Have you been mis-sold a packaged bank account?

Are you paying unnecessary bank account charges for services you don´t need such as travel or phone insurance, or vehicle breakdown cover? These services exist for banks to make money, and in many cases customers can´t actually use them.

If you think you’ve been mis-sold a packaged bank account you can make a claim and could receive back all the payments you’ve made, plus interest. This can add up to hundreds of pounds.

What is a packaged bank account?

A packaged bank account offers a number of ‘free’ services, such as insurance. The reality is the bank charges a fee, usually of up to £25 per month, which means you are actually paying for the service, as well as for having the bank account. Add up your packaged bank account charges over a year and you could be using that money to pay for an insurance policy you would actually benefit from.

You may be paying for services you don’t need and will never use, when all you really want is to have a bank account. Why should you pay for the privilege of putting your money into a particular bank?

These accounts are often given fancy names such as ‘premium’, ‘gold’ or ‘silver’, and you may have been sold the account by a member of bank staff as if you were an exclusive customer. However, take away the grand names and extras and you’re left with a basic bank account that probably has additional products that you will never benefit from.

If you feel you’ve been mis-sold a bank account package you can make a complaint and could be reimbursed for the payments you’ve made.

This could add up to hundreds of pounds, so it´s worth checking to see if you were misled by your bank when you opened your account.

Can I make a claim for my packaged bank account?

Yes, if you believe you were misguided into taking out policies that you don´t actually benefit from or need, or of which conditions change once you have signed up for the policy. Examples of this could be:

  • Travel policies with age limitations. For example you have reached the upper age limit of the policy you were talked into and the policy is no longer valid. Therefore you have to spend more money taking out a new policy
  • Roadside assistance that stated it would include more than one person and then changes to just including you.
  • You have to sign up for a packaged bank account to get a mortgage with the bank.
  • You are told your credit score will improve if you agree to a packaged bank account.
  • Your car or phone is stolen and you cannot make a claim as you were not informed you had to register the item.
  • You were offered cheap loans or an overdraft that you have not needed.
  • You cannot cancel the ‘benefits’ once you have opened the account.
  • Fees on the account are increased without informing you.
  • You were put under pressure by a sales person who made you feel uncomfortable and that you should open the account.

How do I claim compensation for my mis-sold packaged bank account?

The first thing you should do if you think you were mis-sold a packaged account by your bank is to cancel the account and ask to change to a non-fee paying account. The bank should not question this and should respect your wishes.

If you cancel your account you can still make a claim.

Next you must make a complaint to your bank. This will involve a little work on your part as you will need to track your account back to when you started to pay the unnecessary fees and add them up. There is no limit to how far back you can go, but the further back you want to claim for the longer your claim may take.

You will also need to gather any information you may have as to why you think the package has been mis-sold. This could be rejection letters from insurance companies or evidence of increased fees.

Then you need to write a letter to your bank explaining that you feel you were mis-sold the account and why (for example the insurance policies don´t apply to you). Write the letter in a clear and simple way, you don´t have to use formal language. If you’re not sure what to write search the internet for ‘template letter for mis-sold packaged bank account’, and tailor the letters you find to your situation.

Your bank should then reply to you in writing. They will either accept or reject your complaint. If your mis-sold packaged bank account claim is rejected don´t give up. You can now go to the next stage and complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service. This will not be held against you with the bank and will not affect your credit rating. 

You must complete a form to do this, which can be found on the Ombudsman website at:

http://www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk/default.htm

The Ombudsman will make an unbiased opinion as to whether they think your complaint is valid and will advise you of the outcome.

Don´t be afraid to make a claim for being mis-sold a packaged bank account

You’re not alone in feeling you were misled by your bank and they have taken money from you unfairly. This is one of the most common complaints the Financial Ombudsman Service receives today.

 

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