Bank Charges fuel further uprisings

21 February 2007
More than 20,000 people have added their names to a campaign against the level of fees implemented by banks, which the Office of Fair Trading announced were unlawful at the end of last year, according to a report by the Independent.

Martin Lewis, founder of financial advice site,, which has been leading the campaign since November, said that by the end of this week, more than one million people are predicted to have downloaded complaints forms and letter templates to send to their banks, claiming back the fees they have been charged over the past six years.

“People are now realising this is something that is real," he said. "It's not a gimmicky thing that is only for financial nerds, but a straightforward process anyone can follow in order to claim a refund that is potentially worth thousands of pounds."

Even politicians have joined the rebellion against the excessive charges. Liberal Democrat treasury spokesman, Vincent Cable, said “What is emerging very clearly is that the banks have been allowed to get away for a very long time with excessive and unjustified charges, whose legality is doubtful.”

He continued: “We have calculated that every customer is now paying something like an average of £320 a year to bank shareholders.” Cable also condemned high street banks for “acting like a cartel” by threatening to bring an end to free banking if the OFT force them to reduce their charges.

Bank bosses, however, claim that customers are to blame for the costs which such actions as exceeding overdrafts and bouncing cheques incur, and are refusing to accept that they have been charging their customers illegally, the report said.

The report also revealed research by consumer group Which?, concluding that £4.7 billion was earned by banks in unauthorised borrowing charges during the last year alone.

Learn more about reclaiming bank charges