NatWest has been obliged to pay £500 to consumers who have had their bank accounts closed.
After the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) found that NATWEST customers were treated unfairly, they were granted hundreds of pounds in compensation.
After their accounts were closed and they couldn’t access their money, former clients of the high street bank contacted the FOS. Although the FOS found that NatWest was within its rights to close the accounts, it found that the way customers were handled during the process was unfair, and it awarded them compensation of up to £500.
When some NatWest customers received black marks on their credit files, they were outraged; one former client had to rely on food banks to feed their family.
Another missed out on a home purchase due to a lack of funds in their account for several months.
Others had their information forwarded to debt collectors without being contacted first, with many claiming to have experienced a tremendous deal of stress as a result of the situation.
These complaints were upheld by the FOS, and several people received compensation of up to £500.
Although it is uncommon for a bank to close an account, it is within its rights to do so if it believes something is wrong.
“We have clear legal and regulatory responsibilities to protect our clients and accounts from fraud and the proceeds of crime,” a NatWest spokeswoman stated.
“We take these obligations extremely seriously, and we will take action if we notice any conduct that is not in accordance with these guidelines.
“Only after thorough thought is a decision to close a customer’s account made.”
Customers who are unhappy with such a choice should first call their bank and request an explanation.
If they are still unhappy or have not received an answer after eight weeks, they could approach the Financial Ombudsman Service.
The bank is not required to explain its decision, but the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) can order it to compensate dissatisfied clients up to £500 if it is determined that they were wrong.
Every complaint will be investigated.
“Businesses that supply bank accounts are normally permitted to close them – just as their consumers are,” according to FOS guidelines.
“However, you should be fair to your customers.
“Accounts should not be closed due to unjust bias or unlawful discrimination.
“You should also give reasonable notice before closing an account.”
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