independent

Monday 21 April 2014

Smart Consumer: I didn't know about AIB charges -- shouldn't they have sent a letter?

Q Grainne wrote to Smart Consumer in relation to her Allied Irish Bank account.

"I have had the account for a number of years," she writes. "In May of this year, they changed the way fees can be charged i.e. apparently you now need to have a minimum of €2,500 in your account to avoid paying fees and charges. This was notified to customers via the press.

"I have just been hit with fees," writes Grainne "and I understood that changes to the terms and conditions have to be notified to customers by letter. Is this not the case?" she asks.

A AIB changed the rules relating to their transaction banking charges on May 28 last. However, these changes were publicly announced in March.

Under the Central Bank's Consumer Protection Code 2012 a bank must notify customers about an increase in charges, or of new charges, at least 30 days prior to the change taking effect.

In the terms and conditions attached to AIB's current accounts it says that customers will be notified about fee changes via letter, email, in-branch posters or in the press.

It goes to show that customers need to look out for changes they may be alerted to via the press.

Managing to keep €2,500 in your AIB current account is a stretch too far for most. However, Bank of Ireland will be introducing even tougher criteria next month.

BoI has announced changes to their free banking criteria from November 19 next. From that date customers must maintain a balance of €3,000 in their current account to avoid transaction fees and charges.

Apart from Ulster Bank, who is likely to introduce fees next year, all banks levy some fees and charges, so check out what your bank charges for what and tailor your activities. Unsure of your consumer rights? Email Tina at tleonard@independent.ie

Irish Independent

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