If you already had travel insurance, independently of the Packaged Bank Account [PBA) that was sold to you, then there is a good chance that the account itself was mis-sold. The reason for this is that the Bank’s Sales Officer should have established with you whether you had any other product available to you that was the same as the benefit in the packaged account facility. Therefore, if you had travel insurance already in place (or you went away on holiday and required a specific type of insurance; for instance you went on skiing holidays which are classed as more “at risk of injury” meaning a Speciality insurance is usually required for this type of holiday) then the policy could have been mis-sold.
The Sales Officer from the Bank should have established if these areas were already covered and if they were, should have highlighted the fact that either the cover provided by the packaged account in this particular instance would not have covered you, or that whilst the one part of the account package was not appropriate (because it was already covered elsewhere) you could still have the packaged facility (but of course you would be paying for a product where part of its use was limited). You could however have decided upon whether the remaining parts of the packaged facility were of use to you and considered it further from there.
Packaged Bank Accounts are account facilities held by approximately £11million throughout the UK. The costs of these accounts range from between £10 to £30 per month. The accounts themselves offer a variety of benefits – that may or may not be appropriate to the client. The account facility itself was set up by Banks in order to generate considerable revenue from the current account holders, who otherwise had account facilities where they were paying no fee. In order to justify the cost of the account fee, the various elements were bolted on, with minimal cost to the Banks. However, as was highlighted by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in a recent study, the Banks have not been following their strict guidelines in the sale of these accounts, and many of them have therefore been mis-sold.
If your account has been mis-sold, then there is good opportunity to make a claim. The refunds that we are obtaining for the clients that we represent stand at anywhere between £1,500 and £3,000 which include all of the various fees that have been charged on a monthly basis (namely the charge of £10 to £30) followed by the various interest savings together with compensatory interest upon the full refund. There are instances where the account package was correctly sold. In these cases, if our clients find themselves in this position after our investigations, there is no fee at all to pay.
We have been dealing with a variety of claims over recent years (primarily PPI) but we are now seeing a rapid increase in the number of claims regarding packaged account fees, even more so as word gets out that these can be claimed, and the Banks are addressing the various refunds. The Banks themselves are making various provision in their annual account facilities and are putting provision in place for refunds of the account fees which have been mis-sold. Whilst these will not be at the same level as the PPI scandal, they will certainly generate refunds of several billions of pounds in the next few years.