Monday, 09 January 2017 17:47

Bank Refunds For Students

Studying for a degree is one of the biggest expenses you’re likely to face during your lifetime, aside from raising a family. So, when you get ripped-off, you’re well within your rights to act on it. Calling all students who had a student current account with RBS or NatWest between 2002 and March 2016, yes, that long ago! You may be due a refund of overdraft charges due to an “error” and “mistake”.

Funny how these “errors”and “mistakes” persist for fifteen years as a result of more financial bad behaviour, particularly from one of the main villainsheavily criticised over their rolethat triggered the worst recession in the UK since the Second World War and inflicted significant costs on British taxpayers, RBS!

According to a spokesperson for RBS Group– of which RBS and NatWest are both part of– “When we make a mistake we do everything we can to make it right”. Oh really! From jaw-dropping greed in the wake of PPI, pensions, packaged bank account mis-selling and unfair unauthorised overdraft chargesto name a few to,we continue to be fleeced; all in the name of the same argument, that business has little moral function beyond profit, no matter how reckless, foolish or short-sighted.

It seems the spokesperson took advice from disgraced ex-RBS CEO Fred Goodwin, who after leaving the bank told a committee of MPs he “could not be more sorry” for what had happened.It seems RBS just cannot escape ‘Fred the Shreds’ long shadow, despite a £45billion taxpayer-funded bailout.

Followed by scandal upon scandal, it seems absurd thateight years on from the notoriously financial collapse, there have been no sweeping changes and we are nocloser to an era where failures by those who run our largest financial institutions are long behind us.

Maybe David Crawford, head of current accounts at RBS, should be a little more forthcomingthan the saga being "very disappointing" that the bank got it wrong? Maybe not, as he dug an even deeper hole by saying that it’s “relatively small numbers of customers affected compared with their total customer base” and that “the bank had not noticed what was happening”. Oh well, that makes it all ok then!

So what’s the latest in a long line of mis-sold financial products all about? Well, NatWest and RBS offered interest-free overdrafts on their student current accounts, however tens of thousands were given the option to increase their arranged overdraft limit and if they chose this option they were then charged interest on the larger overdraft. Turns out that the terms and conditions weren't as clear as they could have been and that customers shouldn’t have been charged interest on any authorised overdrafts.

Public records are apparently the source to track down those who have been affected, but let’s face it, if you’re an ex-student you’ve probably moved home since leaving Uni. If you’re owed money, you should have received a letter that you were wrongly charged interest. But if you haven’t and you had an account with these rip-off banks and think you could have been affected, get in touch with them by calling 0118 373 2181, so they can pay you back the money they stole from you!

And it’s not just the banks taking your money from you by “mistake”, make sure to check you’venot overpaidon your student loan as the Student Loans Company have handed back more than £225million – an average of £690 per person – after taking extra money from former students. In the last year alone more than 77,000 students have been refunded £53million. 

Apparently, students will be contacted by the SLC, but take action rather than wait as records are only updated once a year, so any money you’re owed could take months to get back. Get in touch with the customer services team on 0300 100 0611 to make sure your details are up-to-date and have payslips or your P60 for the past two tax years at hand, as they’ll use this to see if you’ve been overpaid.