I have found myself in a situation of difficulty - a lot my fault, some beyond my control. As a consequence I have been using the financial facilities promised to me to a greater degree. After many years of paying an account charge of £10 per month (so not having a subsidised free bank account) I am so disappointed to find that Penalty charges have been automatically assigned to my account at a time when I could not cope with it.
On Friday, 1st Dec 06, three DDs were returned and moments later cash was available in the account (within OD limit) to be able to have honoured the DDs.
The automated letter I have received today, not from my branch, lists the 3 DDs and infers that I will be charged. On the reverse of the letter is the statement "we normally charge £35 for each item of £10 or more we have not paid." listed under bank charges. One of the items is for £10.54, DD for TV license.
This means that this simple automated process, that would not have been necessary had everything been reconciled at the close of business, will cost me a penalty of £105.
I am sure that this was not necessary and certainly does not cost anywhere near this amount to administrate as a batch like this.
I have read a lot of the recommended 'read firsts' etc. I believe that my bank that I have been loyal to and paid for service from has done me wrong.
Today, 4th Dec 06, I decided to visit the bank and speak to my account manager and discuss my account. She was a very cold person who I had not met before. We discussed the fact that I was in difficulty and that I hopefully would be able to sort myself out soon, as I have a new offer of employment. I mentioned the letter and the bank charges and the fact that it was not going to help my situation.
She dismissed any discussion of whether these penalty charges were discretionary or whether they could be waived at present. I know that staff can refund the charges with discretion, a friend of mine works for a different bank.
Basically offered me no help understanding or support whatsoever and then said that I could write to customer care and apply for a refund. She told me that there was a lot of media, press etc. saying to get refunds and said that I would probably get it but I need to write to Cust. Care.
Anyway - they have had an opportunity to help me and I have been direct with them and open and honest and a good customer who does most of his banking over the internet.
I would not have incurred their Penalty Bank Charges if they had not fined me in the preceding two months in the same manner. So this issue has been compounded by their first Penalties.
Over the last 3 months they have charged me 2 x £140 Unpaid DD and one £30 Excess Overdraft Penalty. £310 so far and another 5 x £35 = £175 pending. It looks like I shall be asking for £485 to be returned at a point when I cannot afford it.
I have started drafting the letters.
What is the best advice about pending charges and being kept in a situation that will cause further Penalty Bank Charges to occur?