The next thing to think about is whether the insurance policies are appropriate. For example, some policies may not pay out in a claims process, so it’s important to read the fine print.
Does the packaged bank account offer you better value for money than free bank accounts? Are you saving money on the package includes as a whole? Typical monthly account fees will cost anything from £5 – £50 for this type of account. You must also meet specific requirements to have a packaged account which does vary.
Overall, packaged bank accounts do have their benefits; however, to some they can be a waste of money. It is about weighing up the total costs and ensuring you will reap the benefits. Many have fallen foul of being convinced they need this type of account instead of a free account and that is where the problem lies.
The Problem with Packaged Accounts
The primary issue that comes with this account type is that many have been mis-sold the account by overbearing sales agents. It is proven that banks have used “foul-play” to mis-sell package accounts to customers.
Two of the major banking corporations Lloyds Bank and Barclays Bank have been guilty of this. Let’s first look at why so many customers are seeking Lloyds Packaged bank account refunds.
The Lloyds Bank package costs around £5 – £25 a month and offers benefits like travel insurance, breakdown cover and gadget protection. Many customers may have fallen foul of their mis-selling tactics due to a lack of transparency. Those with pre-existing medical conditions or cover would not be eligible to use the policies. This is something that many argue was not made clear to them. Other issues included:
- Pushy sales agent making customers feel like they had to upgrade
- Persuading customers that they need a packaged account to receive credit
- Policies and extras that no one would ever need or be able to utilise
- Lloyds bank failed to disclose that the upgrade was optional
- False advertising making customers believe they would need this for an overdraft and mortgage
- Monthly fees were not disclosed
Plus many more! Barclays bank has been found guilty of similar techniques. Some of the reported complaints surrounding Barclays unveiled that the bank upgraded accounts without permission. They too also used pushy sale techniques and pressured customers into thinking there was no choice. Those issues make it clear as to why so many customers are now seeking Barclays packaged bank account refunds.
If some of the scenarios stated above sound familiar, then you too could be eligible for a claim. Packaged bank accounts are difficult for people to get their head around. If you are fully aware that you are not benefiting from the package includes then it is time to switch back to a free account!
Were you mis-sold a packaged account?
As highlighted with the previous case studies it is evident mis-selling has taken place. To understand whether you have been the victim of this you need to understand what was and wasn’t disclosed at the point of sale. There are many different types of mis-selling that could have occurred, and if you relate to any of the scenarios below, then you have a right to claim.
If the bank falsely informed you that a package bank account was needed to get a mortgage, overdraft or loan approval then this is clear mis-selling. Customers were sold this theory, alongside the notion that applications will be declined without a packaged account. That is not true! Therefore a clear breach of honest selling techniques. This is the most extreme technique used. Some sales agents may instead opt not to tell you about free alternatives and convince you this is the only available option.
Another common one was that you couldn’t benefit from the package includes due to age or medical conditions. Customers would find they were ineligible to claim the insurance policies advertised. It is the banks’ responsibility to check if you are eligible for what they are selling. Those checks should be completed yearly. Many travel insurance policies have age restrictions which were not made clear.
In 2013 new laws came into play stopping pressuring sale tactics. However, some customers may have fallen victim of a pushy salesman. Banks put tremendous pressure on staff to sell paid accounts which resulted in many forcing customers to purchase.
If the bank you took a packaged account out with increased the monthly fees without you knowing then you are too eligible to claim. It is their responsibility to inform customers of such increases, and many have proven not to. Be sure to check regularly your bank statements and transactions to spot increases. This also links to customer accounts being switched to a paid account without permission whether that be out of a computer or human error it is still mis-selling.
Those are just a few examples of how packaged bank accounts may have been mis-sold in the past. The cases highlighted are clear breaches of selling and should not have been allowed to happen. It is clear the bank told many customers false information is resulting in impulse purchases. If you or someone you know has fallen victim to such tactics and believe a packaged account has been mis-sold, then you have a right to claim.
How to Make A Claim?
If you have fallen victim of packaged bank account mis-selling, then you are entitled to make a claim. The first thing you will need to do is complain to your bank. Many banks will have a dedicated complaints area on their website. It is important to note that as a customer you should be treated fairly, therefore have every right to make a claim.
The best way to approach the claims process is in writing or through a claims management company. This is the most secure method to ensure your complaint is appropriately received. You will need to explain in detail why you think you have been mistreated. There are also many claim management services online that can help with the process.
Many banks may decline your claim request; however, this is not the end. You can then escalate your case to the Financial Ombudsman Service. This service is free and acts as the official body for claims between customers like yourself and financial companies. It will serve as an independent judge and decide whether your claim is valid.
It is essential to provide the financial ombudsman with as many facts and as much evidence as possible. Any paperwork you have any correspondence with the bank is required so be sure to include this to back up your case. The whole process can take up to a year to solve due to the ongoing nature of complaints at the Ombudsman service.
Overall, if you genuinely believe you have been mis-sold a packaged account and can relate to any or all of what has been discussed throughout the article, then you are well in your rights to make a claim. If you are no longer benefiting from your packaged bank account and want to transition back to a free account, then we urge you to act on this quickly. For those that see the benefits in a packaged bank account ensure all the policies involved are right for you in terms of cost and eligibility. Once you have decided to transition as you no longer see the benefits, then don’t let sales agents convince you otherwise. Be sure to only pay for a current account if you will reap the benefits and in the long term save money. Don’t make a rash decision and research the policies involved to ensure you are getting the best value for money. In terms of making a claim don’t give up and present a strong case. Seek advice online and ensure you get the money back that you deserve.
So, if you feel that you have a complaint about package bank accounts, feel you were mis sold the account, are concerned about the information the bank gave you, or just feel you were mis sold a credit card or bank account, contact us now and we will start the claim process to get you compensation.