Heading Heading1 Heading1a Heading1b Heading1b1 Heading1b2 Heading1b2a Heading1b2b Heading1b2b1


Back to news index

28 June 2007
NatWest and RBS decide that words mean whatever they want them to mean

For many years, if you used your cheque guarantee card to guarantee a cheque, or used your debit card to purchase items, and you did not have sufficient funds to cover the payment, the bank would impose a penalty charge and call it "card misuse".

However, now that several of the banks are desperately wriggling to find a way to pretend that their penalty charges are not penalty charges, they argue that whatever you do on your account, you never actually breach the terms of the contract. Therefore, the common law rules relating to penalties cannot apply because these only apply when contract terms have been breached. But if you label an event "card misuse" then it is difficult to argue that this was not a breach of contract. So, both RBS and its adopted child, NatWest, now label such events "guarantee payment card fee".

"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less."

(Through the Looking Glass page 75)


For other news stories, see News stories

Published and promoted by Bob Egerton, TR2 4RS