Bank on th­ese ways to re­claim un­fair fees

The Jewish Chronicle - - LIFE -

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.

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