About 2 years ago I sued my bank, Barclays Bank plc, in the Salford County Court for thousands of pounds worth of ridiculous bank charges (and accrued interest over time) that they had debited from my account over a 6 year period. They callously removed funds from my account on a regular basis for going over my overdraft limit, something they allowed to happen, which questions what purpose my “agreed overdraft limit” served at the time, if they were happy to let me go over it, then charge ridiculous sums for it.
In some cases, Barclays refused to pay direct debits of just a few pounds, but then charged me a fee of around £30, to bounce a direct debit of less than £10.
After picking up the story on the Penalty Charges Forum and The Consumer Action Group I decided to begin action in the small claims court and submitted my claim. As my case came to be heard, I prepared my court bundle and sat waiting to put my case across to the judge.
Barclays didn’t bother to show on the day, but the judge had already made his mind up long before I walked into his chambers and put a “stay” on my case until such time as the High Court made a ruling.
Last week, the High Court ruled that the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) could indeed determine if the charges are fair and we are but the last step from some form of redress (and hopefully refund) from the banks.
I urge anyone who has ever been charged for bounced direct debits, standing orders or cheques or “unathorised” overdraft fees to lodge a complaint with your local county court against your bank and begin the process of claiming back these unfair charges.