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PostPosted: 03 Aug 2010, 04:49 
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Recently the banks won a test case before the High courts in the UK, the equivalent of Americas Supreme Court. The case was that racking up charges upon charges to thousands of pounds was unfair and illegal. The banks won on the technicality that although it definitely counted as being unfair, its legality was not in question since in their 15 page manuals of rules, the small print clearly stated that the methodology was acceptable, and since the customer had signed up to being shafted they could not claim it was illegal. The Omubdsman the OFT (Office of Fair Trading) which had been dealing with the millions of claims against the banks pressed the plaintiff to change the terms of their case to unfair rather than illegal and got before the European courts, as this was merely a win on a technicality, the usual scheister shit basically.

So that said in the UK 1 in 27 people or ~2 million people now owe from a couple of hundred pounds to many thousands of pounds in charges, most of which would of been accrued by going overdrawn by a few pence. What happens is the charge goes through at the exact moment that the month roles over, so if said charge leaves you overdrawn, and of course it will if its for going overdrawn then you get charged double. if you can't clear this usually in the realm of £80 or ~123 dollars then the next month another doubled up charge will go through until the account is at a few thousand pounds or more at which point they will take you to court as win or lose they will profit. you can ask for charges to be removed but the Bank manager will usually tell you he/she doesn't have the power to do it so usually nothing happens. "Computer says noooooo!" *cough



So anyway spurred on by the banks frankly dreadful behaviour I've noticed businesses have now started doing this to get in on the gravy train, for example if my internet payment is late then they charge, and if the balance is not cleared they now charge for charges and so on so that they can rack up a substantial fee.

What people feel about the ethics of this? Do you think its ok to wrack up huge charges on people who are the least likely to be able to afford it, after all anyone who's pretty solvent can easily pay £80 off and return the balance to the black, however students and those living on benefits, single parent families and those living below the poverty line, can not and its these people for the most part that the banks target? Effectively the poor are subsidizing those more wealthy people who most likely will never get charged, and if they do complain it will mean the bank can remove it. My brother for example runs his own business and amazingly, the same bank I am at has no trouble quashing charges when he goes overdrawn, or indeed sucking his cock and giving him anything he asks for as long as his sizeable balance remains with them, and yet when I ask "computer says nooooooo!".

This all came about because of free banking, the banks needed to make a profit on free accounts somewhere so they decided to introduce charges, gradually they then realised they could increase them to absurd levels to make inordinate profits on these accounts. The cost of a single charge for example including the letter sent out is about 5 pence, the actual charge is from £30-£50 which is usually doubled to £60-£100 because the charge incurs a charge, so you can see the profit in it, especially when you can exploit people who can't clear that by running up huge overdrafts. The highest I've heard is nearly £5,700 for going a few pounds overdrawn, by a student although I'm sure there are way worse cases.

As a side view its probable that once the banking crisis is over this will end up before the European courts phrased in a way that doesn't mean the case loses as the government has already said the charges were unfair and its unlikely that the European courts being much more liberal will take the view they are fair, given the sheer number of cases in the millions. But should the banks ever of been allowed to behave like this? They have already paid out £57 million in bank charges to people before the test case meant that the charges were frozen. They will be due to pay about the same amount out should the court cases lose, what do you think about this? lets face it the banks already have the reputation in this country of being extremely untrustworthy and unable to manage finance, not only that if they go overdrawn they get bailed out so people see them as colossal hypocrites too. They have also just announced huge profits across the board because they are effectively being subsidized (extremely low interest rates) and in some cases controlled almost by the government who have just under a 50% share. It's no understatement that anyone you talk to will tell you a sob story or an uncle they know who has been shafted. Should this ever even need to happen? Are the banks run by socially irresponsible idiots, with no concern for common people? personally I think so. I'd say atm their reputation is lower than whale shit and what's worse other businesses are starting to adopt their practices because they know they can now legally get away with it, provided its all in the voluminous 9 pages of small print somewhere.

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