The bank we use for our business banking charged us US$1,300 recently. We incurred the charge by mistakenly initiating two identical transfers on online banking between accounts which have two different currencies (GBP and USD). We initiated a second transfer half an hour after the first one because the transfer did not show up in pending transfers (the bank later told us that we can see actions on the site by going to an area of the site which is hidden away). The bank then sat on the second transfer for 10 days and then transferred the money back because there were not enough funds after the first transfer and charged us what it calls an FX loss – the currency moved 4.5% in 10 days!

I am preparing to take the bank to the Financial Ombudsman. I think it's not reasonable that the bank sat on the transfer for 10 days and did not contact us to advise us that there were not enough funds to make a second transfer. I also think it's unreasonable that the bank did not display the first transfer in pending transfers or anywhere else clearly enough. However the bank claims that it can charge us this fee because the contract says that we will incur costs for FX transfers that fail for any reason.

I would be grateful if you can advise if in UK law any business banking contracts can be deemed to be unlawful. Thank you.

  • Contracts don't need to be fair to be lawful. – Greendrake Jul 7 at 16:26
  • Thanks for the comment! As I understand, in the UK consumer contracts can be unfair and therefore cannot be enforced: gov.uk/government/publications/unfair-contract-terms-cma37 – James Carpenter Jul 7 at 16:32
  • Yes, but this isn't a consumer contract. Terms in B2B contracts may be held to be unlawful but it's a much higher barrier. – richardb Jul 7 at 17:01
  • Thanks! I know consumers have much wider protections in UK law and businesses are a different case all-together. So yes, I am looking for guidance on business contracts. :) When you say, "B2B contracts may be held to be unlawful but it's a much higher barrier",where can I find out more about these barriers/tests? If you're aware of any guidance, I'd appreciate it! – James Carpenter Jul 7 at 20:14
  • You might find this useful: research.birmingham.ac.uk/portal/files/47356695/…. Not sure if there are other criteria for "unfair" B2B contracts in the UK. – Paul Johnson Jul 7 at 20:58

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