Ive only just noticed this when checking my business account online, and as nobody has posted it, its deffo worth a post:
This applies to the following banks, although the actual text has been sourced from the Abbey website, and your own bank may vary its regulation slightly. It is also likely to apply to banks that are not listed below:
- Halifax/Bank Of Scotland
- Lloyds TSB
- Royal Bank of Scotland/NatWest
- Yorkshire Bank
- Nationwide Building Society
What is happening?
On 27 July, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), Abbey and six other UK banks and a building society started a court case to decide on the legality of unauthorised overdraft charges. The British Bankersí Association has made a statement on behalf of the banks involved. You can read this statement at www.bba.org.uk
This case is called a "test case" because the decision will clarify the law in this area and is likely to apply to all current and new claims against current account providers about unauthorised overdraft charges.
We will continue to post updates on our website to keep customers informed of progress on the test case as this could run for at least a year.
What will happen to customer complaints about unauthorised overdraft charges?
Like most banks and building societies, we will not be dealing with or resolving customer complaints on unauthorised overdraft charges while the test case is running.
If you do complain about your unauthorised overdraft charges, we will write to tell you that we have received your complaint and that we will record it on your file. When a final decision is reached in the test case, we will contact you as soon as possible to tell you how we will resolve your complaint. We will apply the decision in the court case to all complaints we receive.
Why are the banks allowed to stop dealing with unauthorised overdraft charge complaints during the test case?
We applied to the Financial Services Authority (FSA) for a suspension of the normal timetable for dealing with unauthorised overdraft charge complaints. The FSA decided that, in the circumstances it was appropriate to grant us a suspension of our obligations under the FSA's complaint handling rules while we sought legal certainty on this issue. The suspension is subject to a series of conditions designed to protect customers' rights. You can read the form of the FSA suspension here: www.fsa.gov.uk
All customers who have made a written complaint on unauthorised overdraft charges but who have not yet had their complaint resolved will receive a letter to explain the position with respect to their complaint.
Can I make a court claim for a refund during the test case?
Yes, but we will apply to the court to put your case on hold while the test case is running. This is because the issues being raised in customer complaints on unauthorised overdraft charges are being considered in the test case.
Can I complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service about my bank charges?
The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) has decided not to review complaints while the test case is running. If you do complain to FOS, you will receive a letter explaining that.
What if I have already been made an offer?
We will stand by any offer to settle a complaint or court claim that we have already made to our customers. If you have received an offer to settle from us, we will be writing to you again shortly. Our letter will explain that customers have two months to decide whether to refuse our offer and wait for the decision in the test case. If you do choose to refuse an offer, your complaint or claim we will be held and recorded by us until there is a final decision in the "test case". We will then contact you again as soon as possible to finally resolve your complaint.
I have already accepted an offer from you. Will my claim be revisited?
If you have accepted a 'full and final settlement', we believe it unlikely you would be awarded a further sum even if the test case indicates a potentially larger amount. However, this does not preclude you from asking for repayment of any new charges incurred if the courts find they are unlawful.
How long will the "test case" take?
At this time it is too soon to give any exact timescales for a conclusion to the "test case" but it could go on for more than a year. We have agreed with the OFT and the FSA to conduct the test case in an efficient, prompt and orderly way.
Where can I find out more?
Customers can contact us by calling 08456 022631 where they will hear an automated announcement and can then speak to an advisor.
Alternatively, you can find more information through the following links:
The Financial Services Authority: www.fsa.gov.uk
The Office of Fair Trading: www.oft.gov.uk
The Financial Ombudsman Service: www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk
The British Bankers' Association: www.bba.org.uk
Source: Abbey.com Press Release
Related Link: British Bankers Association Press Release