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Firms cashing-in on bank charges are held to account

 

SCOTS are being warned against paying commercial firms fees to help them reclaim extortionate bank charges.

The same support is available absolutely free from local Citizens Advice Bureaux and other advice agencies, points out Govan Law Centre and Citizens Advice Scotland.

By contrast, some firms are demanding as much as 40 per cent of any money reclaimed.

The prospect of reclaiming bank charges - penalty fees levied on unauthorised overdrafts along with charges for reminder letters - has become a live issue in the past few months.  Bank charges have long been criticised by bodies such as the CAB service for being excessive.  Last year, the Office of Fair Trading ruled that default charges over £12 are automatically presumed to be unfair, making them legally unenforceable.

The move has given a green-light for account-holders to demand that their bank reimburses them for charges now deemed to be too high.

To help them do so, Govan Law Centre and the CAB service have compiled model letters which clients can send off to banks requesting details of all charges levied over the past few years, along with follow-up letters to reclaim these.

Both organisations doubt that a commercial firm will offer any meaningful extra support that could justify charging a fee.

Mike Dailly, principal solicitor at Govan Law Centre, said: 

Steven Purcell, leader of Glasgow City Council, said: 

ENDS