I’m always amazed by the ingenuity of criminals to find ways to scam money. I’m even more amazed that possibly the biggest criminals of all are generally not regarded as such. I refer here to the BANKS .. but you’ll probably have twigged that already! Bankers, politicians and estate agents – true gangsters with “professional” titles!
In April 2006 the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) ruled that the banking practice of imposing a penalty on customers who failed to make a minimum payment was unreasonable. The OFT restricted the default charges to £12. “Yipeeeeee!” I hear you say.
But hold…… bankers are a wily bunch of coyotes. The September issue of WHICH? Money has found that the banks have found some interesting other ways to supplement their charges. Among these are:-
- annual fees;
- charging low usage fees;
- hiking balance transfer costs.
According to this research, detailed in this Reuters report – “Credit cards charging “ingenious” new fees”, most of the major banks and building societies have been scrambling around being “ingenious”:
“Northern Rock was one of the first firms to introduce an annual fee. It now charges 2 pounds per month for its base rate tracker credit card. The Co-op Bank also charges 2 pounds per month for its Platinum Visa credit card.
Lloyds TSB and MBNA have introduced penalty fees for “inactive” customers.
Lloyds imposed a 35 pound penalty on a number of its customers who had not used their card for some time, while MBNA has contacted customers with a credit balance who have not used their card for more than a year to warn them of a 10 pound penalty.
Barclaycard — the most popular card — is the latest to threaten fees. It is expected to hit its 1 million inactive customers with fees of 10 to 20 pounds.
At the same time, the cost of switching a balance from one card to another is rising — from a typical 2 percent to 2.5 or 3 percent.”
So basically all the big guys have decided to replace one outlawed fee with a basically dodgy deal – one that very few people would accept if they were signing on as a new customer but which will be imposed on existing customers. And the vast majority of people will probably just grin and bear it which is what the banks are counting on. Well…. the banks attitudes are more likely to be that customers can either like it or lump it.
So… here’s a call I’d like you to support. I’m calling on the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) to examine these bank practices and see if they can convince the bankers to be reasonable. And when the banks refuse then the OFT could just use the powers we’ve given it to force them to be reasonable.
Anybody with me here?