Packaged bank accounts see a huge rise in complaints

The number of complaints being made to the ombudsman about packaged bank accounts has risen steeply following the introduction of the Current Account Switch Guarantee.

In some ways, the increase in complaints is no surprise – with more people switching, there are more new account holders who can potentially complain.

But the figures highlight how careful consumers need to be. These packaged accounts, which charge monthly fees, come with all sorts of add-ons, but too often new customers find they have signed up to unsuitable products.

“With thousands of customers now switching their current account thanks to the switch guarantee, it’s unsurprising that complaints about packaged accounts have rocketed,” said Rachel Springall, of Moneyfacts.co.uk

“People are becoming more proactive at voicing their mistreatment, and because customers should never stay silent over issues concerning their finances, it’s great to see these consumers using the Financial Ombudsman Service in an attempt to solve their problems.”

Overall, there have been more than 35,000 complaints about current accounts over the past year – a rise of 78%. But it’s with packaged accounts where there has been the steepest increase – up 278% in the year to the end of March.

“It’s clear to see that there are many unhappy packaged account customers out there who feel they are not getting the service or deal they expect,” said Ms Springall.

“While the banks focus on offering introductory deals and switching incentives, some customers may find themselves taking out accounts that aren’t as suitable as originally thought.

“Some banks offer countless add-ons, so it can be a real minefield for consumers hoping to pick a suitable deal.”

Under the switch guarantee, customers moving their accounts are given a promise that everything will be taken care of within seven days, and there are various guarantees about what will happen should something go wrong with the move.