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Monday, 18 October 2010


I still hate them.
This was going to be a reply in the comments but I thought that the general theme would be better aired in the open.
In reply to the Weekend Yachtsman who commented on my last bank post with this.
Not so sympathetic on charges, to be honest. Everything is there in the small print; if you don't read it, and/or don't honour the agreements you've signed up to, you don't have any gripe when the advertised penalties come into effect. If you don't understand that, you shouldn't be opening a bank account, frankly.
Lives ruined? Get real.
The last point you make is ludicrous
If you don't understand that, you shouldn't be opening a bank account, frankly.
Answer me this Mr Yachty. How can you not have a bank account these days? How many companies pay their employees in cash? Very, very, few I would surmise.
(I’m not slagging you off. I’m just stating a fact)
A lot of the cases I dealt with, involved working with people on a low wage who could just about make ends meet. Most had an overdraft limit and were at times forced by circumstance to hover near that limit due some unforeseen circumstance. One case in point was that a close relative died and funeral expenses needed to be paid. You get the picture.
Now the family in question, being money conscientious, had set up ten direct debits to pay the various utility bills that we are all required to pay. Can you imagine their shock when they received a rude letter from one of the utility companies stating that the direct debit had failed to be honoured? On contacting the bank they found that the bank had stopped all their direct debits to the utility companies as the family was over it’s overdraft limit by a few pounds.
Bad enough. However the family were penalised by the bank with a charge of £38.
So what you say.
They were charged £38 for exceeding their overdraft limit and ten times £38 for the direct debits. A whopping £418.
From then on they could never recover.
All the banks loaded their penalties in this way, even though it is widely known that with their computerised systems, the costs of stopping a direct debit, cheque, etc, would at most cost them £2.
But then again the banks made £6,000,000,000 from their charges alone, per year.
Just as an aside. Until the OFT challenged them and lost due to incompetence, not one case, where people challenged the banks in court, ever went to court. The banks would prevaricate right down to the wire. Even settling on the court steps before the hearing. They knew that what they were doing couldn’t stand scrutiny. For the moment they have won the battle. But have they won the war?
You have the right of reply Mr Weekend Yachtsman.
Of course I might have a diatribe about Weekend sailors. I was a Professional seafarer for 43 years and came to deplore the sheer lack of knowledge of the “Rule of the Road” by weekend sailors.
Phew that’s better. Off for a ciggy and a large whisky.


  1. Banks charge a stupid amount for a bounced direct debit.
    At the same time, a lot of people do not take enough care over their finances.
    I used to be the same. One week, about 15 years ago, I had a situation like that. Half my wage disappeared in charges. It wasn't because I was on a low wage (Iwas), it wasn't because the bank was being overly greedy (it was), it was because of my terrible financial management.
    I turned things around at that point and started keeping track of my money correctly. I've not had a bank charge since.

    I am almost on the verge of saying banks are justified in charging heavily when a large portion of their customers cannot look after their own money. The stumbling block is something you stated yourself. We all have to have bank accounts. There is no opt out, our wages have to be paid into a bank.

    If this monopoly was cancelled and we could opt for cash wages, then we could be as careless as we want and be the only loosers.

    As long as banks have this power over us then I will agree with your stance FE.

    When I am given the option not to use them I will say, charge what you want.

  2. Yes my daughter did the same as you. Ran up tremendous debts. That's what got me into looking at the system and realising how trapped we are with the present banking system.


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