We have recently moved into the area of helping our clients claim for a refund of all their premiums that they have paid towards their packaged current account, if we deem that they have been mis-sold.
It is estimated that one in five people have been sold a packaged bank account by their high street bank, as stated by the BBC Watchdog. These are accounts where you a pay a monthly fee for insurance, benefits and discounts.
They can include travel insurance, mobile phone insurance and car breakdown cover. They will also offer discounts on home and car insurance, restaurant prices and entertainment tickets.
A packaged bank account can cost anywhere from £6 to £30 a month which equates to between £72 and £360 per calendar year.
Each benefit to the current account will have it’s own individual terms and conditions in the small print that may not have been explained to you. This can include exceptions such as; no iPhone insurance, a limit on how many electronic items are covered by the gadget insurance and a cap on the total claim amount.
Breakdown cover can be limited to the age of your vehicle or the distance you are from home. These cover types vary greatly depending on which current account you have chosen.
Some people have been mis-lead to think that they had to upgrade to a paid account to enable their direct debits to be paid or for them to qualify for a loan, credit card or mortgage.
The restaurant discounts are limited to certain chains and premises, meaning you’re not going to see any benefit unless they are located in your area.
Banks have been known to switch customers to these paid accounts without their prior consent. Often being told they are being ‘upgraded’ for a plethora of reasons, but never actually being given the knowledge that there is a fee included. This is outrageous for the main reason that free banking is a right everyone in the United Kingdom has.
If you were told that having a packaged bank account made you a preferential customer, unfortunately this would have been a bluff, banking staff receive bonuses based on how many of these accounts they sign their customers up to.
Main reasons for mis-sale
Roadside Breakdown Cover
Many policies have been known to have exclusions regarding your car or distance you breakdown from home. This may be that if your car is older than ten years, then they will not include it. This can also be true if you are more than a certain number of miles from home when you call. Different banks offer different levels of cover.
Mobile Phone Insurance
Many of these policies have an extremely high excess, meaning there is often a cheaper alternative by insuring your phone directly with it’s own policy. Sometimes there are also strict rules on what needs to happen if you do need to make a claim. For instance if a theft occurs and you have not notified your operator within 24 hours and provided them with a crime reference number, then the claim is void.
A lot of exclusions can also apply to this part of the account. In most cases every single item that you want to be covered has to be registered with the insurer as well as supplying proof of purchase. Not only is this rarely explained to the customer, but this also nullifies any insurance for an item bought second hand. A top end value cap may also have been placed on this, for example you may only be able to claim up to £500 worth of gadgets, which in a lot of cases means only one or two items can actually be claimed on.
Exclusions frequently found on this type of cover are age limits, meaning if you are over a certain age, they will not cover you. Medical conditions can also get in the way, unfortunately these are rarely explained by advisers when taking out the account. The other exclusion that has been found in some current accounts is the distance you travel, meaning you may only be covered in Europe or there may be a cap on the distance from home that it applies to.
As you can see, Packaged Bank Accounts are not always what they seem to be. Here at It IS Your Money we specialise in claiming back premiums from mis-sold packaged accounts as well as a wealth of other financial products.
If you feel you may have been mis-sold a packaged bank account, please get in touch by calling 0333 321 0123, writing to It IS Your Money, Quay House, Torquay, TQ2 5BS or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.