A lot of bank accounts come packaged with things like insurance deals, and it often makes sense to take advantage of them. Cheap insurance is a great way to add protection to things like your mobile or any travel you’re doing.

However, there’s kind of a dark side to the ways banks have tended to sell these “packaged accounts”. In some cases, customers haven’t been told the whole truth about what they’d be paying – or what they’d be getting for the money.

If you’ve been mis-sold a packaged bank account, even if it happened years back, it’s actually possible to claw back the fees you’ve paid. You’ll even get interest on the money you were charged. You’ve got to make a claim to get it, though. It could be well worth doing, too. Many people are getting back hundreds, or even thousands, of pounds because their banks didn’t play fair.

Why are people getting cash back for mis-sold packaged accounts?

A packaged account isn’t automatically a bad thing to have. However, you’ve got to be sure you’re getting something you can actually use, and that you’ll get good value from. In many cases, people are finding out, to their cost, that they don’t have the kind of coverage they were promised. Others never even realised they’d been moved onto a packaged account, and have unknowingly been coughing up monthly charges for years.

High-pressure sales techniques can easily make it seem like accepting an “upgrade” to a packaged account is your best or only bet. Customers have been wrongly told that they needed one to get a mortgage or other financing agreement. Sometimes, people have been nudged into accepting packaged deals without understanding the technicalities or the costs involved. They might not have been told you needed to register a phone for it to be covered by the insurance, for example.

Worse still, people have been sold insurance packages that they could never claim on because of their age, medical history or other factors. Sometimes, a false promise that your new account would make other insurance easier to get made it sound like a must-have deal. All of these examples, however, are shady business and potential grounds for reclaiming your cash.

Another nasty trick is to hike up the price of a packaged account without letting the customers know. That’s not quite the same as wrongly selling the accounts in the first place, of course. Even so, it’s dodgy dealing and could mean you can get your fees back with 8% interest.

I was mis-sold a packaged bank account. What do I do?

If you realise you’ve been mis-sold an account, the first thing to do is plug the leak in your finances. Contact your bank and get yourself shifted over to a zero-fee account. Doing that won’t stop you from making your complaint about the mis-selling, but it will stop you losing even more cash in the meantime.

To make your claim you can write to your bank directly and there are a number of template letters available online that you can use to help you make your claim . Martin Lewis has also partnered with Resolver again to create a free claim submission form that you can fill out.

As for the claim itself, your bank may try fight you a bit. They might also try to fob you off with a relatively small change in your terms. If you were sold insurance you weren’t eligible for, for instance, they might just offer to fix it so you qualify. Remember, if you were mis-sold the insurance, you were paying for something you weren’t getting – potentially for years! You don’t have to let yourself get “bargained down” from what you’re owed.

When you make your complaint, you’ll need some basic information about your account and reason for claiming. Any important documents you’ve got, like statements that show the fees, keep those handy. You might find your complaint gets upheld relatively easily. If not, though, you’ll want to be equipped with as much paperwork as possible when you go to the Financial Ombudsman Service. Don’t worry, it’s free to do this if you need to – although it can take a long time.

What you’ll get back if your complaint’s upheld obviously depends on the account you were mis-sold. Some people have been paying £25 a month for years for a useless package they could never claim on. The longer you leave it before complaining, though, the more difficult it the process can be - so don’t put it off if you think you’ve been mis-sold!

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