Posted by Paul

Last November I was fuming when I opened a letter from my bank stating: "We acknowledge receipt of your complaint about bank charges. We believe though that the charges are fair, transparent and lawful."

What bunkum!

According to the BBC, the cost of employing a bank clerk to bounce a cheque is not more than £2 each time a customer goes overdrawn.

For a task that costs less than £2 to accomplish, some banks clobber customers with an outrageous £40 charge, and then have the gall to call such behaviour "fair".

Obscene would be more fitting.

I was cock-a-hoop though this morning when I breezed into the office to discover the latest development.

A judge has decided that the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) can apply consumer contract regulations to decide if bank overdraft charges are fair or not.

Mr Justice Andrew Smith said the judgement did not necessarily mean the charges were unfair.

It may take months, but it is surely now only a matter of time until billions of pounds are returned, rightfully, to those who have been grossly overcharged.

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42 Responses to Payback

  1. sharon says:

    I reclaimed my bank charges last year, i was,nt sure how much i had to claim for but i wrote to my bank anyway, i got advice from the gmtv website, where theres a link to a site "martins bank charges reclaiming guide" this site was easy to use and understand, and using one of their professional letter templates i wrote to the bank, i had a reply within seven days saying they were dealing with the claim, after about six weeks i had a letter back informing me that all charges were being refunded as a gesture of goodwill, i was really pleased and i am still happy to continue banking with HSBC, really good customer service. 

  2. kim says:

    im still in a bit of a quwandry does this mean now that we are now getting the charges back its a bit confusing but i hope so it will help me out.

  3. Pratab says:

    Let\’s put it another way. Do you travel in a Limousine and when you get to your destination say "Hey driva, wassup init. Dis fare is unfair. A taxi would have cost me liss. Dawg"You don\’t do you! You payed for the privilege of luxury and booze and a headache for the driver to get it into your council estate.Likewise the non-agreed overdraft is a luxury. What banks should do is bounce any transaction that goes beyond the agreed overdraft.So, do we set the OFT onto the Limousine hiring companies and make sure that a trip would cost the same as if it were traveled in an ordinary taxi.There are responsible people like me. Who make sure that each
    month we have enough money to spend in our account and should we not.
    We ensure that we only go into the agreed overdraft. And if that\’s not possible we make cuts elsewhere.
    If I were to go over the overdraft I would be willing to foot the bill for my irresponsibility.People should learn to be more responsible with money.

  4. Pratab says:

    [blog writer says]>> those who have been grossly overcharged.Dear "To all those who have been grossly overcharged"Please learn to manage your finances better.

  5. Jonathan says:

    FAO: PHIA. I found your comments a bit judgmental to say the least, suggesting that those incurring the most bank charges probably live on council estates. The problem with the banks is that they are just as troublesome. They\’ll deliberately allow customers to go a few pounds over their credit card limits purely for the purpose of getting charge fees. And how they can charge £38 for a bounced cheque is just insane.
    And PHIA, if you are so good with your money and so clever and responsible you really ought to know that it is "PAID" and not "PAYED".

  6. Pratab says:

    I admit, my example may have been unfair and my slang came from the Ghetto (where I lived once). Statistics show that the majority of people incurring these charges are not actually living in council estates.The people really (or just) hard up actually fear going overdrawn, many do not even have bank accounts. The people who do incur these "excessive" charges are working class* and a small proportion of people born into well-to-do families.*(I\’m working class)None the less my limo example stands.I\’ll put it another way.Do you say to the "Organic-free range-soil association approved-RSPCA approved chicken farmer". "Hey farmer, why does your chicken cost twice as much as the other farmer, who coops his birds up in a small house, your charges are unfair?"Think about this. Bank workers are people. (some probably incur the same charges you folk do). Each year they demand pay rises. The banks\’ are profit making organisations not charities. So, they need to get money from somewhere to pay their employees and they get it by good investments and charging people for going overdrawn.More examples:Take a 42in T.V made by Sony which costs one thousand pounds and one made by Toshiba of the same dimensions and claiming to be of the same resolution and contrast for a fraction of the price. Do you say "Mr Sony it is unfair to charge such a high price when Toshiba do it for less." ?FAO: Jonathan.(a) The whole "if you are so…" is petty and childish.(b) Being able to spell or use grammar correctly is mutually exclusive of managing ones finances.(c) You are one of these people who incurs these charges. Did they not refund the £38 for your bounced cheque?

  7. Pratab says:

    FAO Jonathan:(d) >>…suggesting that those incurring the most bank charges probably live on council estates.If the example suggested anything. It suggested that people who use limousines live in council estates.

  8. Unknown says:

    Brilliant news.  i have only received a letter from HSBC in July/August last year to say that the cases were going to Court.  Does anyone have any advice,given the latest developments, as to what I can or should do next to keep the pressure on my branch to refund me as well? 

  9. charlie says:

    Phia…. your completely missing the point mate… the banks are only by law allowed to make charges which cover their costs….. the problem is they have ignored that and seen it as an easy way to make money. They make Billions not Millions in profit each year and if they have to pay that back then so be it… its not like they are going to go bust!  Ah and for your information since you clearly are a clever chappy who manages his finances well…. when you go over your agreed limit… they do bounce the cheque AND charge you……… so as has happend to me a payment which would have put me 5 pounds into the red was refused… and then the bank charged me 38 to do it… putting me 33 pounds over my limit anyway!  Please explain the logic in that Phia

  10. bates says:

    Phia –
    1) If your taxi driver charges you an extortionate amount for your trip do you pay it, or point out it\’s over the top?
    If you pay it, then you have more money than sense.
    2) If you have very little to live on, and every month involves a balancing act with small amounts to balance with, then it\’s a whole lot easier to go overdrawn – £5 for your kids school trip that you weren\’t expecting, pushes you over your budget instantly, and hence over your overdraft.  Then you are charged 6 times that and next month you are already behind.
    3) Not everyone has the obvious perfect money balancing skills that you do, there are alot of people out there who struggle with money, finances etc.  Including the elderly, people with learning difficulties, or just regular folk who were never brilliant at maths.  They may however be more understanding then you are, but hell, we\’re all different.
    4) Banks, like your other large organisations, make alot of money on us.  Microsoft for example is a classic.  When there is that sort of money, held by one company, it\’s no wonder there\’s poverty elsewhere in the world.
    I say, if we can stop one group from making excessive money, just for the hell of it, it\’s a good start.

  11. Joe says:

    I don\’t know why people get so cross about people who stay within agreed limits and don\’t get charged.  I don\’t have an overdraft, or a credit card, my husband and I only buy what we can afford and we are raising two children.  I have occasionally had bank charges, when the electricity company took the money out two days before they had agreed to, which happened two months running and all charges were repaid by the electricity company, but my husband – god bless his insufferable soul has never, ever been charged in all of his banking life.  I don\’t think he\’s special, or a whizz at maths or anything, he\’s just careful and always leaves a little bit back for the unexpected.  Before anyone suggests it – he\’s on a mimimum wage supermarket job and I have a part-time evening job, so we aren\’t super rich either!

  12. Peter says:

    "According to the BBC, the cost of employing a bank clerk to bounce a cheque is not more than £2 each time a customer goes overdrawn. "
    How much does it cost to put a ticket on a car parked on a double yellow line? if that was just £2 each time would it stop you from parking there?..No?
    the charges are a deterrent if they werent there what would stop you from always going over your unarranged borrowing?

  13. Rob says:

    After reading everyone\’s comments and especially Phia\’s I feel that I must comment.
    I got married some 20 years ago, my wife and I raised our 3 children mainly on one income. My wife entered into higher education and gained a degree, I worked and gained an HNC, all the time paying bills, mortgage etc. The wife got a well paid job, we wanted the best for our family so we upgraded to a bigger, better house away from the incoming scum that were moving into our neighborhood.
    The point is: It is in some people\’s nature to aspire to better things, to climb the ladder and yes I have bank charges that I am claiming back and no I am not a council tenant, just unfortunate that in life things don\’t go as planned-just because I want the better things in life for my family. If I could I wouldn\’t use a bank, but today\’s lifestyle demands it. Phia, if you are a so-called "responsible" person who would gullably pay the bank charges if you went overdrawn etc, would you know the difference between giving a stranger money and being mugged? Phia do not assume that people from council estates or from low income families are people with overdrawn bank accounts or people with my ideals, the situation is "across the board"- from "alpha to epsilon".
    There, nuff said.

  14. Adam Whittaker says:

    Peter said: the charges are a deterrent if they werent there what would stop you from always going over your unarranged borrowing?You might think that but they are administration fees, as detailed in your banking contract and as such by law they cannot be profitable.Phia said:
    If I were to go over the overdraft I would be willing to foot the bill for my irresponsibility.It is not a bill for irresponsibility, it is an admin fee. Quite why you assume that people go overdrawn is beyond me. Do you have any evidence you can cite or is it a statistic you pulled out of your butt?It\’s interesting that you say that people should learn to manage their money better. Where would the learn this? It is not taught in schools and the banks offer no help. It\’s a shame you\’re so ready to hand over your money to the bank. The reality is that the banks are not permitted to make the law up so that is up to the courts and they have ruled. Now crawl back in to your Marxist ideology and read a book or two.

  15. Michael says:

    If the banks charges are so exorbitant why do so many of their customers rack them up with such monotonous regularity? In days of yore would they have queued up to be serially robbed at pistol point by Dick Turpin? 
    I seem to recall a line from the Magnificent Seven to the effect that ‘’If God had not intended them to be fleeced he would not have made them sheep.’’ I can hear an awful lot of bleating going on at the moment.

  16. sally says:

    Brilliant news, Lloyds Bank owes me about £700

  17. John says:

    That the banks lost round one is great. I cannot have any sympathy with the banks. Why do they still take 3 -4 days to clear receipts and payments – If Scandinavia can do it in 4 hours why cant the UK?. Money on which our banks can earn interest on the overnight markets for a few days?
    That it costs anywhere near 2 pounds I very much doubt. In computer systems the banks are world leaders yet they seam to bleat when their greed is found out.
    I am still astounded that our government (WE) bailed out the banks because of their irresponsible lending and reckless greed.
    I truly hope that the OFT do a thorough review of what it actually costs with the bank\’s advanced computer systems to return or reject any charge through insufficient funds.
    By the way I do not have any overdraft and thankfully have gained financial security but it still irritates me when I want to transfer large sums I cannot do it by internet access but have to call the bank and pay 25 or 50 for the privelege of transferring my own money.
    I have a lot of sympathy for those charged. It is easy to go beyond facilities. Most people dont know their balance to the penny and cant be expected to monitor and reconcile every day so sooner or later exceeding a limit is likely to happen. Any person who doesnt probably is managing their finances by keeping a very large sum in a current account that pays derisory interest rates and earns their bankers a fortune. 
    It is being said that since the banks may lose the right to levy these excessive charges they will probably start charging for current accounts. Questions – Will they at this stage give us immediate clearing?. Will they give us higher interest rates on current account balances? I wonder.
    I don\’t have a problem with current account charging if the banks add value but since I do all the transactions via the internet and recive nothing more than their computer system keeping the records the the clearing delay and derisory interest rates on current accounts more than compensate them.

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