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How should I complain about bank charges?

(26 Posts)
Tinker Mon 02-Dec-02 12:31:12

Keep exceeding my overdraft limit and, as a consequence, keep getting bank charges of £20 per item. Getting really really cross about this - the bank have now taken out more than I get as maintenance!

What is the best way to complain - rant and rave and threaten to change banks or really plead and grovel and promise to never spend any money ever again?

Please help. Thanks

WideWebWitch Mon 02-Dec-02 12:36:14

Call them, hope you get a real human being, appeal to their better nature and say come off it, for EVERY item? Please let me off, I won't do it again, you do make plenty of money out of me because I'm so accidentally disorganised. And if that doesn't work look for a bank that will give you a bigger overdraft. That's what I'd do anyeway.

janh Mon 02-Dec-02 13:22:26

Threaten to change first of all, Tink, to make them withdraw the charges, and then CHANGE ANYWAY! Ha! That'll show the buggers.

Nationwide and Alliance & Leicester both have excellent more-or-less free accounts, and Nationwide pay more interest on their current account than a lot of banks do on deposit accounts. (There are other High St ones, plus places like Egg, Smile, Cahoot, Virgin etc on the internet.)

(More-or-less free means free with no overdraft, v cheap with an arranged overdraft - no more than 1% a month just on the overdrawn bit - we go overdrawn most months (ours is A & L) and never pay more than a couple of quid for the whole month.)

threeangels Mon 02-Dec-02 14:00:09

Hi Tinker, I go through the same thing as you. My bank I had before I moved let me have my overdraft fees several times because we pleaded it was all our grocery money (which it really was). Im talking about 150.00. They helped us a couple times. I think they can see on our statements for the past so many months how many times theyve helped because it happened to us again and they said they couldnt help anymore.

The new bank we have helped us one time after 10 min of pleading in person. We didnt get our check in the bank in time so we bounced 270.00 (30.00 per item) in fees. They only gave us half back. So I know how it is. If you really plead like tell them you wont have any food in your house then it possibly will help. I hate to do this but some times accidents can happen to an account and their fees are so outragous. We just bounced our account Fri because we were 1.00 short so then it was 31.00 short. So crazy. Oh well I guess I'll have to get my account in order.

SueW Mon 02-Dec-02 14:56:24

Re-finance?

I got annoyed with our bank earlier this year because they changed the Terms and COnditions of our account so instead of being allowed to be o/d for 48 hours without fees, we incurred a couple of penalty fees for going over. I was furious but after two attempts at getitng hold of someone - I hate call centres - I decided just to try harder make sure the account stayed inside the limit.

I'm thinking of changing banks to whichever one it is that says you can speak to someone at your branch. I have heard that Barclays call centres are going out to India, along with those of Powergen. It's bad enough getting someone to understand in UK call centres, I can't imagine what it'll be like when they are halfway round the world.

Bring back branch banking that offers a real personal service and someone who knows you.

Tortington Mon 02-Dec-02 17:15:30

as far as charges go i think the co-operative is the pits some months i get charged more than i have in the bank too! and they seem so inflexible. hubby gets the same with another bank but if they take the mick he goes in has a word with them tells them what a good customer he is - re emphasizes the amount he puts in everymonth and threatens to change banks - sometimes it works sometimes it doesnt - but damn well worth a try! though the coop doesnt seem to care.

janh Mon 02-Dec-02 18:06:34

Forgot to say, with A & L, if you go over your authorised limit it's still only a percentage on the amount overdrawn, no per item charges, but the APR's a lot higher, like 30% - I think that's right, must go check.

Give Nationwide a ring anyway! Or try Virgin, if you transfer your mortgage to them too you can have one of those flexible things where it's all in one account and when you have lots of dosh in (ie payday ) you pay less interest on your mortgage.

robinw Mon 02-Dec-02 18:22:41

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Tinker Mon 02-Dec-02 18:58:29

Thnk you everyone for your advice. Have written my letter (too cowardly for the phonecall) which is probably far too sarcastic to be productive but it's made me feel better!

Will certainly investigate other banks now - however, I fear that my O/D is so big no-one will take me on! Ho hum.

janh Mon 02-Dec-02 19:08:23

Tinker, A & L's standard overdraft is half your monthly salary - is that big enough?

janh Mon 02-Dec-02 19:09:55

robin, we recently had a letter from N'wide (used to have a current a/c with them, it has had 37p in it for over 5 years now) and I'm sure they were offering 3% or thereabouts on their current a/c.
(But don't quote me.)

Tinker Mon 02-Dec-02 19:10:15

Sadly jan, no More like more than my monthly salary required

janh Mon 02-Dec-02 19:52:48

Ohhhh dear, Tinker.....that doesn't sound very appealing, even to the kindest bank!

Could you get one of your relations to sub you enough to get you in and then appeal to the bank's better nature (assuming it has one)? (It would still be cheaper than what you're getting now.)

robinw Mon 02-Dec-02 21:32:43

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Tinker Mon 02-Dec-02 21:45:39

Robin and jan - thanks for the sympathy To be honest, the O/D doesn't bother me too much since it is fairly constant each month - I just see it (or choose to see it) as a cashflow problem. And the authorised amount is pretty high for (usually) not much cost - £6 per month. It's just the last 2 months that I have been caught out.

Have thought about getting a dedicated credit card (WARNING BELLS) and from the middle of the month, putting ALL expenditure on that and paying it off as soon as salary goes in. Sounds OK in theory but am I missing something obvious????

WideWebWitch Mon 02-Dec-02 22:00:10

Depends Tinker - if the credit card will make you think you've got more money than you really have (Exactly to your WARNING BELLS!) then maybe not! If you really really think you *will* pay it off every month then go for it. But you may not and the charges on cards are usually much higher than on an overdraft

robinw Tue 03-Dec-02 07:36:32

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bells2 Tue 03-Dec-02 09:24:41

Tinker, with interest rates at an all time low, have you thought about either extending your mortgage or taking out a personal loan to pay off your overdraft?. Obviously it requires discipline to then not run up an overdraft again but the overall cost of your debt would be a lot less.

GillW Tue 03-Dec-02 09:28:40

Tinker - there are really two issues here - how to deal with your overdraft, and how to change things in future so your income/outgoings match up.

Someone's already mentioned the mortgage/current account combinations (First Direct is another one which does this) which can be a way of cutting down the amount of interest you pay. I'd be wary of any of the ones which are a true all-in one (i.e. you get a single balance) as it might make you feel that your "available credit" was much higher than it really is - the ones which have seperate current/savings/mortgage account components where you have to actively switch money between them would be a better bet.

One other possibility, for a few months grace to get yourself on track, and avoid those bank charges, might be to look into getting one of the credit cards which is offering 0% for an introductory period, and using that time to reorganise things. If you did that I'd still aim to put the money to repay it aside so that you don't actually pay any interest at the end of the day - but *small* amounts left outstanding on a credit card will still ultimately cost you less than incurring bank charges.

However - either of these might relieve the pressure you're under at the moment, but on their own probably wouldn't be enough long term, unless you can also increase your income/reduce your spending too.

I'd recommend having a look at the Motley Fool website - there's quite a lot of good information there about dealing with debt, and a couple of message boards which might help you - specifically have a look at the "dealing with debt" and "living bewlow your means" boards.

SueW Tue 03-Dec-02 10:32:03

I'm a bit wary of the all-in-one deals. We've been seeing an IFA to discuss our mortgage, life insurance etc. and generally get things sorted out.

We're changing our mortgage to repayment which will mean the payments go up but we've consolidated our life insurance which has cut a huge amount off total outgoings related to mortgage and insurance.

He mentioned Openplan which will give you a reserve of up to 90% of the valuation of your home IIRC, depending on income, but I dreaded the idea of potentially getting into that much debt since our mortgage is less than 50% of the value of our home at the moment, given the increase in house prices.

We tend to use our Amex card more than credit cards - we know we have to pay off the debt each month which means we have to have enough money in our current account.

GillW Tue 03-Dec-02 11:13:38

SueW - the first generation all-in-one accounts did treat the mortgage as a huge overdraft, but the newer ones are sperate accounts, but linked for the purposes of calculating interest, so you do have a seperate "motgage account" and "current account" (and savings account too with some) - so that you can keep the balances on each seperately. You still pay the mortgage each month as you do with a normal mortgage.

sis Tue 03-Dec-02 12:26:18

Tinker, plenty of good advice - please sort it out soon, we need you at the next meet-up!

Batters Tue 03-Dec-02 14:34:48

Tinker, I agree with Bells2 about looking into the possibility of extending or moving your mortgage (or both!). We moved and extended our mortgate a while ago (our fixed term rate had ended), in order to pay off credit card bills ()and have money left over for doing the house up, getting new central heating in etc. We actually have a mortgage now that is a smaller monthly payment than our last one was, and still means we finish paying it all off 2 years earlier.

Tinker Tue 03-Dec-02 18:58:30

Gosh, thank you everyone, I'm really touched by all your advice. I'd better not tell you about the credit card situation then!! Must admit, I'm constantly moving my c/c debt round to 0% deals but it never seems to disappear - I wonder why????

Think remortgaging is a good idea and will investigate that properly. Have an egg mortgage so shall drop them an email about it. Have already remortgaged twice to get better deals so not inert about changing accounts etc.

My big weakness is rationalising every expense. Can't say 'no' to a Ryanair cheapie because I feel I 'deserve' it. Feel a chat with Alvin Hall is required here. For instance, want to go to Italy at half term - flight = £100. If stay at home, childminder for week = £100. There, I've rationalised it already.

Trouble is, I've lived like this for as long as I can remember but situation has certainly been exacerbated by having a child and getting no (or so little it's not worth it) financial help from her father. Have decided am definitely NOT doing another OU course next year (regardless of whether I pass or fail latest exam) so that's £60 per month 'saved' already.

Anyway, am very grateful for all the advice here and shall certainly be making serious attempt in the New Year to curtail my expenditure because I definitely want to go to the next meet-up!!!

bells2 Wed 04-Dec-02 08:22:32

Tinker I can so sympathise with you on this – perhaps we should set up a Ryan air support group!. I have just booked us on a 4-day trip to Venice between Christmas. At £11.99 going out and £20.99 coming back, who can resist?? But of course I know we’ll end up spending a fortune. Even though I have the best incentive in the world to stop spending money (i.e. I could give up work) I find it so hard not to be impulsive.

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