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On Account : Of Interest Last Updated: May 19, 2012 - 9:19:12 PM

How to Tell if You've Been Overcharged by your Bank
By Peter Hampton of Surrey Software
Jul 7, 2004 - 3:13:00 PM

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Voltaire (1694 - 1778)

Oscar Wilde (1854 - 1900)
"I may disagree with what you have to say, but I shall defend to the death your right to say it."  Voltaire

"To disagree with three-fourths of the British public is one of the first requisites of sanity."  Oscar Wilde


Well in this case, the bank eventually had to agree with Craig and came to their senses by refunding his money. So how do you recover your losses if you are the victim of a bank's mistakes?

The important point about Craig's story is that he kept meticulous records of all the transactions, letters, e-mails, etc., even using a courier for the return of vital documents which provided an invaluable counter to the bank's insistence that the documents had not been returned. He was therefore able to respond to any queries raised with factual evidence.

He could also challenge the bank from a powerful position by providing detailed reports of the discrepancies between the bank's figures and his own calculations.

Remember too that the banking system is dealing with many millions of transactions every day, and it is absolutely certain that mistakes will occur. For example, an overdraft limit of 100,000 could have been set as 10,000.

Do you think you have been overcharged? If so, here is our guide to help you decide:

Step 1:

  • Have a look at the interest charges over as long a period as possible.
  • Do any of the charges appear to be out of step without reason?
  • Are you staying within the limits set by the bank?

 Step 2:

  • Add up the statement balances in a high overdraft period, then multiply by the agreed percentage and divide by 36500. The result should not be less than about three quarters of the amount charged.  If it is, then further investigations are indicated.


How do you proceed if you wish to challenge the figures?

First of all, make absolutely sure that the banks statements are complete.

Secondly, gather together all correspondence to and from the bank.

Third, if your business deals with a lot of cash, collect together all paying-in books in order that the cleared and uncleared credits can be separated in order to compare with the bank's credits.

And finally, seek advice and/or software from us.

ChargeChecker - Bank charge auditing software

I suspect it goes without saying, but this site is not affiliated with Coutts & Co., nor is it endorsed by them.  Their website is at

© Copyright 1998-2008 by Craig W Walsh

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