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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Will your credit card rewards be scrapped following new EU rules on charges?
Crowd-to-let: How crowdfunding sites can give investors a slice of the property market for £500
Q&A: What’s the best way to invest for our baby?
Simon Read: 'Seven Families campaign offers an escape from financial and emotional distress'
After the election: What will Britain's financial future look like on 8 May?
- 1 Which country would be hardest to invade?
- 2 The man who filmed the Freddie Gray video has been arrested at gunpoint
- 4 How the language you speak changes your view of the world
- 5 Royal baby girl born: Duchess of Cambridge's second child will be a princess thanks to Queen
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: SNP and its activists 'openly racist' towards the English, Farage says
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
iJobs Money & Business
£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...
£24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior SEO Executive is requi...
£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Online customer Service Admi...
£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This global, industry leading, ...
Day In a Page
This detached four-bedroom home in Middleyard is arranged over two floors, with features that include a wood-burning stove and bespoke oak staircase.
In a row of eight detached Georgian residences, this five-bedroom home offers views of The Sound, Mount Edgcumbe and Cornwall from its impressive veranda and full-length balcony.
If you love cooking for friends this two-bedroom flat - complete with views of the iconic Battersea Power Station and an open-plan kitchen/dining area - will go down a treat.
Located above Grasmere village, this five-bedroom home is arranged over three floors and offers countryside views across Grasmere Lake towards Silver Howe.
Surrounded by the Western fells, this five-bedroom Georgian home retains many original features including panel-plastered ceilings, sash windows and fireplaces.
This six-bedroom home is set amongst three acres of grounds. Currently a large family home, Clift Hill has potential to make a B&B, subject to change of use permissions.
A former period coach house, Glebe Farm Stable is now a three-bedroom cottage with a double car barn, office, kennels and an outbuilding that's currently used as a gym.
Set sail for this four-bedroom farmhouse in Cowes. With five acres of land and an indoor pool, this home oozes character. There is even potential to let a one-bedroom annexe.
Surrounded by woodland, this five-bedroom manor house has plenty of outdoor storage space in the form of three converted loose boxes, two smaller outhouses and a woodstore.
This four-bedroom detached home comes with a double carport, useful workshop, garden and two walkways that offer views of the adjacent countryside.
With space for an equestrian business, a greenhouse for growing your own veg, a wine store and a gym; this five-bedroom home has all the ingredients for a country retreat.
This four-bedroom home has exposed brick chimneys and a vaulted ceiling in a breakfast room that's ideal for summer entertaining - the doors open to the patio and garden.
The decked roof terrace of this two-bedroom flat is perfect for summer drinks while large windows and ample storage space make for a light and spacious interior.
Surrounded by approximately 15 acres of grounds, this six-bedroom grade II-listed home has been extensively refurbished yet retains many period features.
This four-bedroom home comes with a two-bedroom cottage and commercial office, with planning to extend, in a stunning courtyard setting.
In a pretty Norfolk village, this four-bedroom family home is surrounded by landscaped gardens, with even a self-contained annex for guests.
A few miles from the seaside at Perranporth, this four-bedroom farmhouse sits amongst nine acres of idyllic grounds - including a lake and two barns used as holiday lets.
This five-bedroom home is arranged over three floors of a converted Victorian hospital, offering spectacular views of the Pentland Hills - only three miles from the city centre.
This four-bedroom detached home comes with grounds that span to approximately 2.5 acres, as well as two large patio areas and a double garage.
This four-bedroom cottage is a Grade II-listed town house, well-located for the thriving market town of Nailsworth.
A four-bedroom apartment on the ground floor of a stunning period property in North Yorkshire, with two kitchens and a large south-west facing garden.
This high-spec two-bedroom home is part of a smart collection of new flats at Beaufort Park and has a large decked balcony that's perfect for summer drinks.
Capitalise on the fabulous views of Trevone Bay by taking two homes and creating one spacious boutique B&B. Just a cliff-top walk from Padstow.
Overlooking a golf course, this six-bedroom Edwardian detached home spans four storeys and retains many period features including the original, operational servants' bells...
On the edge of the city, this six-bedroom home comes with an outdoor swimming pool and a large garage block that has annexe potential.
In a Grade II-listed manor just outside of Bath, this three-bedroom home is arranged on two floors with a skylight in a vaulted roof line.
Open the living room's bi-fold wooden doors to reveal a retro-style kitchen, and a conservatory leading to a paved garden at this three-bedroom home.
A Grade II-listed, four-bedroom home, in a charming Somerset village, with a two-storey studio that could be converted into a holiday cottage
A modern four-bedroom Victorian home, within walking distance to the high street
A luxury apartment in the Gothic mansion of Wyfold Court in Kingwood, offers six bedrooms spread over three floors and a turret
This school conversion, near Stockwell Tube, oozes New York loft style. The one-bedroom flat features double height ceilings and exposed brick work
This six-bedroom Georgian home is on three floors with open fireplaces, a two-oven Aga, an annexe, and cottage gardens with outbuildings and a car barn
High Crest House covers an impressive 9384sq ft, with almost three acres of grounds including a tennis court and summer house enclosed by electric gates
A six-bedroom farmhouse with separate accommodation in converted stables. Situated in the village of Church Aston, within walking distance to the market town
A two-bedroom flat with under-heated walnut floors and bespoke built-in storage. The Tube and Clapham Common are a short stroll away
A refurbished seven-bedroom townhouse with staff quarters, cinema room, superb gym, steam room and plunge pool
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 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