Bank on these ways to reclaim unfair fees
HOW CAN you reclaim money taken unfairly from you — £100s, £1,000s or even £10,000s? Here are some useful Q&As.
Do you pay, or have you paid, a monthly fee for your bank account? These products can be a great way to get free insurance. But, for instance, if you got a packaged bank account because a bank upgraded you, or said there was no choice but to get one, there’s a decent chance you were missold the product. A typical example includes being upgraded to “free travel insurance”, yet not being told you are excluded on grounds of age or pre-existing conditions. Or being told, as many are, that the account is the only way to get a larger overdraft.
Take action. My campaign on this has been been a slow burner. When I first launched it in January last year, successes were few and far between. Now people contact me almost daily telling me they’re getting their fees back. Full help at www.mse.me/packagedaccounts.
Have you switched energy provider in the past six years? If you were in credit when you left your former supplier, many energy firms effectively operate a “don’t ask, don’t get” policy — and most people don’t ask.
The regulator estimates the big six alone owe 3.5 million people £200 million in total. Just call up your old provider and ask. As PST wrote in my forum: “I switched from EDF last October and they hadn’t refunded my credit, which was nearly £200. Plus they agreed to pay me £25 for not refunding in a timely manner.”
Have you racked up big fees for going beyond your overdraft limit? It can cost you £5 a day or up to £25 per transaction, and for those in difficult circumstances, add up to thousands over the years.
Reclaiming bank charges was a huge campaign I was involved in back in 2006 with six million template letters downloaded and £1 billion returned. Then it was overturned on a technical decision at the Supreme Court. Yet rumours of the death of bank charge reclaiming have been greatly exaggerated. However, now the charges need to have contributed to real financial hardship for reclaiming to be possible. Free help in www.mse.me/ bankcharges.
Are you in a higher council tax band than neighbours in similar homes?
Back in 1991, in a panic to replace the hugely unpopular poll tax, the government ordered home valuations to be done on the fly for the new council tax. In England and Scotland, they’ve never been redone, leaving up to 400,000 homes in the wrong band.
If you think your council tax band is too high, you can get it lowered and receive a backdated payout. But a word of caution. Don’t request this speculatively as your band can also be raised. First check whether you’re in a higher band to neighbours in similar properties, then see what your house was worth back in 1991. Full help to do this at www.mse.me/ council.
Have you had a loan or credit card in the past 20 years? You’ve almost certainly heard of PPI reclaiming. We’ve had 5.5 million free PPI reclaiming template letters downloaded and more than £15 billion has been paid back. While not a bad product, banks systemically mis-sold PPI, which covers debt repayments — often to those who could never have claimed it. Many are still owed cash without realising it. Don’t think that because you said no to PPI that you definitely don’t have it — it was sometimes added even after the customer rejected it.
There is nothing you cannot do yourself to reclaim the cash. Full help, including free templates and frequently asked questions, at www.mse.me/PPI and www. which.co.uk.