Questions Of Cash: 'Dormant account ran up £400 charges'
Saturday 12 December 2009
Q. I had an account with NatWest until a couple of years ago. I tried to close it, but NatWest advised me to keep it open in case I ever wanted to bank with it again. The account had a few pounds left in it and I stopped getting statements in December 2007. I assumed this was because I was not using the account.
Last month I received a letter from NatWest advising that I owe almost £400 in unarranged overdraft charges. I phoned and was told I had been charged £28 a month for the last year. I was unable to obtain more information from visits to the branch and phone calls because staff had access to my account records for only the previous year.
The collections department eventually advised that a "banking charge or interest charge" sent me overdrawn in the first place, but could not explain what it was. The bank then said that if I paid £80 it will drop the rest of the charges as a "goodwill gesture", but that otherwise it will start legal proceedings. I am now worried this will affect my credit rating. AG, Durham.
A. NatWest has investigated the history of your account and reports that it went overdrawn in November 2008 because of a cash withdrawal. When it sent you bank statements these were returned as "gone away". It is not offering to write-off all the bank charges – which is understandable given that it was apparently a cash withdrawal that took you overdrawn. However, it will cap the charges at £30 and write-off the other £370. Your credit rating will not be affected.
Q. Last December, I received a phone call from NatWest asking if I'd like to take out another ISA, which would earn me a higher rate of interest. I was about to go away so I asked NatWest to send me details in the post, saying I'd think about it. On my return to the UK in May I went to get some cash out and found that over £3,000 had gone from my account.
In a panic I rang the bank and was told that it had taken the money from my account and set up an ISA on my behalf. I was promised the bank would investigate and come back to me, but I have heard nothing since. I did later receive a questionnaire from the bank asking my opinion of its service and I repeated my complaint – but again I had no response. How can NatWest take money from my account without my permission? JS, London.
A. NatWest refers to "a bit of confusion", for which it apologises. But the bank does not accept your version of events. Specifically, it disputes the dates on which you state that the bank spoke to you. The account the bank opened for you was a Cash ISA Plus, which only became available in February this year and which was only opened in your name in April this year. NatWest believes you confused two separate conversations with NatWest: the call in December was to warn you that you had not taken advantage of your ISA allowance in that year. Some £3,600 was transferred out of your account in April this year. NatWest requires you to instruct it on whether to keep this account open. You must urgently address the fact that the confusion between NatWest and yourself has caused you to inadvertently exceed your permitted ISA allowance for this year.
Q. I have a fixed term ISA bond that has just matured. I have asked banks whether I can use the proceeds to invest in a new ISA and I have been given conflicting advice: one said yes, one said no and another told me that only the capital could be reinvested in an ISA. What are the rules? I have already used my ISA allowance to its maximum this year. AN, by email.
A. You are permitted to reinvest both the capital and interest from the ISA in another ISA product in the current tax year, providing it is transferred directly to that ISA. HM Revenue and Customs explains: "The ISA rules allow for only one cash ISA and one stocks and shares ISA to be opened in any tax year, or a combination of both up to the ISA limit of £7,200 – or £10,200 from 6 October 2009, if the investor is aged 50 or over during the 2009/10 tax year. Therefore, the [reader's] money could be used to open another cash/stocks and shares ISA, or to top up an existing cash/stocks and shares ISA, as long as the investor does not breach the ISA regulations."
'Security made me miss my flight'
Q. My partner bought me a ticket to fly from London Stansted to Denmark with Ryanair and I checked-in online. I left sufficient time to catch the flight, but I missed it because of security delays at the airport. I told the security staff that I needed to go through quickly, but they were unsympathetic and refused. Can I obtain a refund? I had to buy a replacement ticket for £138 from Ryanair at the airport. That could have been avoided if the security staff had let me go through. DB, Hitchin.
A. You state you arrived at the airport at 6.10 for a 7.25 flight. This puts you in a weak position to argue for a refund as the British Airports Authority, which owns and operates Stansted, recommends travellers arrive two hours before their flight. Worse still, BAA says that its IT system shows that you reported at the front desk of its security system at 6.47 – just eight minutes before your departure gate was scheduled to close. BAA rejects the suggestion that queues at its security point were the reason you missed your flight. You were not insured for the journey – but even if you were, it is very unlikely on the basis of these reported facts that any claim would be successful.
Questions of Cash cannot give individual advice. But if you have a financial dilemma, we'll do our best to help. Please email us at: email@example.com
Simon Read: Frozen in time - the expat British pensioners who deserve a better deal
10 tips for taking out a personal loan
Weekly Money: Round-up of the personal finance stories you may have missed 26-30 January
City Watchdog to investigate banks' handling of PPI compensation claims
How to start your own internet business
- 1 Woman falls to her death as she celebrates marriage proposal at the edge of Ibiza cliff
- 2 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 3 Dad attempts revenge on teenage daughter, plan backfires spectacularly
- 4 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 5 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
iJobs Money & Business
£40000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...
£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established ...
£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...
Day In a Page
A minimnalist four-bedroom home designed to the highest spec, featuring glass walls and a kitchen space lit by a glass roof
Hibernate during winter and make your living during the summer at this busy guesthouse with panoramic sea views, in the village of Lynton
A four-bedroom penthouse next to the Tate with direct views of St Paul's from two floors of luxurious living space
A four-bedroom detached home surrounded by spacious gardens and woodland, close to New Pudsey
An 18th-century, three-bedroom home near Langstone Harbour built from ships beams with vaulted ceilings and wood burning stoves
A five-bedroom semi-detached home with a mix of period and modern features in a popular and convenient location
This five-bedroom red-brick beauty overlooks the village green and sits in just under two acres of land
A three-bedroom villa with self-contained flat, minutes from Lake Windermere
A deceptively spacious, beautifully presented Georgian home with 3000sq ft of living space and five reception rooms
A five-bedroom Victorian home with four receptions, superb gardens and paddock in Pembury
An eight-bedroom house on the south side of the The Green with cinema, wine cellars and summer house
This 17th century beauty is full of rustic cosiness, while the detached home office means you can also run a business
Four exclusive apartments in a Grade II-listed former medical school with 2,275 sq ft of living space and 18ft ceilings
A five-bedroom terraced house on the popular Peterborough Estate, ideally located for both Eel Brook Common and South Park
A state-of-the-art farm-building conversion on the former Cliveden Estate, with 11,420sq ft of internal space, cinema and wine cellar
A three-bedroom, 15th-century cottage with original features in the picturesque village of Sissinghurst
A six-bedroom terraced house with large south-facing roof terrace, cinema room and wine cellar
A new seven-bedroom home built in Queen Anne-style with swimming pool and parkland views in Mortimer
A listed, four-bedroom farmhouse in the rural hamlet of Rushall with detached barn, four acres of gardens and paddocks
A first-floor flat with two bedrooms, a spacious reception room and communal grounds in a leafy part of London
A three-bedroom flat with a spacious rootop terrace and balcony, accessed from a private gated courtyard
A Grade II-listed pile with six bedrooms, stables and 39 acres of grounds in Standlake
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion