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NatWest pays record sum to businessman

One of the UK's leading banks, NatWest, has paid a Norfolk businessman over £36,000 after he made a claim over illegal and unfair bank charges that were applied to his business account.

The man, who remains anonymous, challenged the bank over the charges following the major controversy over the past few months, where banks have been accused of ripping off customers and charging them fees that have been deemed unlawful because they are up to ten times the amount that it actually costs the bank ion administration fees.

The fees were applied to the man's business account every time a direct debit was returned or a cheque bounced, and each time the fee was £30. The man claims that between 2000 and 2002 NatWest charged him around £24,000 in overdraft fees. He stated: 'At the time I was paying £2,000 to £3,000 a month in charges. I felt I was being ripped off - they were quite happy to take bank charges from us but were not willing to give us an overdraft.'

The businessman used a standard letter from the website of the Consumer Action Group, and as part of his claim he demanded £24,000 in back charges plus an additional £12,000 in interest. However, after sending the letter he did not hear anything within the specified time period of two week, and so he began to take legal action through the Money Claim Online Service.

The customer arranged a case conference for May, but later that week he received a cheque in the post from NatWest for the amount requested, although the bank did not enclose anything that admitted liability.

This is a real victory for consumers that are trying to reclaim bank charges from many of the UK's leading banks. However, although banks are thought to have paid out around £10,000,000 in total to over 7000 claimants, many are still afraid to make a claim for fear or repercussions from their bank.

Tom Smith
30th April 2007


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