I hold a personal account with Banco Sabadell; this is their basic Key Account Plus. This evening I logged on to the bank to find that my personal account has miraculously turned into a business account and even has a name designated by the bank. But there is method in their madness!
On March 26th, a new law was passed prohibiting banks from charging exorbitant account fees on basic accounts and these have now been capped at 3 euros a month. I have been paying 140 euros a year in bank charges and was considering moving my account to another bank but hesitated in the knowledge that these charges would now be illegal.
How has Banco Sabadell got round this new law? Simple! Just by converting personal accounts to business accounts so that the law cannot be applied and they can continue extorting 35 euros a quarter (as they have done 2 days ago from my hitherto personal account) from customers. It is such a blatant flouting of the law that it’s almost laughable – and insulting to imagine that clients won’t notice.
There are many non-resident expats who hold a Key Account Plus with Sabadell and I would urge them to check their accounts for any changes, which they should report immediately to their branch and demand reinstatement of their original accounts, a refund of any illegal charge and application of the new capped rate.
It is, of course, possible that they have disbanded this particular account as a personal account and converted it to a business account only so that they can justify their charges. In this event, I would urge customers to close their accounts and open a new one with one of the many Caixas that have a much fairer and less commercial charging policy.
PS: I have now spoken to Sabadell by phone and have more information about their machinations in respect of the new capped rate bank charges.
On the introduction of the new law three months ago, they instigated a new basic bank account with much reduced charges of 3 euros a month and elevated the Key Account Plus, previously their basic account that actually has no privileges apart from free transfers, which are offered anyway by most Spanish banks, to an undeserved superior status. They of course, failed to notify customers that they would now have a choice if they preferred to avoid high fees. Well, they would, wouldn’t they?
I would suggest that existing clients ask their branch to transfer their accounts to the new basic version and save themselves 104 euros a year. This is such a flagrant deception in bending the law opportunistically that it really should come to the attention of the Spanish and European Courts – the banks already have a lot to answer for and this certainly does nothing to inspire trust