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Could you have been mis-sold a packaged bank account?
Do you pay a fee for your bank account? Or did you?
If you’ve answered yes to either of those questions, then you may have been mis-sold a packaged bank account.
But don’t worry, you’re not alone.
In the UK, 73% of adults have been pressured into buying things they either didn’t understand or need. If you’ve been mis-sold a package bank account you might be able to a refund.
Packaged bank accounts are current accounts that come with a bundle of extra features.
This can be anything from mobile phone and travel insurance, to better rates on overdrafts and loans. Packaged bank accounts are sometimes called “reward”, “premium” or “gold” accounts. To have one, you usually have to pay a monthly fee to receive the benefits.
You can end up saving on expenses such as breakdown cover and mobile phone insurance, if these accounts are used correctly. However, many consumers don’t realise they have the benefits, so it’s often not worth the price.
An estimated 11 million people pay as much as £300 a year for current accounts with added benefits. If you currently pay, or have paid a monthly fee for your bank account, it’s likely you’ve had a packaged account.
Second to PPI, packaged bank accounts are the most complained about mis-sold financial product.Check out our article if you think you have been mis-sold PPI.
A bank MUST provide their customers with understandable information about what they are selling, so they can make an informed decision about what they’re buying. If a bank has given clear information about your account features and any significant exclusions, then this is not mis-selling.
However, many customers have been unwillingly signed up to these deals. And, many more believe that the benefits have been exaggerated.
In many cases, the perks of having a packaged bank account have been explained so poorly that some people have duplicated their benefits. For instance, you may have bought travel or mobile insurance somewhere else when you were already covered. This means you may have ended up paying twice the price. This is mis-selling as the bank has failed to explain their product clearly.
Here are some examples of how you might have been mis-sold:
So, if you pay for your bank account but have never been made aware of what you’re paying for, you could probably make a claim.
If you think you’ve been mis-sold your packaged bank account, give your bank a chance to put things right by following our steps below.
You can either call your bank or visit your local branch to speak to someone. If you think your bank treated you unfairly, let them know why and what you want them to do about it.
However, be prepared to put up a fight as many banks are apparently rejecting numerous complaints. When approaching your bank, know what you are entitled to. If you have been mis-sold, then you are entitled to a refund of the monthly fee and the interest. However, in an attempt to appease customers, many banks are now activating the insurances that were originally promised.
Be aware of these proposed resolutions, as you should be after the refund you deserve. Be prepared to move your complaint forward, if the bank aren’t playing ball. Don’t let your bank trick you into thinking your claim isn’t valid.
When you make your claim, give as many details as possible. There are a number of handy letter templates that can be found online. A tool from Resolver will help you draft a letter to your bank. The tool will then monitor the progress of your letter and escalate the complaint, if necessary.
In the letter, you need to give the reason why you think you were mis-sold a packaged bank account. Remember to include your account number, the date the fee was initially charged to your account, copies of your bank statements and any other documents that you deem relevant.
Once you have written your letter, it is important to keep a copy of any communication between you and your bank, as you may need to escalate your claim.
If you haven’t heard from your bank eight weeks after sending the letter, then you should move on to step three below.
If steps one and two fail, or your bank chooses to reject your complaint, you can contact the independent Financial Ombudsman Service. This is a free service, which is specifically designed to settle disputes between consumers and financial companies. Once you have represented the facts of the case, the ombudsman will decide whether the account was truly mis-sold. If the ombudsman decides that you were indeed mis-sold, then they will decide what redress is required. For the most successful cases, this means a refund.
You can contact the ombudsman over the phone on: 0800 023 4567, using an online form, or via this address: Exchange Tower, Harbour Exchange, London E14 9SR.
You need to act fast though. There is a cut off point for when the ombudsman can deal with your case. Your case can only seen if you apply three years from when you knew you could make a complaint and six years on from the event that you are planning to make the complaint about.
Have you been mis-sold a packaged bank account? We want to hear your story so comment below or tweet us at @MoneyMagpie.