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Financial Complaints

By: Thomas Muller - Updated: 22 Aug 2010 | comments*Discuss
Charges Complaints Financial Penalties

Banks are renowned for taking advantage of their customers but by imposing unfair charges on millions of account holders across Britain, people are being pushed into taking action.

Unfair Bank Charges

A major source of grievance for bank customers within the UK is the unfair charges imposed on them for small account problems such as unauthorised overdrafts, missed direct debits or bounced cheques.

Customers that fall into minor account difficulties have found their problems mounting when they are then subject to unacceptable financial penalties by their bank. Charges of over £20 for failed direct debits and £40 for unauthorised overdrafts have led to a large rise in the complaints from customers disgusted at the way they are being exploited and ripped off by their bank.

Unfair Regulations Act

The Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations act 1999 dictates that any charges must directly relate to administration costs. Banks are not allowed to make a profit out of their customers' financial difficulties and can be justifiably accused of behaving illegally if they do so.

Fighting Bank

This act has helped support the increasing number of customers that have been fighting back to reclaim the unfair charges levied by the banks. Banks have acknowledged the seriousness of the action by setting up special bank charge refund departments.

Every customer with a complaint about the unacceptable charges levied by their bank should asset their legal rights by taking action.

Sending the Bank a Letter of Complaint

They should firstly collect all the appropriate evidence that supports their claim such as bank statements documenting the appropriate period. If these have been lost over time then the bank is obliged to provide them under the Data Protection Act. A note of all the appropriate undue charges should then be made.

A formal letter asking for these charges to be refunded should then be sent to the bank, making sure to state the law regarding the matter and enclosing copies of all the supporting evidence.

Assessing the Bank’s Response

The bank will not always comply fully with the request. They may, for instance, offer a partial refund. However, this is not acceptable as the customer is not seeking a compromise, they are entitled to a full refund.

If the bank refuses to honour a full refund then the customer should threaten to take the matter to the county court, and then enter a claim at the Money Claim Online (MCOL) site.

Money Claim Online

Banks that do not give up at this point will have 14 days to respond to the action. Many will pay out the refund before the deadline but those that do persist with their resistance will be given a further two weeks to submit an outline case.

Banks may try to take retaliatory action themselves and threaten to close down the customer’s bank account, to which the latter can respond by setting up a new one with a different bank.

Warrant of Execution

If the bank still stubbornly refuses to comply then the final action is to fill out the N323 form on the Money Claim website, a move that is the equivalent to asking the county court for a warrant of execution. When this is approved, bailiffs are able to take items from the bank of corresponding value to the claim.

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