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www.MoneySavingExpert.com. News Release. Embargo 00.01 Wed 17 Oct ‘07

Millions missing out on reclaiming £1,000s of credit card charges
The bank charges hold doesn’t impact credit cards. Even judges are getting it wrong.

Britain’s banks are playing a con trick on judges around the country and getting away with it, and millions of credit card customers stand to lose out. Many banks are outrageously trying to apply the hold on bank charges reclaiming to credit cards reclaiming, even though the Office of Fair Trading already sorted this out back in April 2006, and sometimes they’re succeeding!

The fight-back launched today will shock the credit card industry

With more reports coming in daily (case studies available), today the consumer revenge website MoneySavingExpert.com launches a counter-move, with a new guide and template letters, focused solely on reclaiming credit card charges (www.moneysavingexpert.com/ccreclaim).

The template letters include a specific rebuttal of the banks’ attempts to muddy the waters due to the bank charges hold. Plus the founder of MoneySavingExpert.com, Martin Lewis, during a meeting with the OFT, has strongly requested that it and the FSA release an official clarification to the judiciary.

As around 1.4m angry bank account customers have already downloaded 4.3m bank charge reclaiming template letters from the website, and nearly 3 million people use the site each month; the new focus on credit card charges is likely to be a massive blow to providers.

Why people are missing out on £100s or £1,000s

Not only are credit card charges unaffected by the OFT test case (see notes to editors 1) and the FSA stay, but there has already been a decision on credit cards back in April 2006. The Office of Fair Trading ruled that penalty fees for late payments or going beyond your overdraft limit of up to £35 were unfair. As it also said it wouldn’t launch a specific investigation on any card companies with charges higher than £12, most card companies reduced their charges to this £12 level.

This actually means reclaiming credit card charges is much easier than bank charges; if you ask for the difference back between what you were charged and the £12 figure, it’s tough for them to argue. As you can reclaim up to six years’ worth of charges in England and five in Scotland, for millions of credit card holders this will mean getting £100s or £1,000s back.

How banks try and fob people off

Martin Lewis, creator of MoneySavingExpert.com, says:

“It’s a national disgrace. The FSA made it plain the hold only applies to bank charges, yet banks’ lawyers are disgracefully trying to bully customers, using it as an excuse to suggest it applies to credit card cases too. They know full well there’s already been a ruling that credit card charges are unfair – it’s done and dusted.

“Yet a few banks are pushing to go to court, then asking judges to put these cases on hold, and some judges fall for it! If you’re one of the unlucky few this happens to you have to pay £75 to apply to get it overturned. Luckily our new campaign launched today will show people how to defeat all this and get their money without going to court, simply by sending the right letters.”

Victim Lorraine Kay, 39, from Warrington,

Lorraine Kay, 39, is one victim of the confusion over credit card reclaiming. Her claim for £465 against Monument credit cards has been stayed by the judge at Warrington County Court.

Lorraine says: “After I applied through MoneyClaim online, the court came back saying there was a stay on the claim. I told them that it doesn’t apply to credit cards so they sent me a form to fill in and said I even had to pay to challenge the stay. I’m on income support, but I have to go down to court and prove this or I’ll have to pay to challenge.

“It just seems a lot of trouble that I’m going through; all just to challenge the stay, not even resolve my bank charges. It’s ridiculous. I don’t think they know what they’re doing.”

www.MoneySavingExpert.com’s quick guide to reclaiming credit card charges

• Step 1: Find out all your charges and add them up. Write to your current and former credit card providers and ask for details of all the fines you’ve been charged over six years. The Data Protection Act means it has to tell you.

• Step 2. Write to your credit card company and ask for your money. Write to the credit card company saying the charges were unfair and you want your money back, plus interest.

• Step 3: Threaten to take it to court. After the first letter, providers usually say no, so now write to inform it that you’ll be taking court action or going to the Ombudsman if it doesn’t settle. Usually this does the trick.

• Step 4: Go to The Financial Ombudsman Service. If you haven’t received a suitable offer by now, go to the Ombudsman. It settles disputes between financial companies and their customers for free and has a very good success record on credit card complaints – all you really need do is fill in a form. This is MoneySavingExpert.com’s preferred method, though you could choose to go to court.

Important! The plan above is just a brief guide; to do this properly and battle the credit card company people should read the full step-by-step guide and template letters at www.moneysavingexpert.com/ccreclaim.

For further information, case studies or quotes, please contact:

Prime Contact: Murray Harkin, EP
Tel: 0207 100 60 70
Email: murray.harkin@ep-site.com

Alternate Contact:

MoneySavingExpert.com
Office: 020 7348 9100
Email: press@moneysavingexpert.com

Notes to Editors:

1.) The FSA Waiver & OFT: What they actually said

The FSA Waiver states: “We are making this waiver by consent available only to providers of current accounts with overdraft facilities. The test case aims to establish legal certainty on the lawfulness and fairness of charges levied by current account providers for unauthorised overdrafts.”

THE OFT Agreement states – “The OFT has initiated an investigation under s.224 of the Enterprise Act 2002 into the fairness or otherwise for the purposes of the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contract Regulations 1999 of certain terms contained in each bank’s personal current account arrangements…”

2. ) About MoneySavingExpert.com

Consumer revenge website MoneySavingExpert.com is a free to use consumer finance help resource. The aim of the site is simple: showing people how to save money on anything and everything and fight back against big companies. Set up four years ago, for just £100, its no advertising, free to use, ethical stance quickly made it the UK’s biggest independent money website according to internet ranking site Alexa.com and number 1 "Business and Finance - Business Information" site according to Hitwise.
It currently has over 1,500,000 people opted in to receive its weekly Martin’s Money Tips e-mail, and over 3,000,000 unique monthly users of the site who visit over 6,300,000 times a month and receives more than 900 million hits per month.

3. ) About Martin Lewis:

TV Money Saving guru Martin Lewis is the creator of MoneySavingExpert.com. He is an ultra specialised journalist; who regularly presents ITV1’s Tonight with Trevor McDonald. He’s author of the bestselling books The Money Diet & Thrifty Ways for Modern Days, and regular Money Saving Expert/presenter on GM TV and Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine Show amongst others. Martin created and owns MoneySavingExpert.com (picture available on request).




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