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Problem with irresponsible bank

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#1 Posted on:
Thu, 12/10/2017 - 21:50



Before I say anything I will clarify a few things.

- I'm completely over the money lost, it's gone, I can't win it back or get in back in any way apart from saving my own money.

- I'm not blaming anyone else apart from myself for my losses. I have had a problem with gambling where I made the deposits and clicked the spin button, nobody else.

What I will say first is if someone went into a bank to apply for a loan and told the bank they wanted the money to gamble with, there is no way they would be granted the loan. If they said it's for other things like a holiday or to buy household goods, they might be granted the loan and if they went and gambled and lost that, it's not the bank fault in any way.

My situation stems from telling the bank about my gambling problems, telling them that the only time I access my authorised overdraft is to gamble money (chasing losses) and wanting this facility terminated from my account as the debt it causes is very hard to repay.

I told them this many times over the last 3 years. Yet each time my request was ignored, not taken seriously or I was given advice that I can do this myself (By setting the overdraft limit on my online banking account to £0..... Even though that doesn't remove the facility as I can then increase it again seconds later).

I have only been able to safeguard myself to a certain level. I keep minimal money in my bank account so if any slip happens, the loss cannot be too damaging. But the authorised overdraft has been the real damage causer.

Even at the start of this year I made it clear again to them saying:

"By leaving the overdraft facility on my account all you are doing is allowing me to get myself into debt time and time again through a gambling problem I have already expressed I have problems with.", "the only time I have been using my overdraft is when I have had gambling slips, then its me who has to suffer the consequences of being in debt" and "I do not wish for any authorised overdraft whatsoever".

Just as an example of 1 of my slips a good few months ago.

I had £50 in my bank account. Unfortunately that evening I had a slip and lost that £50. I tried creating an authorised overdraft on my account, which was instant and allowed me £700. I lost that as well. For the next 3 months I struggled using my disability benefits to pay it off as well as £90 in authorised overdraft fee's. 

You know what I mean though? If the bank had implemented my requests and pleading with them to terminate the authorised overdraft facility from my account, I would have only lost £50 and that would have been that. 

So I don't know. I really feel I should be putting in a complaint to the bank. Not sure if others here will agree with me or not.

It just seems very irresponsible on their behalf to me becase they knew I wanted that facility terminated for good, that I have only ever used it to gamble chasing losses and I then struggle for many months in debt to pay it off while they cash in on bank fee's. Yet they still won't remove the facility from my account.

Posted on:
Thu, 12/10/2017 - 22:50



I think you certainly need to speak to them to try & get those fees waived & then if they won’t offer you a basic account, you need to change banks.  

Posted on:
Thu, 12/10/2017 - 23:15



Unfortunately that’s the way banks make huge profits, they generally don’t care what you spend the money on because they then get interest from you and also retain you as a customer because your in debt you can’t leave until it’s paid back. I’d suggest paying back what you owe if you haven’t and switch to a basic account there’s no overdraft available on those or do they charge you a missed payment fee for direct debits. I’m sure Barclays do a none online transaction account also. Some advice I gave out earlier was read the sticky at the top of this page and maybe participate in the online multi operator exclusion scheme also.

All the best

Posted on:
Fri, 13/10/2017 - 13:44



Thank you both, i'm going to take the advice you have given and look at doing that.

I have also been looking into this bank matter and think I will put a complaint it purely because the evidence against them is so concrete.

I had a look at some of the published financial ombudsman case studies and from what I saw, if the bank do not investigate thoroughly, the ombudsman will more likely than not uphold the complaint. It all comes down to what they were aware of beforehand. 

In the case studies it shows several upheld complaints, (that are similar in various ways) against banks including 1 case where a man with significant learning and mental health difficulties applied for a loan in a bank, not being aware of or fully understanding the repercussions. When he struggled with paying it back, a family member put a complaint in and it was decided by the ombudsman that the money was lent to someone who would clearly struggle to pay it back, didn't understand the repurcussions and the bank should not have lent the money to him.

In many ways thats similar to the situation I was in. The bank knew about my gambling problems, knew I only ever used my authorised OD to chase losses and the debt and misery it causes me, but they still wouldn't terminate the OD facility on my account as asked.

I'm sure there isn't 1 problem gambler here who after a £50 slip and loss would say no to an extra £700 instantly to try and win that cash back. The overdraft would be created not with the thought of losing and being in debt, but with the thought of winning back the losses, being in profit and paying back the overdraft right after cashing out at the casino. At the point of borrowing, the consequences are not fully understood because as far as we are concerned, we are not going to lose... we will win and everything will be fine.

I knew this would happen, so made the bank fully aware of it.

The complaint is mostly for the decline in my mental health problems it's caused me. After creating and maxing my overdraft I have ended up in hospital before with not being able to cope with it. The bank have a way of rubbing it in my face too (not intentionally but still). I had to deal with that waking up feeling after the loss knowing i'm in £700 worth of debt, but also, even though I use paperless banking, the overdraft increase letters arrive in the post a few days later just to give me that kick in the teeth.

Posted on:
Fri, 13/10/2017 - 19:33



The Bank have a duty of care to you, yet you applied for that overdraft. I do see the dilemma. But you applied for the overdraft, and I suspect you will have to pay for it. Otherwise, we could all try the same, as the banks would see it, "trick". What if you had won? 

I wish you well, but I must be honest and hope you don't mind me making my point.


Posted on:
Fri, 13/10/2017 - 21:54



I certainly don't mind you making your point at all Mixer.

The thing with it, is it's not like I applied for it as such. A set possible overdraft amount was placed on my account by the bank (they review and increase/decrease this amount every few months) and I could manually activate it in seconds via my online banking account.

So for example, lets say my bank balance was £0 (it never is exactly that figure, but this is just an example). It would say £0 current balance and £0 available balance. Behind the scenes the banks systems could have allocated me with a £700 authorised overdraft. It would be approved, but just not active and usable. I can then go to the overdraft section of my online banking account, increase my overdraft by £700.... Instantly my balance becomes £0 current balance, £700 available balance. 

In other words, they automatically approved me for certain overdraft amounts even though I had already told them about the gambling, how overdrafts would only ever be to chase losses, the debt it causes me and that I wanted this facility terminated.

To me it, as there wasn't an approval process, it was as if they had a set pile of money in their hands for me and even though they knew my circumstances with gambling and the difficulty I would have paying it back they kept that pile of money reserved for me any time I wanted it.

If I had won? Put it this way, there are never winners in gambling. If I won, the winnings would go back in days later (if I didn't reverse and lose it before it reached my bank) because I would have unleashed my gambling demons. Which is why I kept telling them I wanted this pre approved amount of money revoked and the facility terminated from my account when I was in credit (and the OD limit on my account was set to £0 by me), because I knew it only took 1 weak day, 1 slip and I would be back to activating my overdraft again desperately trying to win back what I lost of my own money.