A packaged bank account (PBA) is a current account for which you pay a monthly fee and typically provides a package of additional benefits such as preferential rate overdrafts, travel insurance, breakdown cover, mobile phone insurance and access to a raft of other ancillary discounts and promotions.
They were sold by most high-street banks and building societies from the 1990’s until present day and were given attractive-sounding names such as “Premier”, “Advantage” or “Gold” to make the customer think that they were superior to the standard fee-free accounts.
Unfortunately for many people the package of “benefits” offered by the account were unnecessary, irrelevant and represented poor value for money. Some customers were wrongly told they had to take a packaged account in order to obtain an overdraft, mortgage or loan. Some were sold accounts which contained benefits they were not eligible to use or which they simply did not need; for instance, if they were too old to qualify for the travel insurance or they already had equivalent (or better) cover elsewhere. Other customers were not given a choice and were automatically switched or “upgraded” from perfectly suitable fee-free accounts without their knowledge or consent.
New customers were often told the packaged account was the only account available to them, even though this was not the case.
If your claim is successful then you could be entitled to a full refund of all the monthly fees you have paid for your account, plus interest at the rates recommended by the Financial Ombudsman Service (currently 8% gross).
This could amount to hundreds or even thousands of pounds, depending on how much you were paying and how long you had the packaged account for.
In some cases, the bank may be entitled to deduct the value of any benefits claimed; for instance if you have made a successful claim against the mobile phone insurance the value of the pay-out may be offset against any compensation. However, our expert claims advisors will check all offers thoroughly to ensure that they have been calculated according to the regulators rules and that any deductions made are fair and reasonable.
Simply speak to one of our claims experts check and we’ll do the rest. We will then send you a form to sign and return. We will then call you to carry out a thorough detailed investigation to send to the bank on your behalf, from that point we will do the rest, unless we require you to send us any additional paperwork.
No, we don’t, but it does usually help speed things up. At a minimum, we will need the name of the bank you held the account with. The account number would also be very helpful, although if necessary we can make use of the Data Protection Act & force your bank to provide the other information we need to get a claim underway.
The simple answer to this is, yes you can (The Financial Ombudsman Service is a free service. For more information visit www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk).
Your bank cannot close or change your account simply because you are making a claim. However, if your claim is successful it is likely that you will have to switch to a fee-free account in order to accept the compensation. You can stay with your existing bank, or of course shop around for a better deal.