Complaints soar over bank chargesUp to 5,000 registering complaints daily

23 February 2007

 

Cascading pound coins.

Up to 5,000 bank customers a day are currently registering a complaint with the financial ombudsman over high penalty charges.

The number of people phoning the ombudsman's helpline about the issue has soared in recent days as a consumer revolt against fees continues to gather pace.

The Financial Ombudsman Service said that this week alone they expect to receive 5,000 complaints every day over charges by banks and building societies.

This is up on the figure of 1,000 a day it has been receiving in recent weeks.

High fees

The Financial Ombudsman Service said the number of complaints it is receiving is unprecedented.

A spokesman for the service said: ‘It has even eclipsed mortgage endowment complaints. We usually get 200 to 250 of them a day, so it has well surpassed that.’

The soaring number of complaints comes at a time when banks are bracing themselves for the findings of an investigation by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) on the issue.

Last year, the OFT told banks that they must cap credit card penalty fees at £12. Many are now predicting that the watchdog could take a similar view on unauthorised overdraft charges, forcing financial institutions to cut their fees.

Bank charges

If you want to claim a refund of unfairly high 'default' charges - charges made for bouncing a cheque, say, or for exceeding your overdraft limit – you can use the Which? banking charges site.

Tens of thousands of consumers have already used our website in their battle to claw back unfair charges.

Which? has produced a complete set of web resources to help consumers win their money back. Our banking charges site includes:

  • information on why the charges may be unenforceable in law
  • a factsheet on how to use the small claims court to gain redress
  • template letters to challenge the banks.