Can Banco Sabadell change the comms they charge?

Short answer: no, they can´t the way they have chosen to do it.

Long story: Banco Sabadell is in dire straits. The ratings given to its solvency by the four major credit rating agencies vary from bad to just one step away from junk bond, so they have decided to use the only strategy left for a sinking bank: to squeeze their clients out of their hard earned money.

I have seen many abuses to expats Sabadell clients in the past few years, but I suspect the worse is yet to come. I saw something similar when Caixa Catalunya was in a very difficult situation and the first thing they did was to charge their clients a €55 quarterly aintenace commision for their checking accounts. I hope I am wrong, but everything points to the contrary.

Back to the issue at hand, during these difficult times becasue of the COVID-19 pandemy, Banco Sabadell has started charging maintenance commisions to the small business for their checking accounts, and also comms for the transfers they send, even if they are internal transfers between accounts in the same branch. They have done it without observing the requirements of RDL 19/2018, which in its article 33 states that “El proveedor de servicios de pago deberá proponer cualquier modificación de las condiciones contractuales y de la información y las condiciones a las que se refiere el artículo 29 de manera clara, individualizada, sin acumularla a otra información o a publicidad, y en papel u otro soporte duradero, en la forma que se determine por el titular del Ministerio de Economía y Empresa, y con una antelación no inferior a dos meses respecto de la fecha en que entre en vigor la modificación propuesta“, which loosely translated means that the bank can propose changes to the conditions of the contract with two months notice prior to them being effective and that the communication must be in paper or another durable mean and clear, individualized and not accompanied by publicity or other information.

Sabadell has changed the comms overnight, without informing their clients beforehand and giving them the opportunity to express their opposition or to cancel the contract, which is the following provision of the same article, and arguing, in a couple of cases I know about, that the business no longer achieves the required turonver to qualify for the exemption of commisions. Of course it does not channels income to the accounts! Because it has been closed during the lockdown!

There is another abuse in the comms charged for the bank transfers: thay are adding an small topping under the concept “mail charges”, for €0.55, meaning a €4.50 cost for the transfers ends up being €5.05. Yes, it is small, but as manhy of us first learned in Superman 3 with the Richard Pryor´s scheme and then with High Frequency Trading, skimming can be a very, very profitable technique to accumulate hefty amounts of money.

Should you have been charged the new ammended maintenance commisions, bank transfers, charges to send money from your personal account to your husband´s or your busines in the same branch (they are charging €2.40), for mail expenses, etc. you can claim that money back. It may not seem a lot, but a very simple complaint letter that I can supply and an email to the Customer Service email or Sabadell´s Ombudsman can get that amounts to you and also prevent the bank from charging additional amounts to your account.

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