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Bank refunds – check the small print

Terms and conditions (T&Cs) detailing consumers' rights to bank refunds, charges and claims are "frustratingly complex and difficult" to understand, according to a new survey.

Only one in ten Which? members said they had read their bank's T&Cs thoroughly when they opened their account.

This is perhaps unsurprising when the research suggests it would typically take between 25 minutes and over an hour to read a set of terms and conditions from the ten major banks.

HSBC is the worst offender, with its terms and conditions running to nearly 30,000 words, which would take an hour-and-a-half to read.

The T&Cs of First Direct and Halifax would also take more than an hour to read, with both sets running to over 20,000 words.

Peter Vicary-Smith, Which? chief executive, says it is "completely unrealistic" for customers to be expected to plough through 30,000 words of jargon and small print.

"Banks should drastically reduce the length of their terms and conditions, so that their customers are not put off from reading them in the first place, and make sure they are clear, jargon-free and easy to understand," he added.

Samantha Clarke

Samantha is a former banking assistant and has over ten years experience in retail banking.ADNFCR-2776-ID-801492268-ADNFCR

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