Hundreds of banks and savings banks are throwing out customers at the beginning of the year, according to a recent survey. The affected consumers had either not agreed to the latest price increases or had not responded to letters from the institutes. FOCUS online says what you have to do now.
Savings banks and banks are obliged to obtain the consent of customers if they want to increase prices. This was decided by the Federal Court of Justice in a judgment in April 2021. The judges also ruled that many price increases and adjustments were invalid due to this lack of consent.
After the verdict, banks and savings banks reacted. They remain persistent when it comes to price adjustments or contract changes and inform the affected households several times by post, e-mail or online banking about the lack of consent. There are also hints that appear again and again at ATMs. So far, these have been the strictest measures taken by banks and savings banks.
But now they pull out all the stops. Because many customers ignore this news, the first houses are also terminating the current account – with serious consequences.
Last October, Sparkasse Nürnberg blocked the checking accounts of over 10,000 customers who had not agreed to the new general terms and conditions. They can no longer use their account at the end of the year. Other savings banks and banks followed this example, as reported by the “Handelsblatt”. The newspaper interviewed several financial institutions, which confirmed the layoffs.
Postbank was also the first large private customer bank to announce a mid-five-digit number of customers. They had not agreed to the price increases. The Kreissparkasse Köln and the Sparkasse Hannover were also affected.
By terminating the current account, standing orders and direct debit procedures are put on hold in extreme cases. This means that rent, electricity, telephone or mobile phone bills cannot be paid from the bank account by bank transfer. Also, no income – such as salary or rental income – goes into the account.
If you find that your account has been blocked or terminated, contact Sparkasse und Bank immediately.
Affected customers are usually given the opportunity to agree to the terms and conditions and thus continue to use the account. In many cases, termination can also be postponed, so that customers can look for another bank in the meantime.
Many financial institutions also take back the notice of termination. when those affected make a transfer, pay by card in the supermarket or withdraw cash from a machine. In this case, they assess that customers agree to the General Terms and Conditions and therefore continue to use the bank’s services.
If you are angry about the actions of your bank or savings bank, you should change.
Many financial institutions make it easy for new customers and advertise with an account transfer service. The banks and savings banks take care of all the formalities related to the change.
To do this, the customer submits an application to the institute to which he or she would like to switch. This gives the old and the new institute the mandate and authorization to switch accounts.
A prerequisite for the obligation to help with the change is that both banks – the old and the new one – are based in Germany. “And they both have to keep the accounts in the same currency,” says Roland Stecher from the consumer advice center in Bremen.
General information on how to switch accounts in accordance with the Payment Accounts Act and the application to switch accounts can be found on the institutes’ websites or in their offices.
What makes things easy for customers: “The change can be completely controlled from the new bank,” says Stecher. If you open a new account there, fill out the application for account switching assistance. “This is done using a form in the branch or via the online banking portal.”
The new bank must then contact the previous bank within two business days and request a list of the existing standing orders and direct debit mandates that have been issued. If desired, a list of available information on incoming credit transfers and direct debits from the past 13 months should also be submitted.
In addition, the new bank or savings bank can arrange for the previous institution to close the old account – if desired. “In the application, the consumer can also specify a date that differs from the desired date of the account change, on which the previous bank should no longer execute standing orders,” says Sylvie Ernoult from the Association of German Banks of the DPA.