Questions Of Cash: 'Should NatWest have refunded my overdraft charges?'
Saturday 15 August 2009
Q. I wrote a cheque for £900, which was picked up by the payee on 10 March. It was cashed and cleared from my account on 12 March. I made out the cheque on the basis that I understood it takes three to five days for it to clear: in this instance it took only two. If it had been cleared on the third day the funds would have been in my account. I was outraged to find that NatWest bounced my cheque and charged me £38 for doing so. NatWest then put the cheque through again, without notifying me and this again put me over my overdraft limit. But I only went over my overdraft limit because of the £38 charge. I had been unable to get to my bank branch to put more money in as I was studying for my masters/diploma and holding a job. My time is very valuable to me and I have found this whole experience to be very inconvenient and infuriating. It is utterly disgusting that the bank thinks it is acceptable to charge a customer so much money for its incompetence. NatWest says it will only refund the charge if there was an error by the bank – which, it says, there was not. Is it acceptable for NatWest to clear funds from my account after only two days? Should it have shown some professional judgement and understood that I had money coming into my account the following day? AK, Dartford.
A. It is you that is in the wrong, not NatWest. You should have the funds to cover in your account, or an overdraft approval, when you write a cheque. You can never be certain that anticipated deposits will arrive or be cleared in time. NatWest has investigated your complaint again and has come to the same conclusion as before that it acted correctly. A spokeswoman for NatWest says: "The funds would be debited from [the reader's] account the day that the payee deposits the cheque into their bank account. It is the responsibility of the customer to ensure they have sufficient funds in their account when issuing cheques."
Q. I read the letter and response regarding the Aviva payout with interest (Questions of Cash, 1 August) – I am in exactly the same boat. I have a 25-year policy, maturing in September, which was supposed to pay out £30,000, but now has an estimated value of £25,750. Yet in each of the last three years I was notified that the termination value would be in the region of £29,000-£29,500. Surely it is not enough for Aviva to 'blame the markets'. It could have offered policyholders the right to move into cash in the last year or two of the policy life, to protect the vital final payout. Its failure to do so must surely amount to negligent mismanagement and cavalier disregard for policyholders' interests. There must be thousands of us in the same position. PB, by email.
A. "A year ago we did not know the market was going to crash," says a spokeswoman for Aviva. "We would have had to cancel policies and that would have lost them [the expected] growth." Had the policies been converted to cash at that time and the underlying investments continued to grow, Aviva would have been potentially liable for giving bad advice, she adds. Further, in your case, it would have converted a risk of failing to meet your mortgage liability into a certainty. Consequently the policy continued to maturity – by which time, because of the fall in share values, the deficit had, in fact, increased further.
Q. What is the cheapest and best way of taking money abroad on holiday? CC, by email.
A. One option which is cheap and limits your exposure to fraud is to prepay and preload a card for use abroad. Prepay cards are offered by FairFX, Caxton FX and Travelex. Exchange rates used by these card issuers are usually better than those offered by the banks. Fees are charged on cash withdrawals, but these are less than will normally be charged by banks for withdrawals on debit or credit cards. Most card issuers charge an exchange rate loading fee for use abroad. You can avoid this by either using the prepay cards or the Santander Zero or Post Office credit cards. Within Europe, the Nationwide debit and credit cards and Saga credit cards also do not charge an exchange loading. Worst of all, many card issuers charge per transaction, plus an exchange loading, as well as charging per cash withdrawal – it is important to check charges before you go away. Avoid making cash withdrawals on your credit card whether at home or abroad, as most issuers charge interest from the day of the withdrawal.
Q. I renewed my Vodafone contract in April 2008, at which time I was given a new phone. I was told I would be given three months' free insurance, but I asked them to remove this because I thought I might forget to cancel at the end of the three months. Vodafone tried to get me to take the insurance, but after I asked repeatedly they removed it. At the end of the initial three months the insurance was added to my contract without my knowledge or consent. I was charged for this until I eventually noticed it in July this year. I had paid for 15 months' insurance that I had specified I did not want. When I called Vodafone it agreed to remove the insurance, but would not reimburse me for the 15 months. I have since been offered a refund of six months' insurance, but I should get all of the payment back. GS, Berkshire
A. Vodafone has agreed to refund you the £120 for the paid insurance. You have resolved to check your bills more closely in the future.
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
Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown
Liam Neeson's Downton dreams
Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage
Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour
- 2 iOS 8 is full of shiny new features - but it's terrible news for app developers
- 3 Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
- 4 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 5 Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
iJobs Money & Business
£320 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...
To £75,000 + Pension + Benefits + Bonus: Saxton Leigh: My client is looking f...
To £85,000 + banking benefits: Saxton Leigh: You will be expected to carry out...
Up to £90,000 + benefits: Saxton Leigh: Credit Risk Audit Manager required to ...
Day In a Page
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
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens
A seven-bedroom Grade II-listed property with a separate self-contained apartment
A five-bedroom Victorian house with three reception rooms and galleried landing, £695,000
A six-bedroom farmhouse with five acres of land in a former cloth-making village
A secluded seven-bedroom detached house with large private garden, £490,000
A three-bedroom cottage overlooking Sarratt village green with open fires and solid oak floors
A three-bedroom maisonette flat in a Grade I-listed, Georgian townhouse in a sought-after location
A one-bedroom apartment located within a private gated development, north of Turnham Green
Look forward to a brighter future at two-bedroom Sunny Cottages, ideal for Londoners looking to downsize
A three-bedroom red-brick cottage with outbuildings and pretty gardens, £200,000