim or if you are reluctant to make a claim as it is certainly worthwhile. The missale of the packaged bank account is just another example of the banks greed. Why do they need to make a product and then tell people they must have it, why do they have a product that may not be appropriate to all and why do they always target their normal personal account holders so hard when they have no right to.
The banks have to adhere to strict guidelines in the way they sell or promote products, not that it is ever evident of course, and sadly the powers that be at the banks appear to have such contempt for their clients that they think nothing of taking money from them when they have no right to.