just received reply from ICO regarding bank of scotland and they say in their reply that a SAR is no needed to reclaim bank charges.
what does everyone else think of this.please see below e-mail from ICO
6th June 2007
Case Reference Number RFA#######
Dear Mr #####
Thank you for your correspondence dated 21/05/07, regarding your request for information from the Bank of Scotland.
Is a subject access request necessary in order to reclaim any unfair penalty charges?
No. Information from credit card/bank statements should not be needed in order to reclaim any unfair penalty charges from a financial institution.
Following an Office of Fair Trading (OFT) ruling about ‘unfair penalty charges’ relating to credit card accounts, the number of individuals making subject access requests under the Data Protection Act 1998 for information held as part of credit card statements has increased significantly. Although the OFT ruling only relates to credit card accounts a number of individuals are also making subject access requests for information relating to other financial services before attempting to reclaim any penalty charges associated with them. Many financial institutions are struggling to respond to these subject access requests within the 40 calendar days permitted. We are aware of this and are monitoring the situation closely.
What’s the best way to reclaim penalty charges?
The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) is the most appropriate organisation to assist you when seeking to settle disputes about unfair penalty charges with the Bank of Scotland. The FOS can be contacted on 0845 080 1800 Monday to Friday from 9am-5pm.
The (FOS) was set up by Parliament as an independent, free service for settling disputes between businesses providing financial services and their customers.
Complaints about unfair penalty charges fall outside the remit of The Information Commissioner’s Office. This is why we are unable to directly assist you in seeking the repayment of these charges.
What will the Information Commissioner’s Office now do with your complaint about the failed subject access request?
We acknowledge that in pursuing the unfair penalty charges a valid subject access request was made to the Bank of Scotland and although the information requested may not be needed to recover any unfair penalty charges, financial institutions are still required to provide it.
From the information you have provided to us it seems unlikely that the Bank of Scotland have complied with their obligations under the Data Protection Act on this occasion as they have failed to provide you with the information to which you are entitled.
We will therefore be writing to the Bank of Scotland with the details of this complaint. We will ask them to ensure that they provide you with the information you are entitled to as a matter of priority. Furthermore we will ask them to take any steps necessary to ensure their future compliance with the Data Protection Act.
What happens next?
We would now recommend that you contact the FOS if you wish to begin the process of reclaiming any unfair penalty charges. If when we contact the Bank of Scotland there is any doubt as to whether they received the subject access request you sent to them we may need to contact you again. However, in most cases, and certainly where you have been able to provide us with proof of postage or receipt for your request, we would not expect to need to contact you again and you should await the receipt of the information to which you are entitled from the Bank of Scotland in due course.
If you would like any further clarification having read this letter please contact our Helpline on 08456 30 60 60 or 01625 545745 if you would prefer to call a national rate number.
Case Reception Unit
The Information Commissioner's Office