Financial Ombudsman Service 'inundated' with calls about reclaiming bank charges

23 February 2007
It is estimated that in the last six months, around 100,000 people have complained to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) about unfair bank charges.

Since the Office of Fair Trading announced in April that banks have been unfairly charging customers – including £39 for a bounced cheques and £28 each day an accounts over its authorised limit - thousands have being looking at ways of claiming back money, estimated by the OFT to have totalled £300million a year.

And, following the BBC's Watchdog programme this week, the FOS says it has been 'inundated' with calls from people wanting to claim back fees they have been charged in the last six years – a year ago the hotline used to get about 100 calls a day, since the OFT's announcement, it has been up to 1,000 and since the Watchdog programme about reclaiming bank charges, it has been receiving up to 5,000 daily.

A spokesman for the service said: "It has even eclipsed mortgage endowment complaints. We usually get 200 to 250 of them a day, so it has well surpassed that."

Founder of, Martin Lewis says people are right to be taking action: " The law is plain: any charges banks levy on their customers must be proportional to the actual costs they incur," he says. "The simple question is, ‘does it really cost £35 to send an automated letter when someone’s gone 1p over the limit?’

"Thus, write to your bank asking for a list of your last six years’ charges, add interest on top and ask for a full refund. When it refuses inform it you’ll go to court under the small claims system. In most cases, the bank will simply pay out."

Find out about reclaiming bank charges