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Santander to refund 20,000 customers after failing to warn them about overdraft charges

Santander is paying out £1.4 million in refunds to 20,000 customers, after it failed to warn some of those who went into an unarranged overdraft about fees.

Banks must send customers alerts before they charge unarranged overdraft fees, but those who opened a Santander Everyday Current Account or Essentials Current Account between 1 February 2018 and 20 February 2019 weren't enrolled onto the alerts system.

If these customers went into an unarranged overdraft, they didn't receive an alert warning them of the possible charges.

As a result, Santander is now refunding overdraft charges incurred by these 20,000 customers, and will make sure they're now enrolled on the system to receive alerts in future. The average payout per customer is likely to be around £70, though the amount each will get will depend on what overdraft fees they incurred.

See our Cut Overdraft Costs guide for more help on managing overdrafts.

I'm a Santander customer – am I owed?

Customers who opened an Everyday or Essentials current account between 1 February 2018 and 20 February 2019 and then paid overdraft charges are likely to be affected. We've asked Santander about the exact period these customers were charged for overdrafts without being sent an alert, and when the problem was fixed, and will update this story when we hear back.

Santander says affected customers don't need to do anything to claim the refund, as the bank is identifying the accounts in question and paying out automatically. It says the "vast majority" of refunds have already been issued, and remaining refunds will be sent "as a priority" over the next few weeks.

If you still have the account that the problem relates to, Santander says the money will be paid back into that account, and if you've closed the account, it says it will contact you.

However, if you believe you may be owed and haven't heard from Santander within the next few weeks, it's worth contacting it directly to ask. If you've moved home or changed your contact details since you opened the account, it's possible it may not have been able to reach you. You can call Santander's customer service team on 0800 912 3123.

What does Santander say?

A Santander spokesperson said: "We are sorry that some customers did not receive unarranged overdraft alerts and we are in the process of refunding customers who incurred unarranged overdraft charges as a result.

"We notified the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) when we became aware of the issue and continue to keep the CMA updated on progress."

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