Beware the cost of switching current accounts

Published by on 04 March 2011.
Last updated on 02 April 2013

savings

After a less-than-satisfactory banking experience with Alliance & Leicester (Santander), I thought I'd vote with my feet and change banks. However, this was a lot easier said than done. Banks will assure you that the 'switching team' will manage the whole process for you, but I beg to differ.

I was told by my new bank, Bank of Scotland, that it would take it approximately 28 days to sort out this task for me - wrong! Instead, some of my monthly direct debits weren't transferred over, which resulted in late payment charges to my credit cards.

Because of this, I kept my old Alliance & Leicester account open for an extra couple of months to cover the slow transfer of my direct debits.

However, I obviously had to switch my salary to Bank of Scotland to cover the majority of my monthly direct debits. So I'm now in a situation where I'm accruing charges on my Alliance & Leicester account because of the lack of funds going in.

I've been in touch with both banks to try and sort out this shambles, which is costing me dear - so far around £419 in charges. I've also contacted the Financial Ombudsman, but I haven't heard back from it.

MONEYWISE SAYS...

After Sue kept chasing Bank of Scotland, it finally tried to palm her off with £50 to cover "the inconvenience and poor service". However, Moneywise contacted the bank to see if she could be given something more for her troubles and see what it would to do about the ongoing direct debit issue.

Bank of Scotland's response simply wasn't good enough. It said: "We issued mandates to all companies on a list of Ms Jones's direct debits that Alliance & Leicester provided, but unfortunately not all of them responded. This does sometimes happen and alas is out of our control."

In other words: "We tried, we failed, so we won't try again."

How can the bank shirk all responsibility when it says on its website that you just have to "complete the switching details section" then "leave the rest to us"?

It's just not acceptable, especially when it then goes on to lamely suggest that Sue chase up the companies herself - and that it can provide an up-to-date list of all the companies she can contact.

Why should Sue do the legwork, and what about all the late repayment charges caused by this fiasco that she has had to pay?

Moneywise went back to Bank of Scotland. It eventually agreed, on receipt of evidence, to "reimburse any reasonable charges she has incurred". On top of this, she will also receive £100 compensation.

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