Abbey's Shabby Habit; Money Mail Tony Hazell Has the Last Word

Article excerpt

Byline: TONY HAZELL

IF YOUwent to a cash machine to see if your wage cheque had cleared and the screen showed the money was available, you might think it reasonable to spend some.

That's what Money Mail reader Terry Ammon did, but as we explain on Page 45 he was roundly punished for this 'misdemeanour' - to the sum of almost [pounds sterling]1,000 in unauthorised overdraft charges.

Apparently, when Abbey shows the money is in your account, it doesn't

necessarily mean you can withdraw it. You first have to put on your cyber hat, make contact through ether-space with Abbey's central computer and discover whether the cheque is cleared.

Now, excuse me for being old fashioned, but when I see money in my bank account I think it's mine to use. To tell a customer at a cash machine that the money is present and then hammer them with massive charges when they spend it appears to be a deliberate attempt to mislead in order to make a shabby profit.

But this is only the tip of the iceberg. Money Mail has been inundated with complaints from readers who are finding not only that bank charges are increasing, but some banks are becoming more heavy-handed in administering them.

Going overdrawn for just a few hours because one payment goes out before another comes in can result in a thumping penalty of [pounds sterling]30 or more.

And it's not just personal customers who are suffering; small businesses are also bearing the brunt of banking greed.

Now there is nothing wrong with making a healthy profit.

Profits mean strong businesses, employment, rising dividends for investors and a secure tax stream for the Government. …