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Old 22.01.2013, 12:30
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Raiffeisen fees for non-Swiss citizens 240CHF Grundgebühr

I just received my latest bank statement and there was the usual annual fee of 30CHF (Jahresgebühr für Maestro Karte) and a new fee of 240CHF called Grundgebühr.

Raiffeisen did not send me a letter to warn me about this new fee - they just took it out of my account - they apparently only had to publish information about changed to fees on their website (which I never needed to visit because I simply waited for my bank statements to arrive in the mail) and in the banks themselves (which of course I never visited because I don't live in Switzerland).

I called them to argue about it saying that they should let their international customers know about these new fees by mail at least and that I want the 240CHF back and I'll just withdraw my money and close the account. But, of course, they don't want to give me the 240CHF back.

I know there must be lots of us who got caught out by this new fee and I would like to hear from you so we can approach the Ombudsman in Switzerland with a query about whether Raiffeisen should have informed us all my mail to give us the option to close our accounts before apply the new 240CHF fee.

If this has happened to you, please reply to me here!

Cheers
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Old 22.01.2013, 12:46
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Re: Raiffeisen fees for non-Swiss citizens 240CHF Grundgebühr

Ahhh,

yes,

well,

welcome to the forum....

Good luck with the bank account issue...

And don't forget. A little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing...
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Old 22.01.2013, 12:51
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Re: Raiffeisen fees for non-Swiss citizens 240CHF Grundgebühr

when you say "non-Swiss", you mean "non-resident"?

Big difference in my opinion. And the charges are in line with most other banks.
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Old 22.01.2013, 12:52
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Re: Raiffeisen fees for non-Swiss citizens 240CHF Grundgebühr

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I just received my latest bank statement and there was the usual annual fee of 30CHF (Jahresgebühr für Maestro Karte) and a new fee of 240CHF called Grundgebühr.

Raiffeisen did not send me a letter to warn me about this new fee - they just took it out of my account - they apparently only had to publish information about changed to fees on their website (which I never needed to visit because I simply waited for my bank statements to arrive in the mail) and in the banks themselves (which of course I never visited because I don't live in Switzerland).

I called them to argue about it saying that they should let their international customers know about these new fees by mail at least and that I want the 240CHF back and I'll just withdraw my money and close the account. But, of course, they don't want to give me the 240CHF back.

I know there must be lots of us who got caught out by this new fee and I would like to hear from you so we can approach the Ombudsman in Switzerland with a query about whether Raiffeisen should have informed us all my mail to give us the option to close our accounts before apply the new 240CHF fee.

If this has happened to you, please reply to me here!

Cheers
Are you sure the fee is for non citizens or non-residents? (like you)
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Old 22.01.2013, 12:58
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Re: Raiffeisen fees for non-Swiss citizens 240CHF Grundgebühr

This fee would push my bank account overdrawn!
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Old 22.01.2013, 22:54
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Re: Raiffeisen fees for non-Swiss citizens 240CHF Grundgebühr

Okay, it will be for non-residents but I wouldn't put it past the Swiss to tax non-Swiss either Lol

And actually, I was told that the fees vary from branch to branch even within Raiffeisen, but I haven't checked this out for sure yet. It's what one of the consultants said to try to discourage me from seeking help from a friend's friend who works at another Raiffeisen branch.

The problem I have is that for the last 5 or 6 years, the fee was 30 CHF per year, which in my opinion was high enough considering my particular case where I never made even one transaction for the whole period because I was simply trying to save the money there - a small sum in their opinion as if I had had over 5000 CHF, apparently the 240 CHF fee wouldn't apply - so they are just hitting the small customers.

The legal loophole I feel they have used is that they only needed to publish this information on their website and in bank premises, but as an international customer who relies on paper mail bank statements, and preferably written in English, they have done nothing to inform me of the new fee but are just legally stealing the money from the customers who are least likely to be able to fight back.

While 240 CHF is not a prohibitively large sum as a one-off payment for an individual who is likely to leave the bank after the bad experience, if you add all of the people together who were likely involved in this scam, the amount would add up to thousands of Francs that Raiffeisen is happily sitting on since the introduction of the fee.

I told them if the fee had gone from 30 CHF to 40 CHF per year and I wasn't notified, I probably would have accepted it, but I really do feel that there is no way the administration costs of sending me a piece of paper once or twice a year can justify them hiking the fee up from 30 CHF to 240 CHF overnight, and without telling me in writing!

I have yet to find out what other banks charge and whether they all colluded together to raise this particular fee at the same time.

Are any of you with other Swiss banks and know what their fees are?

And if you are with Raiffeisen and had to pay this 240 CHF fee, I'd love to hear from you!
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Old 23.01.2013, 05:11
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Re: Raiffeisen fees for non-Swiss citizens 240CHF Grundgebühr

This sort of fee has become common place since the US FATCA and similar laws have started to impact the swiss banks. The response has been that anyone who is non resident is considered a risk and the fees are simply a way of recouping some of the costs. Think yourself lucjüky they didnt demand closure of the account which would be the case if you were US citizen.

What is more interesting is why you would bother to try to save money using a swiss account since even 30CHF would exceed the income on the balance you described. Better to put the money in an aussie term deposit at least rhe interest rate is much more attractive.

In terms of writing out to notify on fee changes dont know if there is a legal requirement but as an educated customer anyone who relies on a statement once a year is being negligent. If you were to access the account a few times a year it makes much more sense and the chances are that the fees would be disclosed during logon process. They certainly are not obliged to write to you in english as german, french or italian are the go here.

The main reason for this fee is non resident status and there are not many banks here that dont charge a similiar amounts. The fee would by most account holders be considered minor as the balances are usually 50K and plus. We certainly have paid a similar fee on australian accounts even as a resident years ago.
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Old 23.01.2013, 07:18
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Re: Raiffeisen fees for non-Swiss citizens 240CHF Grundgebühr

Raiffeisen isn't one bank so fees might vary from location to location.

Also you must consider that they don't want the overhead of a non-resident account if possible - I'm sure there are costs involved in ensuring compliance (especially tax) and thus I am sure that there are processes executed with your account included that costs RB money.

Stop being the victim, it's simply not true that they're "ripping you off" or something. Take your money out and avoid the fee.
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Old 23.01.2013, 11:57
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Re: Raiffeisen fees for non-Swiss citizens 240CHF Grundgebühr

The reason I had a Swiss bank account in the first place was because I lived and worked there for a year. I only kept it open because I thought I might have the chance to go back and use the francs in their original currency so I left a small sum there for a future visit.
It was counter productive because the 30 CHF fee each year exceeded any interest they paid but I wasn't too worried about that amount.

This year I am hoping to go back to Europe so I probably would have used what money was there and closed the account, except the 240 CHF was taken out first and as my account has been pretty much dormant for the last 5 years, except for the fee they took out each year, I was rather shocked that they didn't let me know there would be such a ridiculously high fee introduced because I would have happily closed the account to avoid wasting my money. 30 CHF a year was bearable, and that was the only reason I kept the account open in the first place. If they wanted non-residents to close their accounts, they should make it compulsory when we leave the country or stipulate that we have a minimum sum, like 10,000 CHF if that's what they need to afford for people to have an account. Not let things go so the people who don't have the money lose what little they have.

I still can't see how they can justify charging my account 240 CHF + the usual 30 CHF I might add, when it was effectively dormant for the last 5 years. And what administration are they doing exactly if they can't even send a simple letter to a customer to warn them about a new fee when the amount is that much higher?

Not going to shut up about it. Sorry.
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Old 23.01.2013, 12:08
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They are not hitting small customers, its just a waste of time for them to hold accounts worth 5k. TBH I am surprises the threshold is so low . UBS were never interested in non resident accounts below 100k
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Old 23.01.2013, 12:16
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Re: Raiffeisen fees for non-Swiss citizens 240CHF Grundgebühr

Quote:
16. Änderungen der Allgemeinen Geschäftsbedingungen (AGB)
Die Bank behält sich jederzeitige Änderungen der Allgemeinen Geschäftsbedingungen vor. Diese werden dem Kunden schriftlich oder auf andere
geeignete Weise bekannt gegeben und gelten ohne Widerspruch innert
30 Tagen als genehmigt
(my emboldening)

SOURCE: http://www.raiffeisen.ch/raiffeisen/internet/rb0027.nsf/$UNID/A0D9898052367CF9C1256E8C0029C9D4/$file/Basisreglement.pdf

Exactly as I suspected - somewhere in the terms and conditions it has been altered so that Raiffeisen can notify changes by the internet. If you didn't object to this change, or you signed to the above AGB in the first place, you haven't got a legal leg to stand on.

According to the AGB, it's your responsibility to keep an eye on the website for contractual changes. You might not like it or think it's fair, but you agreed to it (if only tacitly).
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Old 23.01.2013, 12:52
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Re: Raiffeisen fees for non-Swiss citizens 240CHF Grundgebühr

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The reason I had a Swiss bank account in the first place was because I lived and worked there for a year. I only kept it open because I thought I might have the chance to go back and use the francs in their original currency so I left a small sum there for a future visit.
It was counter productive because the 30 CHF fee each year exceeded any interest they paid but I wasn't too worried about that amount.

This year I am hoping to go back to Europe so I probably would have used what money was there and closed the account, except the 240 CHF was taken out first and as my account has been pretty much dormant for the last 5 years, except for the fee they took out each year, I was rather shocked that they didn't let me know there would be such a ridiculously high fee introduced because I would have happily closed the account to avoid wasting my money. 30 CHF a year was bearable, and that was the only reason I kept the account open in the first place. If they wanted non-residents to close their accounts, they should make it compulsory when we leave the country or stipulate that we have a minimum sum, like 10,000 CHF if that's what they need to afford for people to have an account. Not let things go so the people who don't have the money lose what little they have.

I still can't see how they can justify charging my account 240 CHF + the usual 30 CHF I might add, when it was effectively dormant for the last 5 years. And what administration are they doing exactly if they can't even send a simple letter to a customer to warn them about a new fee when the amount is that much higher?

Not going to shut up about it. Sorry.
I had a similar experience in Australia. After my first time living/working in their, I left my account open, as expected to return with some small amount in it. My post was sent to a friend's address. Luckily for me, they advised some law change & extra costs so closed it. My return trip to Australia was much longer than I had originally anticipated.
BTW, Banks dont particular like Dormant Accounts, with the exception of 100K or the like.
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Old 23.01.2013, 15:21
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Re: Raiffeisen fees for non-Swiss citizens 240CHF Grundgebühr

I get the whole thing about banks wanting over 100K in order for them to be even interested in letting you keep an account. Fine. They should make it compulsory to close the account when you leave the country if you cannot show you plan to return within a given time frame.

I was also informed that they are covered by a law stating they only have to publish changes to fees on their websites - still no reason to slug a dormant account without at least posting a letter. If they had written to me asking if I wanted to close my account because I hadn't used it and they were about to introduce fees, I would have happily closed it to help them reduce their administration. I just expected my money was safe while it was in the bank...

And your experience with the Australian bank, you said they advised you of the changes - did they write you a letter or phone you? At least they did that! Not Raiffeisen. They wanted my money first.

Now I am asking them to provide me with a justification for the 240 CHF fee. Show me how my dormant account cost you that much in administration costs.
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Old 23.01.2013, 15:49
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Re: Raiffeisen fees for non-Swiss citizens 240CHF Grundgebühr

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I was also informed that they are covered by a law stating they only have to publish changes to fees on their websites
That's really bad. Do you have any info on that law? I was sure they had to write to say the fees had changed; I never look at websites checking for changes to my bank account.
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Old 23.01.2013, 16:22
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Re: Raiffeisen fees for non-Swiss citizens 240CHF Grundgebühr

quark (above) just printed an extract from a Raiffeisen contract:

16. Änderungen der Allgemeinen Geschäftsbedingungen (AGB)
Die Bank behält sich jederzeitige Änderungen der Allgemeinen Geschäftsbedingungen vor. Diese werden dem Kunden schriftlich oder auf andere
geeignete Weise bekannt gegeben und gelten ohne Widerspruch innert
30 Tagen als genehmigt

which says they should inform you in writing or make it known some other way, which I guess they would say is on their website. But if you ask me, publishing it on the website is not the same as telling me in writing because it wasn't directly addressed to me and they have no evidence that the information was 'made known' to me. It's a legal loophole.
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Old 23.01.2013, 17:44
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Re: Raiffeisen fees for non-Swiss citizens 240CHF Grundgebühr

You may find the following article interesting:
http://www.tagesanzeiger.ch/wirtscha...story/17470916
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Old 23.01.2013, 19:24
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Re: Raiffeisen fees for non-Swiss citizens 240CHF Grundgebühr

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I still can't see how they can justify charging my account 240 CHF + the usual 30 CHF I might add, when it was effectively dormant for the last 5 years. And what administration are they doing exactly if they can't even send a simple letter to a customer to warn them about a new fee when the amount is that much higher?

Not going to shut up about it. Sorry.
The 30CHF is only a card fee so effectively they have not been charging you any acccount fees for a few years. So now when they introduce fees higher account fees for non resident accounts you get upset, understandable.

However the majority of banks here are doing this and if you pay attention to the international finance news this is the banking industry response to an overtly interfering US government. Even the post bank has announced fees pf 10CHF a month for non residents. What is happening the banks are fed up with the compliance costs of the laws from certain countries and have decided the easiest solution is not to have such customers.

You can make all the noise you want but at the end of the day you have a dormant account as a non resident so you will most likely be ignored.

Best advice is move on and stop whinging about it.
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Old 23.01.2013, 21:17
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Re: Raiffeisen fees for non-Swiss citizens 240CHF Grundgebühr

Agree. They are not interested in having your business anymore. CHF 240 got your attention, so hopefully you will close your account. I wouldn't waste any more time on it. It's not nice what they did so get your money now before you are out of CHF 480.
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Old 24.01.2013, 11:24
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Re: Raiffeisen fees for non-Swiss citizens 240CHF Grundgebühr

Thanks Quark, for the link to that article. Very interesting indeed if I understood it correctly.

Do you think I should contact the Schweizerische Bankenombudsman to enquire about whether the banks' fine print in their contracts is in breach of consumer rights?

I'm sure there is an old fashioned law somewhere stating that banks need to inform their customers in writing of fee changes and in fact the banks who are getting away with not informing customers like that are in breach of that law. I just have to find where that law is written... That's where the Ombudsman comes in, right?
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Old 24.01.2013, 11:39
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Re: Raiffeisen fees for non-Swiss citizens 240CHF Grundgebühr

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Thanks Quark, for the link to that article. Very interesting indeed if I understood it correctly.

Do you think I should contact the Schweizerische Bankenombudsman to enquire about whether the banks' fine print in their contracts is in breach of consumer rights?

I'm sure there is an old fashioned law somewhere stating that banks need to inform their customers in writing of fee changes and in fact the banks who are getting away with not informing customers like that are in breach of that law. I just have to find where that law is written... That's where the Ombudsman comes in, right?
Don't be so sure there is an old fashioned law somewhere for this that or the other!

Sad that you have run into this problem and are trying to find a way out of it. Look at the facts:
  • You live on another continent.
  • You apparently want to have a Swiss bank account.
  • Costs to keep you informed (usual snail mail, etc.) are not going to be paid by any bank.
  • The banks are not going to bend over backwards to keep an account - like many years ago.
  • Banks CAN and DO change their policies.
As previously mentioned, you have two choices:
  1. Keep the account and pay for the services, or
  2. Close the account, withdrawal your funds and move on.
In my opinion, consulting a Bankenombudsman is a dead end. You are on the short end of the stick here. Without detailed knowledge, I would pretty much put my money on the fact that the bank did cover at least the minimum to inform you in order to keep any such customers like yourself and the Bankenombudsman out of their hair.
JC
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