Illegal bank charges


June 27

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

Bernice Brandt-Wisniak

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  1. Bernice A very big thank you for bringing this important information to us all. I am with Sabadell and in April complained to them about their bank charges and at that time and up until todays article by you. I was not made aware by them about the Basic Account. I have put a formal complaint into them today requesting a refund of my March To June bank charges of 59 euros.I will also be going into the Branch on Monday to change my account to Basic. Best regards, Peter

    • Hi Peter,
      Just been reading your comments about bank charges at Sabadell, I have been paying 30 euros a year when they put the charges up to 40euros a year in December 2020, as soon as they started to take that amount they gave me 3 Months notice that they were going to start charging 50euros a year from march 2021. How do they justify these charges?.
      I don’t have internet banking, and have been trying to email them but no response , and haven’t been able to get over to Spain because of the travel restrictions,so not able to go into the bank,just wondered how you sorted it all out.
      Keith Fletcher

      • Keith please read my new post/moan at the bottom. I was paying 120 euros a year which was 30 euros a quarter and it will be 50 euros a quarter from March 2021. After being put through hell with the said bank I finally and hopefully closed my account today.
        Apply to on line banking via sabadell page and if you manage it ? use your mobile to do your transactions.
        Good luck and keep on at long as your IBAN/BIC and passport and mobile number are up to date you should get it…but it took me since October 2020…it depends who you speak to on the day !! and you DO NOT need to go into your Branch…I sent e mails many times and got replys (not able to help) but if you try everyday hopefully you will get there. E Mail on line banking team or ring them everyday.

  2. Dear Bernice
    I could not agree more with your comments, what I would add, is Like you we pay 140 euros per annum, but every two years we pay those ridiculous charges to the bank for proving something we are not, ie that we are ” NON Residents” this bumps the charges more than 200 + euros per annum.

    We pay this even though on the same page of our bank statement we pay “Renta Tax” this is only paid by Non Residents. When we eventually get into “The Basic Account” by law, the charge for checking we are non residents should go.

    Kind Regards
    Robert Wilson

    • Robert – You say “renta tax” is only payable by non-residents. It isn’t, it is ONLY paid by residents.

      Non- residents pay a different tax.

      If you are residents, then all you have to do is to go into the bank with your residents card (green card) and show them. They will ten convert your account to a resident one and stop charging you for the two-yearly non-residnet tax certificate

  3. Illegal bank charges.
    In March 28 twice went into the bank demanded we go into the basic Account was refused. But promised free banking until March 2020. In June charged €36.40 in charges highest ever paid. Complaints backward and forward no joy. Am now using an EU online disputes resolution “ODR” . Our case hopefully will go to an independent body so we can get fair and impartial treatment. Will kerp everyone posted.

    Robert Wilson

  4. Mervyn
    I am sorry to mislead, it’s my lazy way of naming the tax the full name is
    I’mpuesto sobre la Renta no residentes. It’s paid by non residents who own property in Spain.
    Even if you do not rent your property the government have said you derive benifit from having that property, and you have to pay an annual tax by law..
    You will be fined if you donot pay. If not now but when you sell the house.

  5. I have been charged 30 euros a quarter for years and as customer of Sabadell Bank from 2006 up to today !! I live in the UK now and although they send statements/service charges to my address I was not up to date with my details I was told 3 weeks ago..Passport and phone numbers were from 2006 but no one had informed me that they needed updating and .so the process had started in 2017 to close my account and transfer monies to my UK account…not possible so In in October 2020 I started the long performance (daily e mails and phone calls) trying to get on line banking via my laptop…impossible (until I spoke to Louis who was professional and spoke perfect English and I was accepted for on line banking within minutes (This was 5 days ago)and I thought this was going to be easy…wrong !! !! many more e.mails and phone calls daily. Then after reading trust pilot complaints it is best to use a smartphone !! (No one told me that) and the process was successful in 10 minutes.
    The new service charge will be 50 euros a quarter next month I think and this is for a service I did not receive !! My account is no more and never will be with Sabadell ever again.
    I hope this long complaint will help others….OLE


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