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FO says Barclays bank charges are fair despite financial hardship caused

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  • FO says Barclays bank charges are fair despite financial hardship caused

    Hi,

    Just to give some background I'm disabled suffering from chronic pain and exhaustion for the last 10 years and had to stop working and university as a result and my only source of income has been disability benefits. Over the last few years, my condition has gotten progressively worse where now I spent 99% of the time housebound if not bedbound. For the majority of my income is £200 a month from pip after the mobility car payments are taken away and as this is essential to my mobility when I do need to go out. My credit rating has recently reset and I've tried everything within my power to keep it clean.

    Recently dealt with my longest bout of being predominantly bedbound. During this time one of the energy companies took out an absurd amount for gas and electricity payment not only pushing me into my overdraft but also having an over-limit charge added. Because state I was in, I haven't been able to chase up this up until months later. During that time the bank continued to charge me both overdraft fees and unpaid item fees.*

    I initially contacted Barclays by phone and explained the situation; Disabled and low income, fees are eating away at my income, difficulty paying debts cycle of going into overdraft and unpaid items fee also when I opened my account it was a 0% overdraft account and along the way, they've just changed my account and I had no idea. Barclay's response was nothing they could do as they were applied properly and I can move to a £15 a month account and have 0% overdraft again or speak to their debt team to try to sort out my debt issue. I then sent a written complaint using their online service and they called me back and said the exact same thing.

    I then raised a complaint with the financial ombudsman and it's funny because their reply states "if you're facing financial hardship or ill health - please get in touch" which I did do by calling the number but they said since just received the complaint it would take 2 weeks to be added to system or something. I called again after two weeks and I think they lost my original complaint as the person who I spoke to said they couldn't find it and they would just become my caseworker. At the start of the month, he got back to me stating that*

    Your*complaint*about*Barclays Bank UK PLC

    *

    We now have all the information we need to look into your*complaint. Based on what Iíve seen, I donít think*Barclays Bank UK PLC*needs to take any action. Iíve explained why below.

    The complaint

    You complained to us about the fees and charges that Barclays apply to the overdraft facility of the bank account you hold with them. You say that this causes you difficulties as you only have a limited amount of money to live on each month.*

    Did*Barclays Bank UK PLC*do what it should have done?

    Barclays have sent me a comprehensive file relating to your complaint. They've set out the terms and conditions of your account, the charges that apply for using certain facilities, and the fees for other matters. I've also seen the breakdowns of what they've charged you over the course of the last few years when you've used the overdraft facility on your account. I'm satisfied that what you've been charged is in accordance with the terms and conditions.*

    When you use your overdraft you are effectively spending the bank's money to make up for shortfalls that you have. That's the facility. And they're entitled to charge for that. I understand how complicated your personal circumstances are, and I'm sorry that you are regularly unwell. You've explained this to me on the telephone, and I know how difficult this makes things for you. But the bank are allowed to charge you for using their facilities.

    Why Iím not asking*Barclays Bank UK PLC*to take any action

    Barclays have operated in line with their terms and conditions, and they've been fair in the way they've applied these*in your case.*

    More than that they have offered you some alternatives to the account you currently hold with them, and this might be something for you to explore going forward. It might be that there is a better account for you to use, albeit that this may be a facility that you have to pay for. This is worth exploring with them, as they've suggested in at least three letters that I've seen that they've sent you.*

    This might provide better value for money for you, and they've invited you to visit the branch or give them a call to discuss this.
    The range of emotions I feel from their reply I can't begin to express but I have been playing email pong with them and they won't change their stance with the latest reply being;
    Just a couple of points firstly before I do. Barclays have sent me copies of terms and conditions that you would have had access to on their website, along with copies of documents outlining their fees and charges. The fees and charges have been sent to your home address. And they provide information about the availability of the terms and conditions that you could have accessed on their website. Have you never seen these?
    I do feel like it's my fault also because of my low moods and cognitive impairment I'm not able to express myself or bring a coherent case. I haven't even been able to calculate the charges. I did ask for a list of charges from the bank and they sent me 500 pages of list of transactions from the last 6 years which I feel they were trying to be funny. I have signed up with a 0% overdraft account with first direct but it will take 28 days to open. I don't know what to do at this stage. I'm feeling very low because of this outcome and added stress is exacerbating my conditions. It all makes perfect sense the argument I'm bringing forward but they keep circling back to terms and conditions. I do know next steps are taking court actions but with the supreme course case and the FO stance I feel what's the point on top of that with my condition not being able to leave the house and cognitive impairment how could I even follow through with this process.*

    On top of this, I contacted my credit card company with the same information and they've frozen my account so no payments necessary for a short while but I can't use my credit card which is what I was making up a lot of the shortfalls on. On top of this, I have council taken me to court for a parking ticket and starting a second action for another parking ticket. The energy company has sold the debt to a third party which has sent me court documents. I would probably need to make a separate thread about each of these but I could really use any professional help*
    Tags: None

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