Ulster Bank Overdraft Charges

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Reclaim Bank & Credit Card Charges
8 replies 4.7K views
lailaiheilailaihei Forumite
7 Posts
I opened a student account with Ulster Bank in 2009, which gave me an overdraft of £1250. Over the years, I've come to almost pay it off, but then times of hardship hit and left me completely overdrawn again. As it stands, I'm currently being charged about £40 per month in charges.

I've started a new job which means I'll be able to pay it off myself, but the fact is, had I not been getting such high charges, it would have been paid ages ago.

Today I phoned them to ask what we could do about the charges. They were quite friendly once I said I wanted to return to using the account (currently with Halifax instead), and said they'll phone me back in a few hours to book me in for an appointment in my local branch.

Any advice on where to go from here, or has anyone else had an appointment like this? I might use it to formally ask for a list of my historic charges and tell them I wish to reclaim them. It would be nice if they made me a decent offer otherwise, but I doubt it.

I just want to get the overdraft paid as soon as possible, and if I can claim back any of the insane £40 per month charges, I'll be laughing!

Any advice is greatly appreciated! I know there are countless forums on this, but they all seem to be dated from about ten years ago, and go by the letter-sending process. I've not seen any where an in-person appointment was made.

Replies

  • dunstonhdunstonh Forumite
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    I've started a new job which means I'll be able to pay it off myself, but the fact is, had I not been getting such high charges, it would have been paid ages ago.

    And had you not borrowed the money, you would not have had the charges.
    Any advice on where to go from here, or has anyone else had an appointment like this? I might use it to formally ask for a list of my historic charges and tell them I wish to reclaim them. It would be nice if they made me a decent offer otherwise, but I doubt it.

    A list of charges is unnecessary will cost you.

    What grounds do you think they should repay you any of these charges?
    I am an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA). The comments I make are just my opinion and are for discussion purposes only. They are not financial advice and you should not treat them as such. If you feel an area discussed may be relevant to you, then please seek advice from an Independent Financial Adviser local to you.
  • smdabssmdabs Forumite
    100 Posts
    If you find yourself in a 'snowball' of charges - e.g. one charge being debited has caused a missed direct debit and thus incurred further charges the next month and then even more charges the next, the bank are obliged to refund any charges directly caused by the first one. Regardless of the reason for that initial charge - hardship, exceptional circumstances or just plain old forgetting something was due, they do have to refund any charges caused as a consequence of their charge. If this happens, or begins to happen at any time - contact your bank immediately to see what can be done. They would also be able to freeze future charges due so it does not happen the next month.



    When it comes to bank charges - a lot of people throw the term hardship around without knowing the bank's definition/interpretation of the word. Really look at your circumstances, write it down, why you feel the charges incurred and send it to them. They will then assess where exactly it lies (either hardship, exceptional circumstances or otherwise) and investigate it for you.
  • - Despite multiple periods of hardship and letting the bank know this over the years, the fees were still taken, resulting in a bigger and bigger unarranged overdraft.
    - The fees paid so far, vastly exceed the total amount of the original debt.
    - £40 per month is excessive, even for someone working full time. Paying off in installments is ineffective as even paying £120 per month means a third of that is just going to disappear.
    - The snowballing effect. Like I said, without the charges, this would have been paid ages ago.

    Although charges may seem fair to you, it's still possible to reclaim a lot of them back or at least get some of the balance wiped off. Banks will actually go a fair bit to keep you as a customer, speaking from experience.

    I'm not expecting them to write me a check for thousands, but if they can even reduce the charges or perhaps come to some other little agreement, it'll help me pay off the debt quicker, and make me more likely to remain a customer, rather than a detractor.
  • dunstonhdunstonh Forumite
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    - Despite multiple periods of hardship and letting the bank know this over the years, the fees were still taken, resulting in a bigger and bigger unarranged overdraft.
    What is your definition of hardship?
    Is that not being able to pay the council tax or finding it hard to pay for the latest iphone upgrade?
    - £40 per month is excessive, even for someone working full time. Paying off in installments is ineffective as even paying £120 per month means a third of that is just going to disappear.

    Do not start using the excessive or unfair style comments. The banks won that argument in 2009. The last thing you want is the bank to treat your issue as a unfair charges complaint.

    To be honest, £40 doesnt sound unreasonable for short term expensive debt.
    - The snowballing effect. Like I said, without the charges, this would have been paid ages ago.

    And if Tesco didnt add a margin on top of the food, it would be cheaper.
    I'm not expecting them to write me a check for thousands, but if they can even reduce the charges or perhaps come to some other little agreement, it'll help me pay off the debt quicker, and make me more likely to remain a customer, rather than a detractor.

    You have already said your main banking is elsewhere. If your wage goes into the bank, they are usually more willing to listen. However, your account with them would likely show little activity and no wage going in. So, you are going to be heavily reliant on it being a goodwill factor unless you can show that you are currently in genuine financial hardship. So, what is the hardship you speak of?
    I am an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA). The comments I make are just my opinion and are for discussion purposes only. They are not financial advice and you should not treat them as such. If you feel an area discussed may be relevant to you, then please seek advice from an Independent Financial Adviser local to you.
  • Dunstonh - I've spend many years working zero-hour contract jobs, a few of which I was made redundant from as the companies couldn't afford to pay people. Then there were health issues. Long story short, I've spent a lot of time living on the breadline, and having to borrow money from family to pay the rent, or be able to eat that week. Like I said, I had explained the situation to my bank many times, but the charges remained, and the unarranged overdraft kept getting bigger. At one point, it was hundreds over the original amount.

    Does that satisfy you enough?
  • dunstonhdunstonh Forumite
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    lailaihei wrote: »
    Dunstonh - I've spend many years working zero-hour contract jobs, a few of which I was made redundant from as the companies couldn't afford to pay people. Then there were health issues. Long story short, I've spent a lot of time living on the breadline, and having to borrow money from family to pay the rent, or be able to eat that week. Like I said, I had explained the situation to my bank many times, but the charges remained, and the unarranged overdraft kept getting bigger. At one point, it was hundreds over the original amount.

    Does that satisfy you enough?

    It is not historic hardship that matters. It is the current position that matters.

    I am giving you questions that you have the opportunity to think about before answering. In a face to face meeting with the bank, you won't get that. So, consider the "grilling" you get here as preparation.

    I have seen many hardship posts on this board. Most I have been able to see the genuine ones and the ones that are just after a refund with a hit and hope approach. You need to be able to persuade the person at the bank that you are in CURRENT financial hardship and that your life is financially difficult. You haven't persuaded me yet. That doesn't matter as I don't matter. However, think of me and the others here as your test dummies.

    It is also worth noting that in hardship cases the bank doesn't just have refund as the only option available. They may decide to refund nothing but suspend future charges for a period or look at a debt management plan. Where refunds are made, often they are only for the last 6-12 months. Extreme hardship will often consider further but mild hardship less likely to.
    I am an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA). The comments I make are just my opinion and are for discussion purposes only. They are not financial advice and you should not treat them as such. If you feel an area discussed may be relevant to you, then please seek advice from an Independent Financial Adviser local to you.
  • Like I said, the plan isn't to get them to write me a massive check, but more to come to an arrangement concerning future charges to help me to pay off the amount sooner. I've made it clear to them that such an arrangement would cause me to return my wages and Direct Debits to the account. They gain a customer rather than a detractor.

    It's not uncommon for banks to write off certain charges that would bring the unarranged overdraft down to the original arranged overdraft limit. They might also freeze charges for a month or two to allow me to pay back in bigger installments.
  • -taff-taff Forumite
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    Well, if you haven't banked your wage with them for a while, take your waged bank account statements to show them that are or were in financial hardship.
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