A DUNGARVAN businessman who took on Bank of Ireland and had €33,000 in interest overpayments on his commercial loans returned to him is urging others in business and individuals to be vigilant against cases of overcharging.
David Walsh, who runs Office School and Computer Supplies at Lower Main Street, Dungarvan, was threatened, by the bank, that cheques would not be honoured because he had exceeded his overdraft limit. It transpired, however, that the bank took too much money from his current account to pay his commercial loan charges. The overpayments were taken from his account between 2001 and 2008.
A case was taken to the Financial Ombudsman and Bank of Ireland admitted it did not automatically reduce commercial loan repayments when interest rates are cut. The bank said that unlike home loans, commercial mortgage loans are priced against market-related rates which change on an ongoing basis.
After taking a case to the Financial Ombudsman, Mr. Walsh was refunded €33,000 in interest overpayments, he has had his annual repayments reduced by €30,000 per year. Mr. Walsh also forced the bank to refund €11,000 on the interest overcharged on his current account as a direct result of the bank failing to cut his monthly commercial loan repayments when interest rates fell.
The Financial Ombudsman further awarded €2,500 in compensation but the Dungarvan man went to the High Court to have the amount increased to €5,000. That appeal was unsuccessful and he now faces a potential legal bill of up to €40,000.
He told the Waterford News & Star that what he got back from the bank could now be offset by legal fees. He feared that some people in business could be driven to do “stupid things” while under pressure from the banks.
Of the possible High Court costs, which he now faces, he said, “Why should justice be out of the reach of ordinary people.”