Terrorism. AIDS. Poverty. Social breakdown. Kylie Minogue. No, none of these come close to the misery wrought by this out of control monster. The worst blight on humanity is The Bank.
In an industry where one bank alone made a profit of £9bn last, it apparently costs British banks £35.00 (around $70.00) to ‘process’ a returned direct debit, a bounced cheque, an unauthorised overdraft - in fact, anything they think they can whack a charge onto. So imagine what it’s like for someone (not naming any names, ahem…) who’s a little reckless when it comes to finances. Multiples of £35.00 stack up to a steep mountain of debt before you know it.
It isn’t all bad news, however, with increasing numbers of customers (a term I use grudgingly) taking the banks to court to reclaim the obsene amounts the banks are pilfering. The industry is already under investigation by the Office Of Fair Trading over its exorbitant fees, and the banks are settling claims before they get to court - which is exactly what happened to me. Last month I started court proceedings against A Certain Bank (my lips are sealed), issuing a claim for £300.00. Initally, A Certain Bank notified the court that they would fight the claim, and as early as yesterday their solicitors were making threatening noises about the bank being in the right and my claim being “misconceived.”
Today, in a letter with the words Strictly Without Prejudice and Confidential emblazoned across it, the same solicitors offered to settle my claim in full - with a few strings attached. The most prominent of these is that the settlement of the claim is kept confidential - gee, I wonder why?
It’s nice that little old me scored a victory over this colossal industry, but it shouldn’t have to be this way. Apathy is the banks’ greatest ally - how many people simply write off the charges and let the banks get away with it? Don’t let them: easy to follow, step-by-step instructions on how to reclaim your money is available from several sites, the best of which is at the BBC. If a financial incompetent like me can do it, so can you.