I've been charged because my bank made a mistake on a direct debit

If your bank has made a mistake on a direct debit resulting in bank charges, it's up to them to sort it out for you. Read our guide to how you can get your money back.

Claiming for compensation

Write to your bank and ask that it apologises for its mistake and puts matters right immediately. 

An example of a mistake made could be if, in the process of switching your accounts, there was an error in the transfer of your direct debits.

In your letter you should be requesting that the bank brings all of your payments up to date, amends any adverse credit reference information on your mortgage and credit card accounts, and refunds the bank charges on your account from the unpaid direct debits and standing orders.

Top tips

  • If your bank has made a mistake, write to them immediately. In the letter you should demand that the bank brings all of your payments up to date
  • If your bank delays in sorting out the mistake, you should also ask for additional compensation. Don't allow the bank to claim that the refund of the costs counts as compensation

Additional compensation

If your bank delays in sorting the matter out you should also ask it for any additional compensation to reflect the considerable inconvenience that the matter has caused.

If you are claiming any additional losses, you will need to provide evidence to support your claim.

For example, if you have applied for a loan and was turned down due to the adverse credit reference information, which was registered as part of the bank’s mistakes, it would have to be shown that this was the reason why you were prevented from obtaining the finance you needed.

Don’t allow the bank to claim that the refund of the charges counts as compensation.

If your bank raises this point, you should tell them that you would never have incurred these charges if they had processed your standing orders and direct debits correctly.

By refunding the charges, the bank has not provided any form of compensation – it has simply put your bank account back to where it should have been.

Find out where to go if you have a bank complaint

Direct debit switching

Under the Financial Conduct Authority's (FCA) Banking Code, when you switch from one bank to another, your old bank should send the details of all your existing direct debits and standing orders to your new bank

Under the FCA rules, all financial institutions should have in place a complaints procedure, and your complaint should be dealt with within eight weeks.

Upon receiving a final response letter, you can refer your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). 

See our guide on how to take a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service

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