If you have ever paid for a Halifax bank account, then there is a chance that the account was mis-sold to you.
Recently, Halifax has been embroiled in disputes after it was revealed that it increased the monthly charge on its Ultimate Reward packaged bank accounts from £12.50 to £15 without informing the account holders.
So, if you have an Ultimate Reward account with Halifax, you may be entitled to claim for compensation. And, even if you were informed about the raise, there may be other grounds to make a valid packaged bank account financial mis-selling claim.
In this guide, we will provide you with key tips to help you begin the compensation process if you were mis-sold a bank account by Halifax.
What Is A Packaged Bank Account?
Packaged Bank Accounts (PBA) are a type of current account that includes additional benefits such as multiple insurance policies. Whereas the regular current accounts are free to operate, PBAs have a monthly charge because of the added financial benefits.
Using the Ultimate Reward account as an example, holders of the account could get home emergency cover, phone insurance, worldwide travel insurance, and AA breakdown cover for a monthly fee of £15.
Some people love PBAs because they are the cheapest way to be eligible for various types of insurance.
However, this benefit does not extend to customers who are either ineligible for the insurance/s or forced to open the account. It is this latter group that may be able to file for compensation for a mis-sold bank account.
How Do I Know If I Am Eligible For A Halifax Mis-sold Bank Account Claim?
To file a claim for a mis-sold Halifax bank account, any of the following criteria should apply to you:
- Your packaged account was upgraded without your consent or knowledge
- You were not given adequate explanations concerning the cost of the account
- You were not asked if you had another insurance coverage elsewhere
- You had a medical condition or were too old to use the insurance
- You were told that you had a greater chance of accessing financial aids like loans, credit cards, and overdrafts if you opened a packaged bank account
- You were not told about the extra products attached to the account
- You were not asked if you had any pre-existing medical conditions at the point of sale
- You were not told that having a Halifax packaged bank account was an option, neither were you given a choice to select a much cheaper account offered by the bank
- You bought the account under duress because the bank used high-pressure sales tactics on you
- You asked the bank to cancel the account when you could not keep up with payments but instead, they forced you to still keep it
- You were not told that you needed to register your car or phone in case they get stolen
- You were told that having an account would significantly boost your credit score
How Should I Begin My Claim For Compensation?
Now that you have determined your eligibility, your next action should be filing your claim for compensation. And this can be done by doing the following:
Complain To The Bank
Your claim for compensation should begin with the bank that first initiated the sale. By notifying them of the mis-selling, you are given Halifax the opportunity to set things right.
You can either make your complaint by letter or email. But whichever form of communication you settle for, ensure that you retain copies of the correspondence in case you can’t come to a suitable resolution with the bank. These copies will be vital if you have to take your complaint to a higher authority.
In your complaint, narrate what happened on the day you bought the bank account. If you can still remember, include the name of the bank representative that helped you with the sale.
- What were the promises the bank made to you during the sale?
- Why do you think the bank coerced you to open a packaged bank account?
The answer to these questions should also be included in your complaint and you need to tell the bank how you want the problem to be resolved.
Do you want to close down the account and switch to a cheaper option? Or do you want the bank to refund all the fees you paid for the account?
Whatever your choice of solution is, include it in your official complaint to the bank.
Please remember to not hold back on information while drafting your complaint. There have been cases where genuine mis-selling complaints were rejected because of sparse details.
So be comprehensive and clear in your narration. After sending off your complaint, wait for the bank to get in touch with you. The law gives banks a period of eight weeks to resolve cases like this.
If they do not acknowledge your complaint within the time period, then you can escalate to the ombudsman. You can also contact the ombudsman if they did reply but you are not pleased with the solution offered.
Contact The Ombudsman
The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) is free to use and unbiased in its decisions. When your case gets to the service, a mediator will be appointed to look at your complaints. Halifax will also be given a chance to tender its evidence.
After deliberations, the ombudsman will come to a decision that you and the bank have to adhere to. If it happens that the bank rejects the ombudsman’s decision, you can easily petition a court to order them to comply with the decision.
Still, be aware that you have a time limit of six years beginning from the day you opened the PBA, to complain to the ombudsman.
You can also contact the ombudsman if you have only just discovered the mis-selling for an account, but you only have a time limit of three years starting from the day you found out you can make a claim. Note that the ombudsman may reject your case if it exceeds these time limits.
How Much Compensation Will I Be Given?
If you have a valid case, your compensation for a mis-sold Halifax bank account will include the monthly fees you were charged plus the interests accrued for the period you held the account.
So, if you paid £15 every month for a year, you would get £180 (£15 x 12 months) plus interest at 8% per annum which is set by the FOS.
Even so, getting back all your fees will depend on the forcefulness of your claim.
Besides, watch out for the tricks the bank might deploy to avoid paying you. For instance, the bank might decide to make you eligible for the insurance coverage at the last minute.
If Halifax employs this type of tactic to soothe you, don’t let it detract you from the fact that you were being charged for a needless cover. So, make it clear to them that you will only accept the repayment of your fees.
Need Some More Help Claiming For A Mis-sold Bank Account By Halifax?
Banks have made it a common practice to source for profits by any means possible. This may have led them to promote or sell PBAs to some customers for whom they were neither suitable nor beneficial.
If this applies to you, you can seek to reclaim what Halifax owes you. If you require any further information about making your claim don’t hesitate to reach out to us.
You can arrange a call for free advice with an experienced claims advisor, using our online form below.