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common complaints and case studies



the bank pressured me into taking out a packaged bank account

Some people say they felt pressured or were forced into taking out a packaged bank account.

  • There’s a difference between a bank telling someone about a packaged bank account - and what it offers - and making someone feel they’ve got no choice but to have it.
  • We’ll need to understand why someone felt the bank pressured them. So we’ll look into what the bank said or did when they sold the account - and what impression this could have given their customer.
  • In most cases - looking at everything that happened - we don’t agree the bank put their customer under unfair pressure. But we do see some complaints where the bank got the balance wrong.

case study 1

Mr B complained that he’d been pressured into taking out a packaged account during a phone call with the bank.

When we listened to a recording of the phone call, we heard the bank tell Mr B about the features of the account and its benefits. The bank then left Mr B to make up his own mind about the account.

Given this, we didn’t agree that Mr B had been pressured into taking the account.



the bank told me that I had to have the account to get an overdraft, credit card or loan

Some people say their bank told them they had to take out a packaged bank account to get another financial product they were interested in - for example, an overdraft, a credit card or a loan.

  • It’s common for banks to offer people with packaged bank accounts better interest rates on loans, credits cards and other products. It’s not unfair for them to do this - or to tell people about these offers.
  • On the other hand, it’s not fair for a bank to mislead someone about how much they might save by taking out a packaged bank account.
  • We’ll look into how the bank explained the packaged bank account to their customer - and what they said about any other products, such as an overdraft or loan.

case study 2

Miss F complained that her bank told her she had to have a packaged bank account to take out a loan.

We could see that Miss F previously had a “free” current account and had taken out a number of similar sized loans before.

We looked into how the bank had sold Miss F her packaged bank account. It seemed they’d given her very similar information to what she’d been given when she’d taken out loans in the past. So in this case, we didn’t agree that the bank had misled her.

case study 3

Mr Q complained that his bank told him he had to have a packaged bank account to get the overdraft he wanted. He’d never had an overdraft before, and arranged it after meeting an adviser at the bank.

When we looked into Mr Q’s circumstances, it seemed he’d only wanted a small overdraft for a few weeks. The packaged account’s other main features were travel and mobile phone insurance - but Mr Q had a very basic phone and rarely went abroad.

Overall, we decided that the account cost Mr Q more than he was ever likely to save - and we didn’t think the bank had given him clear enough information about the account.



I didn't know I had a packaged bank account - I wasn't given a choice

Some people tell us they didn't know they had a packaged bank account. They may say that the bank changed their account without telling them - or didn't let them know that they could have a free account.

  • To sort things out, we’ll look into the information the bank gave their customer at the time the customer took the account. We’ll check how clear the information was - and if the bank sent it by post or email, whether their customer received it. Above all, we’ll look at what choice the bank gave their customer.
  • If someone has used the features that came with a packaged bank account, this suggests they knew they had it. So we’ll look into how someone’s used their account - for example, if they’ve made a claim on their breakdown cover.
  • Free bank accounts are quite widely available in the UK and we find a lot of people had them before switching to packaged accounts. But not everyone does. If we find a bank has asked someone to pay for their first adult account in the UK, we’ll check what the bank said about the free alternatives available.

case study 4

Mr G complained that his bank didn’t offer him a free account - only a packaged bank account. He'd just moved to the UK from a country where all bank accounts have a fee.

We couldn’t find any evidence that the bank had told Mr G that free accounts were available. So we decided that they hadn’t given Mr G a fair choice about having the account.

case study 5

A claims management company contacted us about Mrs L. They said her bank hadn’t told her she had a packaged bank account.

When we asked the bank about this, they showed us that a few months after taking out the account, Mrs L had claimed on the car breakdown cover that came with it. She’d also registered to use the mobile phone insurance.

We didn’t think Mrs L could have used the account’s features if she hadn’t known she had the account. So we didn’t agree with the claims management company that the bank hadn’t told Mrs L about her account.

case study 6

Mrs D asked her bank about some fees she’d noticed on her bank statements. When she was told these related to a packaged account, she complained that she hadn’t agreed to switch to this type of account.

The bank gave us their customer records from the time Mrs D’s account had been changed to a packaged account. Mrs D had contacted the bank to get a loan to pay for her daughter’s wedding. By taking out the packaged bank account, she’d got a lower interest rate on a loan - and she’d also told the adviser she wanted the travel insurance it came with.

We thought it likely that Mrs D had agreed to the packaged bank account at the time. And we didn’t think the bank had acted unfairly.



the bank sold me a packaged account - but I already had some of the things that came with it

Some people say they didn’t want or need some of the features included with their packaged account - because they already had these things separately.

  • Packaged bank accounts are sold as packages. For some people, this might be convenient - because they don’t have to pay separately for some of the things they need, like travel insurance or car breakdown cover.
  • We’ll check whether the bank gave their customer clear information about the account’s features. If they have, we’ll usually say that it’s for the customer to weigh things up and decide whether it’s better for them than their existing arrangements.
  • If a bank made a personal recommendation to their customer, we’ll check they established what existing cover their customer already had - and gave fair advice about what to do.


I didn't use the features that came with the account

Some people complain they haven’t used all of the features of their packaged bank account - and that it’s been a waste of money.

  • If someone’s had an account for some time without using its features very much, they might feel they’ve wasted their money. We’ll check that the bank gave their customer a fair choice about the account - and explained the account’s features clearly. If they did, we might decide that the bank didn’t do anything wrong - particularly if the features could have been useful to their customer.
  • For example, someone might not have claimed on an insurance policy - or used a car breakdown service - that came with an account. But this doesn’t necessarily mean the bank mis-sold the account. If things had turned out differently - and someone had needed to make a claim - the account could have been very useful.

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consumer helpline - 0800 023 4567
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