02 Dec 2019
HSBC and Santander Will Refund Over 115,000 Customers Following Failures
Thousands of HSBC and Santander customers are expected to receive refunds, due to communication failures by the banks.
Under rules set out by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), banks must contact their current account customers when they go into an unarranged overdraft, in order to allow them enough time to avoid any associated fines.
According to the CMA, both banks initially broke these rules in February 2018. HSBC were found to have breached the regulator’s Retail Banking Market Investigation Order, while Santander has done so six times. The CMA has since recommended separate investigations into the two banks’ compliance with the rules.
A spokesperson for HSBC said:
“We apologise to those customers who for different reasons did not receive an alert. We will continue contacting customers who incurred overdraft charges as a result of these issues to apologise and provide a refund.”
One of these reasons is HSBC’s disturbance policy; the bank does not contact customers after 22:45. Therefore, if customers go into their unarranged overdraft after this time but before 23:45, when the bank calculates balances, they will not receive any text notifications.
The bank has advised that technical issues may not be fixed until June 2020, so customers may continue to be charged, and HSBC will be issuing refunds for this on an ongoing basis.
They have confirmed that they will be issuing refunds totalling £8m to 115,000 customers.
“We are very sorry that some customers in certain circumstances were not sent the required overdraft alerts. The introduction of these alerts is a move we welcomed and believe is a real support to customers.
“We have carried out a detailed review to understand why the errors happened and have taken steps to fix the issues. We are now working to identify and refund all affected customers as quickly as possible.”
Despite this, Santander has yet to inform the CMA how much will be refunded and how many customers have been affected.