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Reward Account problems


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Hi everybody,

 

I'm new to the forum, hope I'm posting this correctly!

 

My problem is with Halifax's Reward account. Last year I opened an account with Halifax to have my Housing Benefit paid into it. I explained what I wanted it for and brought in a copy of my latest Co-Operative bank statement as requested by Halifax. I have a £200 overdraft with Co-Op and was £198 into it. Halifax offered me a £100 overdraft and stupidly, as it was right before Christmas I accepted the £100 overdraft.

 

A few months ago I went in to ask about their Ultimate Reward account as I know some banks offer higher overdrafts if you pay monthly fees. I had a landlord that was denying I ever paid him a deposit so couldn't get that back and had a week to move out and somehow find a deposit for somewhere new... that's where the Ultimate Reward account came in.. one of the advisers at Halifax sold both my girlfriend and I the Ultimate Reward accounts in the knowledge that we only wanted it for the overdraft and none of the other extras (holiday insurance etc - i think it was obvious we couldn't afford any holidays!). So at this point I was -£100 from the overdraft they gave me when I first opened the account.

 

When all the literature came through my overdraft amount didn't change. when I phoned Halifax they said the starting overdraft was always £100 and could go to £300 if I managed the account properly - I never could have had any extra anyway. So essentially I had the same as before but was now paying £12 a month for it. Before we signed up we asked if there was a minimum amount of time we were contracted to pay the £12 a month and there wasn't, so I went into Halifax to see if I could change it back to the current account I had before. They said that would be fine and changed it back on the computer... but what actually happened was they changed it to a reward account. So the overdraft I agreed to when I had a normal current account is now costing me £1 a day. This wasn't explained and I was sent no letters or given any paperwork when I changed it over. It was only when I checked my account and it was £20 or so over limit that I discovered I had a Reward account now. As there was no money to pay the £1 overdraft fee I'm now being charged £50 or so for going over my limit and being charged £5 a day for going over my overdraft. They've offered to change it back to the Ultimate Reward account where I'd be back to paying the £12 a month. I'm on Employment Support Allowance due to problems with my physical health which pays about £50 a week and I now owe them about a month's worth of money. There's no way I can pay and the amount is just going to get more and more... I've spoken to the manager in my local branch but they're not budging.

 

There's no way I would change my account to the reward account given that I had an overdraft already if I knew it was going to cost so much - I've said this to them and they don't really have an answer to that but they say their current account doesn't exist anymore so there's nothing they can do. This really doesn't seem right that they can change my account like that without getting me to sign something or at least telling me they were changing it to such an expensive account!

 

I've made a formal complaint and asked for the agreement I signed when I first opened the account last year but heard nothing back yet.

 

I would appreciate any advice anyone has or hearing if anyone has had a similar experience. Halifax said all accounts are being changed to either Reward or Ultimate Reward - surely people who had overdrafts on their current accounts will have had theirs changed to the reward account and are now paying dearly for it :eek:

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Halifax have started calling me up now..... asking for the balance, stating again "well we only have 2 kinds of account"... and i explained again that i didn't agree to having that account.

 

this is costing me £5 a day now plus bank charges every time they try and take the £5 a day fee.

 

i mentioned the fsa when they called me and he immediately asked for my fsa reference number. i don't have one yet and wouldn't give one to them anyway if did... are they allowed to ask for that kind of information? it was more of a demand the way he said it. could they find anything out from that?

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