Saturday, January 20, 2007


A man who was fed up with paying massive bank charges decided to give one of the high street giants a taste of its own medicine.

When Royal Bank of Scotland refused to refund £3,400 charges that Declan Purcell believed he was owed, he sent in the bailiffs. Stunned customers at his branch of RBS watched as debt collectors seized four computers, two fax machines and a till filled with cash.

The branch manager was told that the items would be sold unless RBS came up with the money owed to Mr Purcell. Only when the manager gave an undertaking that the debt would be paid did the bailiffs leave.

Mr Purcell said: "I think the bank was pretty shocked when the bailiffs went in. But my view is that this is exactly what they would have done to me."

The move, which will raise a cheer from millions of other bank customers, is part of a consumer fightback against bank charges, which net an estimated £4.5 billion every year.

Every time a current account customer goes overdrawn by as little as £1 most banks will charge around £28, even though the administration cost is only about £4.50. Then every cheque, direct debit, or card transaction that goes through or is bounced incurs another charge of up to £38.

The Office of Fair Trading is investigating whether banks have implemented these charges unlawfully.

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