What is a Packaged Bank Account?
Named as one of the top 10 most useless financial products by Which?, Packaged Bank Accounts come with extra features included as a package. You pay a monthly fee to the bank, and in return are given a host of ‘free benefits' to enjoy, such as mobile phone insurance, travel insurance and breakdown cover.
These benefits sound great but in far too many cases, consumers have discovered - too late - that they've been paying for something they'll never be able to claim on. The majority involve customers who tried to make a claim on a travel insurance policy, only to discover they do not qualify due to their age or the type of holiday they have been on. Others never use the perks, or have never fully realised what's available.
The bottom line is that consumers may have been mis-led into taking on an account by a heavily incentivised - and sometimes heavily pressurised - sales advisor at their bank. The product may have been wholly unsuitable, but that never got in the way of a sale.
You might understandably wonder why this ever happened. As ever, it comes down to profit.
FSA director of policy Sheila Nicoll sums it up very neatly: ‘These products are often referred to as upgraded accounts but if you end up paying for an element you can't claim on, it's money down the drain.'(1)
If you're still unsure about whether you were mis-sold a Packaged Bank Account, read the statements below. If any ring true, the chances are, you were.
1. You were sold or upgraded to a fee-paying account without your knowledge
If you can find a monthly fee on any current account statements - anything up to £25 or £30 - you were probably sold a Packaged Bank Account.
2. You aren't eligible to claim on one or more of the bundled insurance policies
If you were told that you would be covered by the insurance policies in your Packaged Bank Account, and subsequently discovered you weren't, you were probably mis-sold.
3. You were sold an account with bundled products you would never need
Due to the pressured selling of these products, staff often didn't take into account whether the bundled benefits would actually be of any use to their customers, such as offering breakdown cover when you don't drive a car. Sound familiar? Then you may have been mis-sold.
4. The sales advisor pressured you into it, making you feel like you had no choice
Did the sales advisor really take time to talk you through the product and properly record your wants and needs at the point of sale? If the answer's ‘no', you were probably mis-sold.
5. You weren't told about any other available products
Were you told about - or even offered - other options. Did the sales advisor even compare the product to others available?
6. You wanted a loan or mortgage and were told you had to have a Packaged Bank Account to get one
Sometimes people were told that in order to be eligible for the best rates, they had to take out a paid-for account. This is not always true. If you felt like you were left no choice but to sign up for a Packaged Bank Account, you were probably mis-sold.
So what does all this mean to you?
If any of the statements above ring a bell, there's a very good chance that you were mis-sold a Packaged Bank Account. This means you were mis-advised into buying a product that, at best, cost you unnecessarily; at worst, left you high and dry when you needed cover. That's wrong - and we're here to help you get back what is rightfully yours.
What can you do to seek compensation?
There are two main options open to you. You can claim on your own, or use an expert. Now we feel it's important to stress that we can't guarantee you a payout, more money or a faster service than you would get on your own. And if anyone else claims this, then we'd advise you to avoid them at all costs.
However, we do offer an honest, expert, hassle-free service with no upfront costs. What's more, we're regulated by the Claims Management Regulator in respect of regulated claims management activities and we are founder members of the PFCA.
Understandably, you may want to know a little more about us - and whether we're right for you. If so, we'd love to tell you a bit more about ourselves - and why over 700,000 people have trusted EMCAS with their claims.
If, on the other hand, you'd like us to support you in getting back what is rightfully yours, we'd be delighted to help. If you've been mis-sold a Packaged Bank Account, you're entitled to financial justice. Request a call back from one of our down-to-earth, expert advisers by clicking here.
We'll call you back at a time convenient to you and get the process started. You can then relax. We'll be doing everything in our power to secure you the financial justice you deserve.
1. Bank rules seek to prevent account mis-selling - BBC News