Unfair Bank Charges - Bank Charges Rights

By: James Quinton

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The bank should send you a reply within two weeks. If it doesn't, write again and make a phone call straight away. The best result at this stage is the bank deciding to give you a full refund, if it offers only a partial refund, refuse it and write back demanding payment in full.

Alternatively, the bank may send you a letter saying it will respond at a later date. If so, write and call back, stating that a set two-week period has already passed and if you do not hear a definitive answer within a further 14 days you will take court action.

Bank Action says in half of cases the bank will bluff and write back claiming the charges are not unlawful. Increasingly banks are replying to customers saying that they are mistaken and cannot reclaim their fees in an attempt to bluff them into not taking action.

At this point you are moving from writing letters to initiating legal action. Visit Bank Charges Hell and Consumer Action Group's websites and see what people have to say. Their experience is that this action works, and both have others' experiences and cases that form precedents. Be aware from now on you will incur the cost of starting a claim. But as long as you claim less than ?5,000, in the unlikely event of actually going to court, it will be heard in the small claims court, where you will not be held liable for the bank's legal costs.

If you are going to take court action open an alternative current account in case the bank subsequently tries to close your one with them. Also consider switching any personal loans.

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