Bank customers ‘misled’ over payment cancellations

bank adviser

bank adviserAre you sick of living in your overdraft? Tired of constantly being in the red? Don't despair.

There are a number of things you and your family can do to get back into the black.

One of the most obvious starting points is to cancel any unnecessary payments set up to come out of your current account. But the findings of a recent investigation by a consumer organisation show that this can sometimes be easier said than done.

Consumer Focus carried out a "mystery shopping" investigation on major banks and building societies and found that nearly half of all advisers are giving out incorrect information on how to cancel some recurring payments.

Some 44% of advisers either did not know what the protocol was, or were giving wrong answers when asked how to cancel a continuous payment authority (CPA) - which are like direct debits but do not offer the same guarantee if the amount or date of the payment changes.

The correct procedure is to cancel these payments through your bank, while also advising the supplier of the service that the CPA has been cancelled.

However, only 56% of staff knew this. More than a quarter (28%) of customers were told they could only take their query to the company which had set up the CPA, which is contrary to the guidance set out by City watchdog the Financial Services Authority.

Director of financial services at Consumer Focus, Sarah Brooks, said: "Problems with cancellations are leaving consumers going overdrawn or paying for something they no longer want, which is unacceptable.

"Consumers should be clear that they can cancel a CPA simply by contacting their bank. Ideally the customer should also contact the business involved - but crucially they do not need the company to cancel the CPA for them."