Call for probe as 120,000 hit by BoI overcharging

CONSUMER groups have called for an investigation into how Bank of Ireland overcharged customers of potentially tens of millions of euro and if the bank benefited from the financial blunder.

Up to 120,000 Bank of Ireland customers who paid for goods on their Laser cards on Friday were charged a second time on Monday night due to a computer fault.

It revealed some customers were unable to access funds on Tuesday because the error took them over their credit limit.

The bank yesterday blamed the huge financial error on a computer fault.

The Consumer Association of Ireland called on the Financial Regulator to investigate if the bank had temporarily benefited from the financial foul-up.

The issue of compensation needed to be considered if aggrieved customers had been denied access to their funds over the weekend, argued the association’s chief executive Dermot Jewell. “We need to know how significant the money involved is. We could be talking about tens of millions of euro.

“The downside for a consumer is if they went to an ATM machine and were denied access to money that they should have had, we’re into the discussion of compensation. We’d like to know transparently, what happened and to whom.”

The bank had temporarily benefited from “borrowing” customers’ cash, Mr Jewell suggested.

“They [the bank] gained from it, albeit for a short period of time but they gained from it. All you can do is ask the [Financial] Regulator to ask them.”

Bank of Ireland said last night that most, if not all, customers had been refunded. “The transactions took place on Friday last and the erroneous duplications happened overnight on Monday. This error resulted in possible non access to funds for some customers on Tuesday,” the bank said.

“The error has now been rectified on customer accounts and most customers will have experienced no adverse impact.”

No other bank cards had been affected, it said.

The bank said that the payment of direct debits and cheques were not affected, but a small number of standing order payments may have been delayed by one day. A spokeswoman added that all refunds had been made, including all overdraft fees and penalties charged to customers following the incorrect charges to their card.

The Financial Regulator’s office yesterday said it was “working” with the bank on the overcharging issue, but it refused to elaborate.

The bank said it had received a number of complaints following the mistake.

Bank of Ireland said it had apologised to customers. * People concerned should contact Banking 365 at 1890 365365 or contact their local branch.


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