To pay the bills for the house, we have a separate bank account, which, supposedly has an overdraft set on it. Then, all the bills (electricity, gas, phone, internet etc.) come out of that account, and we pay into it in advance.
Last week, PlusNet tried to take the money we owed them for next months’ internet (seems a bit early, but whatever… ). They needed £29.99 via Direct Debit, and that day, some money had been deposited into the account, taking the balance up to £30. So, if all had gone to plan, PlusNet could take their £29.99, leaving a penny. Remember, we also have an overdraft on this account, or so we thought.
But no, it wasn’t that simple (is it ever?). NatWest took the £30, and instead of paying PlusNet, denied the transaction, and used it as a fine against us for not having the money in the account for long enough before the transaction took place. So now not only was the account empty but PlusNet hadn’t been paid. The first we knew of this was on Monday when PlusNet apologetically suspended our account. A quick call to their billing department sorted it out (they were happy to take that month’s payment via Switch on this occasion) and we were back online. And thankfully I didn’t need it for anything vitally important at the time, but if I had I’d have been immensely annoyed with NatWest.
It also appears that, despite us asking for a small overdraft, they haven’t set one up on the account. So, we had to get some money in there pronto to make sure that the next bill went through okay, seeing as NatWest insists that the money is in there a few days earlier. And it’s not helping that we’re now £30 out of pocket because of this. It’s possible that the money that had gone in hadn’t cleared in time, but in theory the account should have gone into the overdraft to cover it, shouldn’t it?
Of course, this is probably in their small print somewhere but it does seem incredibly harsh. If you’re in a similar situation, you may like to look at another bank.