THE MONEY MEN­SCH

The Jewish Chronicle - - BUSINESS NEWS -

Award-win­ning TV and ra­dio pre­sen­ter Martin Lewis, best known for his MoneySaving­Ex­pert.com web­site, shares his cash-sav­ing tips with JC read­ers

Re­claim­ing bank charges I be­lieve any penalty charge for go­ing be­yond your over­draft, hav­ing a bounced cheque or di­rect debit, is un­law­ful. The banks’ view is dif­fer­ent, how­ever. Yet over the last year, we have seen a com­mon fi­nan­cial prob­lem bring about the first full-blown con­sumer revo­lu­tion I can re­call, and I am proud to have been in­volved in it since the early days. If you have had bank charges im­posed over the last six years, they may add up to hun­dreds or even thou­sands of pounds. Now the like­li­hood is that you can get your money back. The main law in ques­tion says any fines must be pro­por­tional to the cost in­curred, yet when a bank charges you £35, all it has re­ally done is dis­patched an au­to­mated let­ter with a stamp on it. My ar­gu­ment, there­fore, is that this is not pro­por­tional. Af­ter all, what does it re­ally cost? £1? £2? To get your money back, sim­ply write to the bank, point­ing out that if it doesn’t make the re­pay­ment, you will take the mat­ter to a small claims con­fer­ence. A stag­ger­ing num­ber of peo­ple get a pay­out at this stage. And if you do take them to court us­ing the in­ter­net mon­ey­claims sys­tem, the bank will al­most cer­tainly not put up a defence and you will win by de­fault. Since Novem­ber 15, over 300,000 tem­plate let­ters for pur­su­ing a claim have been down­loaded from my web­site. So the banks are un­der at­tack from all sides.

www.moneysaving­ex­pert.com

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