High-street banks accused of will “rip-off”


Four of Britain's biggest banks have been criticised for the manner in which they offer will-writing services.

The banks in question- Barclays, HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds, were recently approached by the Office of Fair Trading and told to change the way they conduct will-writing business.

The OFT found faults with the way customers were not being made fully aware of the costs involved, and also of alternative options that are available.

The main issue is the subject of a professional executor. Many banks were offering the services of a professional executor, however using an executor is far from necessary, and can be very expensive. There are no laws requiring a professional executor but if you do use one it can cost up to £9,000.

The OFT has revealed that people who are unwittingly using an executor could in total be wasting £40 million each year.

OFT spokesman David Stallibrass said: “The wrong decision when appointing executors could mean a potentially expensive professional service is chosen, when a family member or friend may be quite capable of handling the task either alone or with professional support. We are pleased that each of the banks has agreed to review its selling practices and marketing literature to ensure customers are getting the information they need to make informed choices.”

The banks have now assured the OFT that they will let customers know that professional executors are not essential, or even common practice.