Avoid firms offering to reclaim your bank feesSave money and do it yourself

18 May 2007

 

A pile of notes and coins.

‘No win, no fee’ firms have been criticised for cold calling people and offering to reclaim bank fees.

The Information Commissioner's Office confirmed that it had received a number of complaints over unsolicited automated phone calls made by a claim handling firm.

Claims management companies have become increasingly active in the area of bank penalty fees in recent months, encouraged by the high number of people affected.

They offer to take on a client's case against a bank for them in return for a slice of the eventual refund.

Bank charges

But this service is unnecessary because you can claim back the fees using the free template letters on our bank charges website.

Now the marketing tactics of claims handling firms is under the spotlight following complaints concerning automated phone calls.

Such practices are in breach of the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulation, the Information Commissioner's Office said.

It has written to one firm alleged to have contravened the rules.

Claims handling

Claims handling firms are already under greater scrutiny as a result of having to be authorised by the newly established Ministry of Justice.

Which? personal finance campaigner Emma Bandey, said: ‘Claiming back bank charges really is easy and simple.

‘We would urge people to do it themselves rather than using a claim handling firm, as according to the Financial Ombudsman Service, it makes no difference to the outcome of a complaint whether it comes directly from the customer or from a claim management firm.

‘In exchange for a little patience and time you can keep all the money refunded to you by your bank, rather than handing part of it over to someone else.’