How to reclaim bank charges for free?

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Claiming bank charges
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If you have ever had bank charges applied to your bank account, you can try to claim these back from your bank, even if you no longer bank with them.

Follow this guide:

  1. Apply for your credit report.  Your credit report will contain all of your borrowing, the company name, the account information and the date you held the account.
  2. If you are applying for a few of these, make a spreadsheet or write everything on a sheet of paper like so:
Company name Type: Date (from and to): Date claim letter sent to company: Response from company:
Company Y Bank account 1stApril 2012-29thDec 2014 1st April 2016 Upheld
Company Y Bank account 9th Jun 2011-6th May 2015 Declined – write to Ombudsman

 

3. Now write a letter to each company asking them the following (please use whatever applies to your situation):

  • At the time I was receiving these charges I had been made redundant and I was struggling to make ends meet.
  • At the time I was receiving these charges I was in between jobs and could not afford my monthly bills.
  • At the time I was receiving these charges, my partner had passed away and I was struggling to make ends meet.
  • At the time I was receiving these charges, I was unemployed and was struggling to make ends meet.
  • At the time I was receiving these charges, I was a single parent struggling to make ends meet.
  • At the time I was receiving these charges, I was only going overdrawn by £1 (or enter another figure] but I was charged £[insert how much you were charged].
  • At the time I was receiving these charges, it kept making me go further and further into the red because I could not afford to keep within my overdraft, pay my bills and pay these charges.

4. Before you send each letter, make sure you keep a copy for your records.

5. Once you have sent each letter, make sure you update your spreadsheet.

6. You should then receive a letter from the company advising you that they are looking into it and will come back to you within a certain time frame.  If you do not receive a response after 7 working days, you need to send a further letter chasing for a response to the first.  Ensure you enclose a copy of the first letter sent.

7. Update your spreadsheet when receiving or sending any communications to the company.

8. You will then receive a final response from the company:

If your complaint is upheld:

The company will pay the sum owed into your bank account or they may send you a cheque.  You will need to let the Inland Revenue about any funds you receive as they are taxable.

If your complaint is declined:

Write a letter of complaint to the Financial Ombudsman.  They will need a copy of all the correspondence between you and the company and the company’s final response.

The Ombudsman will then write to you to confirm that they are looking into the matter. You may receive a call from the Ombudsman so make sure you have all your paperwork and credit report to hand.

The Ombudsman will make a decision and write to you and the company to advise them.

If you are not happy with the Ombudsman’s decision, you can complain here.