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Here’s 36,000 reasons to reclaim your bank charges

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17/04/2007

A Norfolk businessman, who wants to stay anonymous, has successfully reclaimed a record £35,987.94 from High Street bank NatWest after accusing it of charging him unlawful overdraft fees.

The bank had charged him the fees for bouncing cheques from his company. NatWest claimed it was only the spiralling cost of legal fees that caused it to take the decision.

However, this particular customer is only one of a fast-growing band of UK current account holders who have discovered that their bank will cave in to demands for refunds. This is in preference to facing a court case that may set a legal precedent and open the floodgates to millions of such claims.

Campaigners say that the banks have gone down this route because a court hearing would reveal what many believe to be the true cost of levying the charges – about £2.50 at the most – rather than the £25 to £30 regularly swiped from customers’ accounts.

Marc Gander of the Consumer Action Group said: “It is certainly a spectacular payout. It is the biggest one I know of so far that has been successful.”

The bank’s solicitor wrote to the businessman and said: “Although our client is confident that it will be successful at a final hearing, its legal fees will almost certainly outweigh the value of the claim.”

The bank therefore claimed that commercial considerations had prompted the refund.

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