A Dungannon man on sickness benefits has been hit with a £727 charge after running up a bank debt of just £348.
In all, the individual has received demands for £1,075 after a local branch of Danske bank passed on his debt to a debt recovery agency.
Although he concedes that he is in the wrong for neglecting to repay the money in the first place, the local man said he is angry that the huge charges were slapped on his debt, almost trebling it.
“At the time I was going through a bereavement and was off work because of a serious illness”, he said.
“I still had a mortgage to pay and the debt built up over time, because my sickness benefit was my only source of income.
“Unfortunately, the last thing on my mind was paying bills.
“I tried to sort it out with the bank, but they say they have passed it on and it’s out of their hands.”
“I wish the bank had warned me they were going to sell on the debt, but they didn’t. If I knew I was going to have to pay another £700 odd pound I’d have done my best to start paying it off.
“The reason I stopped using the account was because I was told my monthly benefits, which I need to live on, would be swallowed up by the debt, whereas I wanted to pay only about £10 a week.
“Now I have to renegotiate a much larger debt with the recovery agency.
“The whole thing is turning into a financial nightmare, the bank has told me not to worry, as it’s only a £1000 debt, but for me the repayment is huge.
According to moneysavingexpert.com, in recent years, bank overdraft charges have dropped to an average of around £15. “It may still be possible to get this back, but it’s been more difficult since a November 2009 Supreme Court ruling, yet some payouts are still possible for those in financial hardship”, said the financial advice website.
“There’s no guarantee of winning. Yet for some, primarily those in hardship, there’s still a risk-free, cost-free process which could see you get your charges back.
“The independent Financial Ombudsman Service will still look at certain cases and there’s no risk in doing so.”