Page last updated at 10:26 GMT, Thursday, 18 December 2008

Customer sends bailiff to bank HQ

Capital One
The bailiffs served a notice at Capital One head office

A Suffolk woman who tackled a banking giant over excessive charges has ended up sending a bailiff to the firm's head office in Nottingham.

Jacqueline Reynolds, from Lowestoft, was so upset with Capital One Bank over its charges that she started a claim for 1,500 in January.

She won the case when the firm did not dispute her claim, but it failed to pay promptly despite several phone calls.

The bank said an error delayed payment and the money had now been sent.

Mrs Reynolds, 53, originally from Strathclyde, launched the legal action after consulting the Consumer Action website, which offers advice on bank charges.

Capital One did not return one single phone call
Jacqueline Reynolds

"I wrote to them (Capital One) saying I would take them to small claims court - but they said their charges were fair and I said 'no they are not'," she told the BBC.

Ms Reynolds resorted to sending in the bailiffs when Capital One did not pay her within two weeks after the case was concluded at Lowestoft County Court.

"I spent days phoning them and trying to resolve the matter without having to resort to bailiffs going in but Capital One did not return one single phone call."

Mark Gander from Consumer Action said: "We have had to put the bailiffs into a number of banks and financial institutions over the past two or three years as they do not come quietly.

"The banks are only entitled to charge a fair and non-extortionate amount. To charge customers anything between 20 or even 38 in some cases is a mark-up of many thousands of percent and is unlawful."

The bailiffs - who visited the premises on Tuesday - were told the account had been paid by cheque.

The firm later confirmed problems had delayed it.

A spokesperson for Capital One said: "Unfortunately there was an administrative error in sending the payment to Mrs Reynolds on the 3rd December, however I can confirm that it was made by CHAPS payment today."

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