step 1 - letter to your bank

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Back to Unfair Bank Charges home

Not sure how many charges have been applied? - send a Data Protection Act letter (PDF version)

No response to Data Protection Act request? - lodge a complaint for enforcement

ignored? - send this letter

Letters updated on 9 April 2006 to take on board the Office of Fair Trading's statement on unfair default charges.

You may wish to write to your bank or credit company to provide them with an opportunity to voluntarily refund charges.  If they agree to do so they will usually say 'we are refunding charges as a goodwill gesture'. 

Below is a letter in Word/PDF which you can use.  You will need to amend this to suit your own personal circumstances.  Use letter 1 where your bank has charged you for declined or 'bounced' transactions only; or letter 2 in all other cases, including where transactions have been paid resulting in an unauthorised overdraft and charges.

Make sure you keep copies of the letters you send. (More info - why two letters?)  Please note: if the letter does not download immediately, please 'rick click' and 'save target'.  You can then open the file.

Many people have told us that their bank has refunded charges (in full or in part) after sending the 'Step 1' letter.  However, in some cases banks have refused to provide any refund.  The reasons given are typically - you agreed to the charges; they are part of the terms and conditions of your contract; our charges are no more than other banks impose; or that the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contract regulations cannot operate to restrict the free market and agreed prices etc.,

Do not despair.  These arguments are ill-founded. If your bank refuses a refund on one of these grounds, please consider sending our 'Step 2' letter (making the necessary adjustments to suit your particular facts).

If you are successful in getting charges refunded, let us know at: [email protected].

If you don't get a response after 7 days, you should consider Step 3 - raising a small claims action for payment - Step 3 (England, Wales & NI); Step 3 (Scotland).   However, if you do raise court proceeedings you must be prepared to undertake all of the work necessary to present your case - up to and including a full evidential hearing.

Alternatively, if you do not feel confident raising a small claims action, or you claim is over the small claims limit (£5,000 in England & Wales, £750 in Scotland, & £2,000 in Northern Ireland) you can lodge a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service.  The Ombudsman can require your bank to refund your charges.

example of bank charge letter

example of bank charge letter


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