Can You Still Get Bank Charges Refunded?
You might have noticed recently that you can’t watch a television programme, read a newspaper or surf the Internet without coming across an advert for a company wanting to help you reclaim a mis sold ppi policy. I’m not complaining, it’s a scandal that needed to come to light and the banks should be held accountable for their dishonesty. What PPI Reclaiming does seem to have overshadowed though is the issue of reclaiming unreasonable or at the time ‘illegal’ bank charges. This craze died a death in 2009 when the supreme court ruled in favour of the banks in a huge long running court battle over the legality of these bank charges. As a result of this ruling many people now feel it’s no longer possible to reclaim bank charges. Is that true or is it still possible to reclaim bank charges or get single bank charges refunded?
Reclaim NO, Refund YES!
The supreme court may have effectively put an end to the culture of reclaiming bank charges with their 2009 ruling but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a bank charge or even a couple of charges that have been applied to your account refunded! Many Banks have now reduced the fees they charge for things like going overdrawn, being over an agreed overdraft limit or returning a direct debit but these charges can still add up. The good news is there might still be a chance you could get these charges refunded with one phone call to your bank. Your bank is not likely to refund a bank charge at the first time of asking though so here’s how to go about it.
Explain The Circumstances
The first thing to explain is the circumstance surrounding the charge, there may have been a mix up with a direct debit or a debit card payment may have sent you overdrawn without your knowledge. A bank has a responsibility to treat customers fairly, something which they are taking a lot more seriously since having to repay billions in bank charges and PPI claims. If a genuine mistake has occurred resulting in a charge, your bank might kindly offer to refund the charge as a goodwill gesture. If you’re unsure of why the charge has been applied to your account be sure to tell them! Make your bank explain the reason for the charge and if you still feel it’s unreasonable then dispute it. Again you might find them more than willing to refund the bank charge as a goodwill gesture.
What If A Bank Still Refuses To Refund?
If a bank is still refusing to refund a bank charge tell them you wish to make a complaint as you feel the charge is unreasonable due to the circumstances. A lot of people feel embarrassed to make a complaint, DON’T BE! In the world that we live, making an official complaint is often the only way your dispute will be taken seriously.
You might find you have to spend 20 minutes on the phone talking to several different bank departments to get your bank charges refunded. Your persistence will seem worth it when you have the bank charges refunded to your account the next day. How many times in your life might one phone call be worth £20, £50 or even £100?
If they still Refuse?
If after you’ve stated your case and made a complaint the bank still refuses to refund your banks charges, depending on the amounts involved I’d be tempted to give it up at this point. As we’ve said, the supreme court ruled in favour of the banks with regards to the legality of these charges in November 2009. If you’re in financial hardship you might still be able to reclaim the bank charges through the Financial Ombudsman Service. You have to ask yourself at this point though if the amounts involved are worth the time and hassle.
Whenever I’ve dealt with a bank in recent years I’ve never had to go past the point of making a complaint to get a charge refunded. In some cases the bank has even compensated me for the cost of the call and time I’ve spent complaining! If it did go past this point though I’d be tempted to write it off as a lost cause as much as it goes against my nature.