What are my rights after a bank computer glitch?

The Financial Ombudsman Service says you can claim compensation for losses incurred due to a bank computer glitch. Use our guide to help you make a claim.

Your rights with bank glitches

The Financial Ombudsman Service says you can claim for losses you incur in the event of a bank computer glitch - but the success of any claim will depend on your own individual circumstances. These include:

Fees, charges and fines  These may have been applied to your own bank account, where payments were missed or delayed. For example, where wages were paid in late, you may have incurred charges for going overdrawn. 

Similarly, you might have incurred charges because you missed making a payment to someone else, such as your credit card company, your landlord or your mortgage provider.

Extra costs  These might be 'out of pocket' expenses that you had to pay when trying to sort things out – like the cost of phone calls, fares and parking charges.

Or they could be larger costs, like additional legal bills if a house purchase was delayed as a result of glitch in your banks IT systems.

Other financial losses  Delays in payments from a bank account could also result in other knock-on losses. 

For example, a delayed payment into a savings account might mean you lose interest on savings. Or small businesses may have experienced trading losses where business accounts have been disrupted.

Non-financial losses  Finally, you can be compensated for the trouble, stress or inconvenience you've been put through. 

This could cover things like embarrassment because you couldn't repay a debt or disruption caused by having to take time off to sort out urgent problems.

You can even ask your the bank to correct your credit file if it has been negatively affected as a consequence of the glitch.

Trouble, stress or inconvenience is considered in terms of its degree of severity. If the glitch simply caused annoyance, compensation is unlikely.

Gather evidence

You should support your claim for compensation for losses with any evidence you have, such as copies of:  

  • bank, mortgage and credit card statements showing charges resulting from the bank's problems.
  • phone bills, bus tickets or receipts for travel and petrol.
  • things like emails from the time that help show how the situation directly affected you.
  • a copy of your credit file if it has been negatively affected by the glitch.

Read our guide for more advice on complaining to your bank.

Get in touch with your bank

Get in touch with your bank straight away and tell them:

  • What happened to you as a result of the computer problems.
  • What you want them to do to help put things right for you.
  • What losses you want them to cover.

It will help you and your bank if you can give them a clear list of what you're claiming for – with the key facts and figures all outlined.

All banks should have details of how to complain to them, in branch or online.

Go to the Ombudsman

All banks have pledged to help customers who have been affected by computer problems.

If you're unhappy with how your bank deals with your case, you can contact the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).

The FOS has official powers to sort out problems where people can't agree a resolution with their bank.

If the FOS agrees you've lost out because of the bank's problem, it can tell the bank to pay you compensation for the following:

  • To make sure you don't end up out of pocket.
  • To recognise the inconvenience and trouble you've been put through.

The FOS can also make sure you've not lost out in any other way, such as telling the bank to correct your credit file if this has been negatively affected. 

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