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Until February 2007, media coverage was sporadic. Money sections of papers have featured our campaign and its successes but the issue rarely made it into the mainstream sections of the papers. BBC2’s Working Lunch featured the issue a few times (I have been interviewed on it) but their coverage tended to be a bit even-handed: here is a campaign group and this is their arguments, on the other hand this is what the banks say. Interestingly, the banks seem never to be prepared to put up a spokesman from one of the major banks, it is always a spokesperson from the British Bankers Association. Moneybox on Radio 4 has done at least a couple of item; Radio 5 phone in has done a couple of late night features (I was on one of those). Channel 5 News ran a concerted campaign for a few weeks prior to the OFT statement of 5 April (I was on one of their programmes) and, on 5 April, Channel 5 News at 5.30 p.m. made it the top story, claiming it as a success for its campaign. I took part in a panel discussion on Inside Money (Radio 4’s summer alternative to Moneybox) which was broadcast on 26 August. I have featured in The Sun (Bob the Bankbuster). Plus local news media coverage in St Austell Voice and on Radio Cornwall and Pirate. On Friday 17 November, my case at Truro County Court against Abbey was the first item on BBC South West TV news that evening - see Cases and Patricia vs. Abbey (second of the list of five) where you will find further details of the case.
Guardian article at:
Sun: Bob the Bankbuster:
Radio 4 Inside Money 26 August - you can download and listen to the programme:
On 12 December 2006, BBC2 broadcast a programme entitled "Bank Robbery". It featured Stephen Hone of Plymouth who has been fighting against penalty charges since 2005. It had commissioned a small group of banking experts to look at the issue of penalty charges. They concluded that the maximum that banks could justify for these charges was £4.50 for a bounced cheque and £2.50 for other defaults such as a bounced direct debit or a breach of an overdraft limit. See: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/6169539.stm
Suddenly, in February 2007, the issue hit the mainstream media and every day there seemed to be a reference to bank charges whether it is in a story about banks' declared record profits, or banks closing customers' accounts after they claimed back charges. Commercial companies have moved into the business of helping individuals reclaim charges. See BBC Website News of 1 and News of the World of 4 March. Suddenly, the media started to take this campaign seriously. It has become a mainstream story. The bank charges campaign will undoubtedly go down in history as one of the most successful, if not THE most successful, grass roots campaign ever.
Since early 2007, the topic re-appears every so often when the media think that something interesting has happened. On the day that the test case opened, all the media covered it. As the test case dragged on for 3 weeks, the media quickly got bored with it and only the BBC website seemed to give it consistent coverage. Likewise with the decision on 24 April 2008, a lot of media attention, then it quietened off awaiting the next event.
My local paper (Cornish Guardian) gave me space for my views on the test case, see Cornish Guardian 7 May 2008.
For other media coverage, see various stories in News.
Published and promoted by Bob Egerton, TR2 4RS