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What is a bank complaint?

What is a bank complaint?

With all the various scandals that have rocked the financial industry over recent years, it is important to go back and sometimes look at what a bank complaint is and how it has been dealt with.  Bank complaints, regardless of the financial scandals, have been going on for years and years.  It will continue to do so whilst the banks look at profiteering and lining their own pockets to the detriment of their clients.

How do you make a bank complaint?

There are 2.5 million complaints every 6 months to the banks and financial institutions in this country.  This includes the various scandals that have rocked the banking industry over recent years, such as PPI, packaged bank account facilities and charges, but even taking these out of the equation – complaints each year run into the millions.

It is therefore important to understand what a bank complaint is and what you can do about addressing the concerns that you have had in order to get recompense if misdemeanours have happened.

Bank complaints can relate to small grievances (which, to be honest, do not even come up in the figures that are provided each year on the number of disputes involving clients and banks).  Complaints can range from queuing or broken cash machines at the weekend or cash machines running out of money right the way through to complex and financially crippling problems as a result of serious misdemeanours by the banks and lending institutions, such as the mis-selling of products.  This can be in relation to, not only businesses, but also to consumers.

Who are the Financial Ombudsman?

The financial ombudsman is an organisation set up to impartially look at complaints that have been dealt with by the bank on behalf of clients and once these have been reviewed, if the client is unhappy with the decision then they can challenge the decision further by taking the complaint to the financial ombudsman.

The financial ombudsman was set up in 2001 (taking over from the then banking ombudsman) to review complaints impartially on behalf of clients and establish if any wrongdoing has occurred.  If it has occurred they will then look at providing the customer with recompense.

Of course, this is certainly not something that happens all the time and the ombudsman will of course find in favour of the banks and decline claims if they do not believe that there are any grounds or merit in making a complaint in the first place.  The service is free to use for clients.  The complaint procedure must be followed by the client in order to bring the ombudsman into play and this means allowing the bank a period of time (namely 8 weeks) to ascertain whether a dispute can be resolved or not.

What makes a bank complaint?

I do not believe that a lot of the figures provided shows the large proportion of complaints, namely the small grumbles that we all have about the banks such as queuing, running out of money at the weekend from cash machines and so on, but these are all bank complaints and concerns that you may have.

Basically, a bank complaint is a grievance that you have as a result of your banking relationship with your bank.  It can include other financial institutions, depending upon the product that you have, such as a pension company or an investment company or adviser.  So, when using the term bank complaint, it encompasses all sorts of financial arrangements and firms within that sphere.  The firms involved (and this is particularly relevant with regard to crowd funding) must be covered by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in order to make a complaint valid, namely one that if there is a continued dispute, can be reviewed by the financial ombudsman.  If you do have a bank complaint, then it can be made firstly to the bank and then onwards to the ombudsman should you remain dissatisfied.

It is important to know that with regard to crowd funding, a large proportion of these investments are not in fact covered by the FCA and therefore the ability to challenge any form of advice is extremely difficult.

What happens to me if I make a bank complaint?

Many people are concerned when making bank complaints as to what will happen to their banking facilities and banking relations that they have with their bank.

I think it is always important for people to stand back and decide how they want to proceed with regard to this. It is absolutely right to be concerned as to what will happen if you make a complaint.  It will obviously depend on the type of complaint that you made.  For instance, there is an lot of PPI complaints.  The bank that you may be complaining about will not be the only current banking facility that you enjoy and will likely be an old facility and lender who you probably do not have any form of relationship with.  So that makes that particular complaint nice and straightforward and easy and it does not make any difference if you carry on because you have no relationship which it could potentially affect.

In addition, you might have a PPI complaint with your current bank.  Again, this is not a huge problem because most of the staff were forced into selling the PPI and quite frankly they find it quite therapeutic seeing customers getting all this money back and the powers that be getting their comeuppance that they deserve for demanding that it was sold in the first place.

Problems can occur when making the bank complaint if you have ongoing facilities with the bank, namely you are borrowing from them.  This is particularly relevant when the borrowing is an overdraft facility or a business account facility as it could potentially have some effect on that relationship.  I know people will always try and say it should not have any effect, but if someone moaned to you, would you be happy with them?  The answer is probably no.  That does not mean that you should not make the complaint, it just means that you need to be wary and protect yourself and also the continuation of any complaint will have to depend upon what you are complaining about and your reasons behind it.

If you have a severe complaint against the bank and the considerable wrongdoing has caused considerable loss, then it is absolutely right to make that complaint.  Yes – you should protect yourself but yes it is absolutely right to make the complaint.

If it is a small matter which is just going to aggravate the person(s) involved at the bank in dealing with your account on a day-to-day basis, then sometimes it is worth checking yourself to see whether you want to continue.  This is not a weak person’s way out – it is just being realistic.  You have to protect your own day-to-day concerns and if it is not worth rocking the boat, then I would say it is worthwhile just holding back.

We have been dealing with banking disputes and complaints on behalf of clients for almost 20 years following our time in the banking industry.  We have seen huge numbers and types of complaints that clients have.  Grievances have ranged from fraud all the way through to sexual harassment and we are seeing more and more mis-selling as the years go by.

Personally, I have turned away complaints believing that they will be more trouble than they are worth for clients and explaining my reasons.  So, whenever we take on a new complaint, it is always important to address this and go from there.

Our work is always conducted on a no win no fee basis which protects the client and we will always try to ascertain at the outset what a good outcome would be on behalf of the client.

How do I make a bank complaint?

Making a bank complaint is, on paper, relatively straightforward.  However, it can take a long time and can be frustrating and you can be thwarted by the system that is in place and the tactics operated by the banks in dealing with complaints.

Making a bank complaint

  1. Contact the bank with your grievance.
  2. The bank will respond in relation to your grievance within 8 weeks.
  3. Accept the decision made by the bank.
  4. Go to the ombudsman if you are unhappy with the bank’s decision.
  5. Accept the final decision of the ombudsman.

Bank complaints can be incredibly frustrating and time-consuming and can put a lot of people off, but there is no reason why a complaint should not be made.  Complaints to financial institutions can be complicated, long-winded and can be in relation to products and services that the client had many years ago.  Therefore, the ability to recollect information that is useful is somewhat restricted.

Regardless of how long ago a problem occurred, everyone should have the ability to make a bank complaint, but we can certainly understand the reluctance people do have in taking one forward themselves.  The various procedures and concerns over bank disputes can take a tremendous amount of time and as such can be very off-putting when taking it on in the first place.

We will work on behalf of clients, thus taking away the requirement to chase the lender for information.  We enquire correctly as to what details are needed in relation to the dispute and negotiate with the lender, if needs be, or we take the complaint forward with the full report to the financial ombudsman and negotiate and deal with them direct.

Many complaints can take, certainly weeks, if not months and in some cases where complaints are complicated or require considerable investigation, they can take years.

We have worked for clients for a number of years and understand the system and the complexities that certain complaints can have.

The 5 problems with making a bank complaint:

  1. Time-consuming.
  2. Unnerving taking on your bank.
  3. Not sure how to start.
  4. Confused as to what to do.
  5. Concerned with how to proceed.

 

Martin Knipe

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What is a packaged bank account?

What is a packaged bank account?

A packaged bank account is an account facility operated by one of the main high street banks in the UK.  It is identical to a normal current account, other than the fact a monthly fee is taken for a package of benefits which are attached to the facility.  The package account fee is taken monthly.

Packaged bank accounts were introduced in the mid to late 1990s by a variety of the banks who wanted to look at obtaining further revenue from their clients who just had a normal account facility.

The banks are very good at taking money away from business accounts or accounts where customers are looking to borrow but current accounts have always been a problem for them. They do not like the fact that they do not have any fees associated with the current account range and they wanted to address this as they could see it potentially being highly profitable.  This is because everyone needs a current account to operate successfully in any degree of finance throughout the UK.

How do I know if I have a packaged bank account?

Packaged bank account facilities are straightforward, in that if you have a current account and you pay a regular monthly fee of between £15 and £25 then you have a packaged bank account.

A lot of the account facilities are called nice names like “Silver” or “Platinum” to make the owner of the account feel that much more special, but apart from that it is a current account.  You have your ability to use online facilities, direct debits, standing orders and in some cases, depending upon your finances, overdraft facilities or other borrowing attached with a service by this current account.

Why are packaged bank accounts wrong?

Packaged bank account facilities are not necessarily wrong – they just have not been promoted or sold correctly to a large number of people.

This is the problem that the banks have all the way through when dealing with clients because rather than provide a product and ascertain whether that product is worthwhile to a client which provides value for money, they go away and work out a particular product and then look at flogging it to any client in order to maximise their own profitability at the expense of the clients’ monies.

We never think that the banks are going to learn about extorting money from customers in this way, so we grow to just expect it and have to deal with the consequences retrospectively.  This is annoying because when things like packaged bank account facilities are designed, they can be useful to people.

People can use travel insurance and breakdown cover and it is nice and simple because it is all lumped together in one.  However, when the banks go ahead and sell it, they do not establish if the customers are going to benefit from the particular elements of the product, or not.  For example, people may have travel insurance but do not go abroad, or they go on holidays which include something like skiing which some of the basic travel insurances do not cover.  This is because travel insurance involving skiing requires specific levels of cover due to the risks attached.

Can I make a claim for the mis-selling of my packaged bank account?

If you have a packaged bank account facility and you are, for whatever reason unhappy with it, i.e. you do not like paying the money, you do not think it was any use, nothing was explained to you, then yes, we can look at recovering the premiums that you have paid and interest for a period of years.

There are never any guarantees of success, which is why we work purely on a no win no fee basis.  If you have a packaged facility and you want to look at recovering the monies in relation to it, then contact us.  We work purely on a no win no fee basis on your behalf.

Martin Knipe

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What is so wrong with Packaged Bank Account facilities?

What is so wrong with Packaged Bank Account facilities? 

Packaged bank account (PBA) facilities can be useful.  They can provide cover when abroad and provide cheap tickets to certain events or even a reduction in interest rates for facilities that the Bank may provide (such as loans, overdraft facilities and so on).

However, rather than promote this product to those who will benefit or who actually want the facility package, the Banks have yet again sold it on a wholesale basis and provided it to consumers who will not benefit and who ultimately find it to be a financial burden.  We have seen this from the Banks time and time again.

It is therefore important that the issue is addressed.  If you do have a packaged bank account facility and you are unhappy with it in whatever shape or form (whether you are unhappy with the money or did not know what it was all about) then we can look at this on your behalf addressing the premiums and any potential refund – all on a no win no fee basis.

When are Packaged Bank Accounts good? 

Packaged bank account facilities can be useful when they are sold in the correct manner.  If they have not been sold in the correct manner or promoted in a certain way then they can be expensive and a financial burden upon its customers.

How do I know if my Packaged Bank Account is not right for me? 

If you did not know anything about the packaged bank account facility then it will come as quite a surprise to you that you have this facility and that you are paying for it.  You may not have realised it was an option or did not know of any of the benefits of the package.  If that is the case, there is a good chance that the package was mis-sold to you.

Mis-selling tends to be centred around whether someone knew they had a product and the costs associated with it.  If you did not know you had the product or the cost or even what the benefits were, there is a good chance it was flogged to you and the bank employee who did the flogging was looking at ticking a number so that they did not get reprimanded at the end of the week.

Martin Knipe

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Are packaged bank accounts on a time limit?

Are packaged bank accounts on a time limit?

With the recent introduction of a time limit concerning the mis-sale of Payment Protection Insurance (PPI), that being the end of August 2019, people are concerned that the same form of time limit will apply to other forms of claims, such as packaged bank accounts.

This is not the case and packaged bank accounts can still be challenged, although there can be time frames as to how far back the account facility can be challenged which depends upon whether you knew the facility was available, or not.

Are packaged bank accounts the same as PPI?

Packaged bank account facilities are completely different to PPI, although they were set up in the same way, namely the banks wanted to make a few extra pounds and pence off their consumers by attaching a product which, if it was sold incorrectly, was completely worthless and costly to the consumer involved.

Packaged bank account facilities included, as they say, a package of facilities for a particular account. Normally you are charged around £15 to £20 per month and the cover includes travel insurance, breakdown cover, some sort of cheap ticket deals that you could get if you were that way inclined, cheaper admissions for National Trust venues and so on.  for a number, they do not and have provided no help or benefit to the consumer and have been costly.

What are packaged bank accounts?

Packaged bank accounts are another way that the banks can use to raise money from clients who ultimately do not have a huge level of requirement of the bank.  It can generate considerable profits for the bank by paying a premium each month to cover a variety of different areas ranging from travel insurance to breakdown cover.

Packaged bank account facilities have always been sold as an upgraded version of a current account making the alleged beneficiary feel that much better about themselves, but ultimately if the product itself was of no use or benefit to the client, then it can be costly.

Many people were not given the option in taking the facility in the first place, which denotes a mis-sale and, as such, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) investigated the banks and found severe weaknesses.   That is where a mis-sale takes place.

What is wrong with packaged bank accounts?

Ultimately, there is not anything wrong with packaged bank account facilities.  They can be extremely useful.  However, this is as long as you know that the cover is in place and what parts of the cover you can or cannot use, including all limitations to the cover.

The problem with the packaged bank account is not the account itself, it is the person who is recommending or selling it.

If it is not established that the account itself is worthwhile and useful and will provide benefits and savings to you as a consumer of the bank then it is no good and it will therefore have been mis-sold.

As a result, if this was mis-sold then we can look at recovering the premiums back for you.  

What could I get back if I challenged my packaged bank account?

If you challenge the packaged bank account, and we can establish that it was mis-sold, then we would look at obtaining a refund in relation to the account fees that were charged, along with interest and any other fees that were attributed to the account as a result of the account facility fees being taken out in the first place.

Depending upon the length of time that the account has been in operation, a number of refunds will range between £1,500 and £2,000 (including the interest).  Some can of course be less and on some occasions we have seen quite considerable refunds over £3,500.

Martin Knipe

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