Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Look for the answer to your question in out FAQs Section

How long will it take to receive a Packaged Bank Account claim pack?

We will send out pre-populated claim packs by post once you have spoken to us. It’s best to speak to a trained claims agent to ensure that you are claiming for all your eligible Packaged Bank Account and this conversation also ensures we have the full picture in order to fight your complaint for you.

We will then post your claim pack to you, (and a return envelope) with most of the information completed. You will simply need to finish, read carefully, sign and return the forms. If you see something that you want to change, make the amendments to the form in black ink and write your initials next to them.

The forms contain only the information we need to process your complaint. Once completed please return each pack to us at our freepost address:

Freepost
RTCG-LLLU-ELZU
Investor Compensation
IC Customer Correspondence
PO Box 6807
Wolverhampton
WV1 9W

Are your forms hard to fill out?

No, the only essential information that we need is the bank name, account number and your signature. As long as you have signed next to each yellow highlighted box and the account details are on there, we can process the Packaged Bank Account claim. All you need to do is:

  1. Check we have your details correct on each form
  2. Complete and sign each declaration including ‘Terms of Service’ and ‘Letter of Authority’
  3. Tick the main reasons why you believe you may have been mis-sold each Packaged Bank Account. Please provide any evidence to support your claim.
  4. Locate any missing bank account numbers and return to us and we will complete your claim process for you. Please read all forms carefully before returning.

Does a claim affect my bank account or relationship with the bank?

Typically your bank will offer you a standard current account which does not include any monthly fees with any ‘packaged’ benefits, but please check with your bank how best you would like your banking arrangement to continue as your packaged bank account will be cancelled. Making a Packaged Bank Account refund claim should not affect your banking relationship. If we reclaim any money, it is money that the bank has admitted taking off you contractually.

Can I claim myself?

As with PPI, personal injuries and any other claims, it is of course possible to make a packaged bank account claim yourself. It is entirely up to you whether you choose to seek help from a third-party such as Banking Refunds, and depends on whether you want to chase your bank yourself or let someone else take on your case.

If you want to claim yourself, it can be as simple as contacting your bank to make a formal complaint. You’ll need to gather evidence as to why you believe your packaged bank account has been mis-sold. Put these reasons in to writing as clearly, concisely and, above all, honestly as you can and send your letter directly to the bank’s complaints department, the address of which will usually be on their website.

If the bank says no, don’t be disheartened. If you think you have a valid claim, then don’t back down – you could escalate it to the independent Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). The official body for settling disputes between businesses that provide financial services and their customers, it acts as an impartial adjudicator. Just download a complaints form from the Financial Ombudsman Service website and be sure to take care when filling it in.

Due to the number of requests being made to the FOS, including those for packaged bank accounts, PPI and so on, it can take a while before you receive a response but they will deal with your complaint fairly and impartially.

How do I know if I may have been mis-sold Packaged Bank Account?

A list of instances where the banks routinely misled on Packaged Bank Account includes:

  • You were told you had to sign up for the Packaged Bank Account in order to obtain or make changes to another financial product such as a mortgage, loan or overdraft.
  • You were given a Packaged Bank Account without even knowing about it.
  • You were never provided with a full explanation of the Packaged Bank Account or told about the full costs.
  • You were told that you would not be eligible for a fee-free account and had to have a Packaged Bank Account.
  • You were told that you were a privileged customer and that your account was being ‘upgraded’, but it was not explained to you that it was a Packaged Bank Account and there was a cost to upgrade.
  • You were not asked if you had any pre-existing conditions that may have stopped you claiming against the insurance policy.
  • You were told you could claim against the insurance policies when you could not.
  • You were never told that you had to register certain items for them to be covered under the insurance policy.
  • You were never told about an increase in the monthly fee on the Packaged Bank Account.
  • You were told that you had to keep the Packaged Bank Account when you tried to cancel the account.

What fee do you charge for my claim?

Where your claim is successful, we will be entitled to a fee payable by you to us of 30% (plus VAT) of the settlement amount. By way of example, if your settlement amount is £1,000, our fee will be £300 (plus VAT) – and this will be the case whether you receive, for example, £1,000 in cash or £600 in cash and £400 by way of account reduction.

If your claim is not successful, there is no fee to pay. We do not charge anything up-front and nor do we levy any charges if your claim fails.

If you decide to cancel your claim while it is underway, a reasonable charge associated with the processing of your claim to date may be payable. However, you have the right to cancel within 14 days of receipt of your signed terms of service without any charge. Please read the Terms and Conditions in your claim pack to find out more.

If I’ve closed my account some time ago, can you still help me make a Packaged Bank Account claim?

Yes. In most cases, we can reclaim fees for accounts that have been closed within the last 6 years if the account was mis-sold.

Can you still help me if I’ve already started a Packaged Bank claim against my bank?

Please call us first to discuss your individual situation.

Have I been mis-sold a packaged bank account?

If you pay a monthly fee for your bank account, it may be that you have a packaged bank account which includes insurance products and other beneficial features. It is thought that around 1 in 5 of these were mis-sold, meaning in some cases, they were sold without checking whether they were beneficial or useful for the consumer.

For instance, if a packaged bank account that only included travel insurance and breakdown cover was sold to a pensioner who was too old to qualify for the travel cover and didn’t drive, this would be an example of mis-selling if the product suitability was not confirmed. There are many different ways in which packaged bank accounts were mis-sold. In some cases, account holders weren’t even aware that they were paying a monthly fee, or they were “upgraded” by their bank without their knowledge.

In other circumstances, customers were told that they had to take out the packaged bank account. Take a look at the following list: if any of these sound familiar to you, then you may be eligible to reclaim the fees you have paid.

You can talk to one of our friendly claims experts to find out!

• “The bank told me I had to have this account to get a mortgage or an overdraft.”

In some cases, this tactic was used to mis-sell financial packaged bank accounts: tell the consumer they have to have the product in order to make a successful application for a mortgage, overdraft or loan that they need. What staff often failed to mention is that in some cases, free alternatives were available that also satisfied the criteria to obtain the required financial product or service.

• “I tried to claim on my insurance, but I was told I didn’t qualify.”

Travel insurance is often sold in with packaged accounts, but many travel insurance providers have an age limit or exclusions for pre-existing medical conditions. In many cases, banks didn’t check whether the insurance was appropriate for the customer. If this has happened to you, you may have a case to reclaim your fees.

• “I tried to make a claim, but was told my car/smartphone wasn’t registered.”

If your packaged account included car or mobile phone insurance, you might have needed to register your items with the insurer – but in some scenarios, the banks did not tell customers that, meaning they paid for months while still being effectively uninsured.

• “I was told I was not eligible for a fee-free account”

Wherever a packaged bank account was offered, there may have been a fee-free account available to you as an alternative. If you were told by the bank that you had no free alternative when there was actually one available from them, you may have a case to reclaim the packaged bank account fees.

• “The bank just started charging me for my account without notice.”

In other cases, banks simply “upgraded” their customers to packaged accounts without letting them know. Some customers only noticed that this was happening when they spotted the monthly payments leaving their accounts on a bank statement. If this happened to you, you could be due a refund.

• “I tried to cancel my packaged account, but I was told I had to keep it.”

If you were told by the bank that you had to keep your packaged account even after you asked to be moved onto a free one, you could have a case to reclaim your money if there was a fee-free account available from them at the time. If this sounds familiar to you, you might be able to make a claim – especially if the products in the package were inappropriate for you.

How do I know if a packaged bank account is the right choice?

A ‘packaged bank account’ is a bank account where the customer pays a monthly fee to get access to a variety of extras. For example, many packaged bank accounts come with mobile phone insurance, breakdown cover or travel insurance. Before signing up to a packaged bank account you could work out the cost of separately purchasing the benefits you will actually use against the annual cost of the account.

It is estimated that 1 in 5 packaged bank accounts were mis-sold, however this doesn’t mean packaged bank accounts are a bad thing in themselves: it’s just that in some cases they have been sold to customers who may not be able to benefit from them.

In an ideal scenario, a packaged bank account offers a selection of benefits such as mobile phone insurance, break down cover and travel insurance in a convenient bundle, often saving customers money compared to purchasing the benefits separately. To work out whether you’re getting a good deal from a packaged account, first simply make sure you need and can make use of the extras and products that come with it.

One good example is mobile phone cover – it might be useful, but do you really want it, and is your phone already covered under your home contents insurance policy? It’s also important to carefully checkwhat bundled products like travel insurance actually include, as they might not be appropriate if you’re planning to go on a skiing holiday, for instance, or if you have certain pre-existing medical conditions.

Shop around and compare the annual cost of a packaged bank account against the cost you would pay to individually buy the policies you will actually use, such as mobile phone insurance and travel insurance.Don’t just take the bank employees word for it and don’t feel pressured to sign up to the account that very same day, take your time to figure out the best deal for your needs. Shopping around on comparison sites can be a good way to save money.

To summarise, just use this checklist to figure out whether a packaged account is worthwhile:

  • Am I able to benefit from the extras?
  • Do the insurance products offer me adequate cover?
  • Is the account suitable and what I want?

If the answer to all of these is yes, then chances are you’ve found a good packaged account. If not, then you could be paying for something you don’t need or can’t use.

You can talk to one of our friendly claims experts if you have, or used to have a packaged bank account that you feel you may have been mis-sold. We might be able to help you reclaim the fees you have paid.

How long does the claims process take?

Once we receive your completed claims pack, we will aim to review your case within five working days. If we think you may be due a refund, we will submit your claim in the form of a complaint to the bank as soon as possible.

Under the guidelines set out by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), financial institutions have up to eight weeks from the time they receive a complaint to when they have to issue a final decision. However, in reality, most banks take around eight to twelve weeks to process a claim for a mis-sold packaged bank account.

Occasionally, specific circumstances regarding a case mean it could take even longer than this, but if your claim is straightforward, in general you can expect the process to take 12 weeks or less. If the bank contests the claim or there are any other complications, this period of time may be longer.

If your bank takes an unreasonable amount of time or seems to be prolonging the process, we will refer your claim to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). This can take significantly longer than normal to resolve, but don’t lose hope as it can take up to 2 years to resolve.

You will need to provide your packaged bank account number for a claim to be made and the more information you can supply in your claim pack, the faster we can get to work on your behalf.

We will aim to update you whenever any significant progress is made with your claim. If at any time you are concerned about the length of time your claim is taking, please get in touch and we will be happy to let you know the current status of your case.

How much can I claim back?

If you have been mis-sold a packaged bank account, you could be eligible for a refund of the monthly fees that you have paid over the course of having the account, plus interest – which is usually an additional statutory 8% added to the final settlement amount.

However, the bank will usually calculate the amount of your settlement based on your individual case and they may take into consideration whether you have benefitted from any of the features of the account. In some cases, the bank might reduce the settlement if it was a joint account. For instance if one person was eligible for the insurance, but the other was not, you might only be able to claim for a partial refund of fees.

If you have any outstanding debts with the bank then the bank may use all or part of the settlement to repay your debt. This depends on the terms and conditions of your account. Our fee will still be payable whether you receive the refund or it is used to reduce your account balances.

What do I have to do to claim?

It’s surprisingly easy to submit a claim for mis-sold packaged bank account fees and at Banking Refunds we’re not looking to make it any more complicated. It’s a simple process, with no upfront charges.

Simply give us a call, or input your details on our homepage and we’ll call you. After you’ve discussed your circumstances with our trained claims agent over the phone, if we think you may be due a refund, we’ll send out a claim pack with a return envelope.

Most of the information will be completed based on your conversation with our claims agent, so just fill in the gaps, read through carefully, sign and send it back – we’ve tried to make it as simple as possible so you don’t have to fill in a lot of forms. We’ll just need your bank’s name, your account number and your signature.

Check that your details are correct, tick off the reasons you believe you have been mis-sold a packaged bank account, and complete and sign the declarations – our terms of service, and a letter of authority that allows us to act on your behalf.

Most importantly of all, remember that we work on a no-win-no-fee basis, meaning you will absolutely not have to pay anything upfront for us to manage your claim for you.

After you’ve returned your claims pack to us we will handle every aspect of your claim, including referring it to the Financial Ombudsman Service in the event of your bank rejecting the complaint. You can sit back while we pursue your claim, safe in the knowledge that you’ll receive no charge if your claim is not successful, or your refunded packaged bank account fees if it is. Please note a fee may be payable if you choose to cancel your claim or cease to cooperate with Banking Refunds.

What happens if I change my mind about making a claim?

You can cancel your claim at any time and for any reason. If you cancel within 14 days of us receiving your signed terms of service from Banking Refunds, there will be nothing to pay. Cancelling after this time can result in a reasonable charge associated with our work in processing your claim so far.

If you wish to cancel, please do so by making a clear statement by letter, email or phone, or by filling out a cancellation form. For further details, please read the Terms and Conditions you received in your claim pack.

What happens if my claim fails?

Not all mis-sold PBA claims are initially successful, but don’t be discouraged if your bank refuses to refund fees for your packaged bank account that you feel was mis-sold. If this happens, we will notify you of their reasons for doing so and contact you to let you know what the next steps are that you can take.

In some cases, the bank may have a valid reason for refusing to give you a refund, such as being able to provide evidence clearly demonstrating that the account was not mis-sold. If there is no good reason to continue pursuing your claim, we will let you know, and if we end your claim with us you will not be charged for our services in any way.

If on the other hand the bank refuses to give you a refund, but cannot give good enough evidence or you disagree with their decision, you have the opportunity to have your complaint adjudicated on by the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). This is the body that settles disputes between financial services companies and their customers.

Pursuing a claim further through the FOS means it may take longer than usual, but it could be encouraging to know that they won’t take sides and will look at each individual case with an open mind.

Note that if you decide to go through the FOS, you have only six months from the date of the banks final response letter to your complaint to do so – therefore, it is important that you notify us promptly of any correspondence you receive from your bank or the FOS, or you risk an FOS review of the bank’s decision becoming time-barred.

What happens if I’m not happy with the refund I receive?

Your bank might not agree to refund all of the money you paid for your packaged bank account – in some circumstances you might only be offered a partial refund. If you believe you are due a bigger refund than the bank is offering, you are not obliged to accept their first offer. However whether you choose to accept the first offer or not is entirely up to you.

If the bank will not offer to refund the amount you believe you are due, the next step you can choose might be to contact the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). The FOS is an independent service in the UK for settling disputes between businesses providing financial services & their customers.

If you choose to take your case to the Financial Ombudsman Service and you can provide evidence that challenges the bank’s stated reason for only offering a partial refund, then that could increase your chances of getting a better settlement.

What happens to my bank account if I claim?

Your packaged bank account will be closed if you successfully claim for a refund, as the bank cannot continue to offer a service that was mis-sold to you. However, your bank might offer to move you onto a new account with different terms, typically this will be a standard current account. It is up to you whether to stay with the same provider or switch to a different one.

If you choose to stay with your bank after a successful claim, you shouldn’t be worried about your bank treating you differently just because you have made a complaint against them. The Financial Conduct Authority expects all banks to operate under a ‘Treating Customers Fairly’ (TCF) principle. This principle means that customers should always be treated fairly, regardless of their involvement in packaged bank account claims and other general complaints.

What are the difference between bank charges and bank fees?

The terms ‘bank charges’ and ‘bank fees’ may sound similar, but they are different.

Bank Charges often relate to charges applied to personal current accounts, such as  charges for exceeding authorised overdraft limits, or making payments (or attempting to make payments) where no authorised overdraft exists.

Bank fees are paid in return for services provided by the bank, such as monthly fees for a packaged bank account.

Bank Charges

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) estimated in 2011 that a third of the revenue gained through personal current accounts was obtained through overdraft charges and the interest on overdrawn balances.

Recent research by the FCA highlighted some of the issues surrounding overdrafts:

  • Consumers don’t realise how much overdrafts can cost
  • Consumers are confused by unarranged overdrafts
  • Consumers often don’t see arranged overdrafts as borrowing and quickly become accustomed to using them.
  • Repayments are often driven by income coming in rather than as scheduled payments to clear an outstanding balance
  • Raising overdraft limits may be beneficial to the Banks but may be perceived by customers as their bank ‘trusting’ them.

There may be circumstances in which you can still reclaim Bank Charges. If you feel that you have not been charged in line with the terms and conditions of your Bank Account, or if you are experiencing financial difficulty, in the first instance you should contact your Bank. If your Bank does not satisfactorily address your complaint, you can refer your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman service, but please be aware that they will not uphold complaints unless justified.

Bank Fees on Packaged Bank Accounts

When you sign up for a bank account you may be offered a packaged bank account. These are the accounts that have a monthly bank fee, some of which are priced up to £25. The extras that are often available with these packaged bank accounts include insurance policies, ticket discounts, and a better interest rate on personal loans and savings.

The FCA have provided guidelines to consumers thinking about whether a packaged bank account is suitable. The five step guideline covers:

Step 1: Assess whether or not you would actually use the additional benefits that a packaged bank account offers or indeed whether you already have these benefits from another source.

Step 2: Contact your bank or building society to check whether you would be eligible to claim on any of the policies such as the insurance policies.

Step 3: To understand whether or not you are getting value for money, compare the price of buying the individual items that you would want to use against the annual cost of the Packaged Bank account.

Step 4:Checkwhether you need to activate benefits or register your details before any of the cover on the policies come into force.

Step 5: During the course of taking out a packaged bank account and paying a monthly fee, check whether your circumstances have changed in case you will no longer be eligible to claim on an insurance policy included in the packaged account.

In Conclusion

There may be circumstances in which you can ask your bank to reconsider applying Bank Charges if you are in financial hardship and the charges are adding to your problems. Contact your Bank initially and if the situation remains unresolved to your satisfaction, then you can contact the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Bank Fees charged by your Bank or Building Society for a Packaged Bank account relate to optional services. If you feel that you were mis-sold your Packaged Bank Account, you can complain to your Bank and ask them to refund the fees. If you are subsequently unhappy with the outcome, you can ask the Financial Ombudsman Service to look into this for you. Details can be found on the Financial Ombudsman Service website.

If you feel you don’t have the time or the confidence to handle the complaint yourself, that’s where we come in. We can take care of everything in relation to the management of your claim. Whenever appropriate we will also refer a Packaged Bank Account complaint rejected by your bank to the Financial Ombudsman Service and continue to pursue your claim.

How to claim back bank charges?

Over the last 15 years banks and building societies have offered customers additional services and products as part of a packaged bank account, or sometimes referred to as a privileged or paid for bank account. Some of these accounts have been really useful to customers who have been able to enjoy discounts on services they might usually expect to pay full price on and other benefits that might otherwise be out of their monthly budget to afford.

However some customers have not been so lucky with their experience of packaged bank accounts and have been able to claim back bank charges if they were mis-sold the account originally or in some cases didn’t even know they had a fee paying account.

Firstly what fees can you attempt to reclaim?

There is some confusion around the fees that you can claim back from your bank, for instance bank charges that relate to exceeding an overdraft limit or making a payment (or attempting to make a payment) where no authorised overdraft exists, then you would need to contact your bank directly to discuss a possible refund with them, if you feel these charges were unfair or outside of your bank’s terms and conditions.

However, if you have you had services on a bank account that couldn’t use, such as breakdown cover added to your bank account but you can’t drive, or standard travel insurance where you only require and asked for specialist travel cover for the types of adventurous holidays you embark on – then you may be entitled to compensation for the fees you were charged.

We also assist customers who were not even aware that they had been sold a fee paying account or customers who were told they HAD to have that account type to help them with a loan or mortgage application, in this situation it could also fall under mis-selling and you could be entitled to make a claim.

Bank account charges that relate to fees for additional services are normally easy to reclaim if they were mis-sold in the first place and usually the whole process takes a few weeks to complete.

How much could you claim back?

In the event of a successful claim the offer of compensation you receive from your bank will usually be for the full amount you have paid on fees plus interest. Typical account fees are between £5-£25 a month, so if you have paid £20 a month for 5 years then you could be offered:

£20 x 60 months = £1200 + interest

If your claim is unsuccessful you also have the option to appeal this decision if you feel it is incorrect – either with your bank or to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). FOS will review your case independently, without bias and will instruct your bank to issue the form of redress they see fit. If the claim is taken to FOS this means that the claim process will take a longer period of time. This could be up to two years.

Claiming back bank charges

If you want to look at claiming back bank charges in relation to exceeding an overdraft limit or making a payment (or attempting to make a payment) where no overdraft has been set up on the account then you should contact your bank directly.

However, if you or a partner believe you have been charged a fee on your bank account for services you did not need, were not able to use or simply didn’t know you had them, then you may be entitled to claim and you can request a call back from an adviser today to assist you if you would like to make a claim. And even if you’re not sure if you’ve ever had a packaged bank account – it’s worth checking with us to see if you may have a case to make a claim against your bank.

Below is an example of some packaged bank accounts with the fees and services each provide:

 

Bank Account name Monthly fee Benefits added to account:
Ulster Bank ufirstgold Current Account £9 Mobile phone insurance, worldwide annual travel insurance, ticket booking service (15pc cashback on concerts, shows and sporting events) and £500 arranged interest-free overdraft.
Lloyds Bank Silver Account £9.95 Axa European and UK travel insurance. AA breakdown cover. Mobile phone insurance. Available as an upgrade only for existing Classic or Added Value account customers.
TSB Silver Added Value Account £9.95 Axa European couples’ travel insurance. AA breakdown cover. Mobile phone insurance. You need to be a Classic Account holder to upgrade to a Silver Account.
Nationwide FlexPlus £10 Vehicle breakdown cover, extended warranty on appliances, worldwide family mobile phone insurance and worldwide family travel insurance.
Royal Bank of Scotland / NatWest Select Silver Account £10 European travel insurance, mobile phone insurance, ticket booking service (25pc cashback on theatre, dance, opera, concert performances) and a free Tastecard.
Yorkshire Bank / Clydesdale Bank Signature Current Account £13.50 Worldwide multi-trip family travel insurance, UK breakdown cover, mobile phone insurance.
Halifax Ultimate Reward Current Account £15 (£10 if you pay in more than £750 a month and remain in credit) Worldwide multi-trip family travel insurance, AA breakdown cover, mobile phone insurance, home emergency cover.
Royal Bank of Scotland / NatWest Select Platinum Account £16 Worldwide travel insurance, mobile phone insurance, UK breakdown cover, National Trust family day passes and a free Tastecard.
Lloyds Bank Platinum Account £17 Axa Worldwide and UK travel Insurance with either family or winter sports cover. AA breakdown cover. Mobile phone insurance. Available as an upgrade only for existing Classic or Added Value account customers.
Royal Bank of Scotland / NatWest Black Account £24 Worldwide travel insurance, worldwide airport lounge access, travel services (discounts on selected holidays and amenities), concierge service, mobile phone insurance, car breakdown cover, home emergency service, £500 fee-free arrranged overdraft.

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