With many facing financial difficulties as a result of Coronavirus, it is more important than ever that people have the tools to manage their finances, and any extra money to see us through the month is particularly appreciated.
That’s why we in the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) remedies enforcement team are pleased to announce today that we’ve secured over £19m in refunds from Santander and the Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RSBG current account customers include the NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland and Ulster Bank brands). These refunds will go out to over half a million bank customers for charges that shouldn’t have been taken from their accounts. Both banks failed to send their customers a text alert warning them that they would be charged for entering an unarranged overdraft.
It’s important that banks and building societies send these alerts, so customers have time to take action and avoid unexpected fees. We’ve been responsible for enforcing this for 22 months and in that time, banks and building societies have committed to refund over £47 million to customers who they have not treated fairly.
In December last year, we handed over responsibility to the Financial Conduct Authority, which has since expanded the requirements by making banks and building societies send alerts before customers get any overdraft charges.
Now we’re using the valuable lessons learnt from this enforcement work to focus on other areas where we can act to make sure businesses are complying with the rules and treating their customers fairly.
Our job in the remedies enforcement team is to ensure businesses are complying with the rules put in place by the CMA following its market investigations. We also ensure companies who have merged stick to the agreements (known as undertakings) made as a condition of the merger being cleared.
Recent examples include our continued focus on enforcement against payment protection insurance providers who haven’t been sending customers the right information, and taking action against Tesco for blocking other supermarkets from accessing sites . We are also taking enforcement action against businesses in other areas where there are CMA Orders and Undertakings, so watch this space (and if you’re a business, make sure you are complying with your obligations!).