KBC Bank’s ‘intolerable’ lodgement delay buried in fine print

Pricewatch: Cadbury reduces sugar and value for money in new Dairy Milk

“I would not normally write to complain in such a public way but I have been very disappointed with some of the services of KBC Bank,” starts a mail from a reader called Fabian. He is specifically concerned about the length of time it takes for money to appear in his account when a cheque is lodged and the fact that cash lodgements are not allowed.

“When I was opening my account it was not made clear to me that KBC had no facility for cash lodgements and only transfers or cheques/drafts could be used,” he says. “When I lodged a cheque last week I found out it can take 10 working days – or two weeks – for a cheque to clear.”

He complained to KBC that this was an excessively long time "and if I was a person without means, a two-week waiting period would be intolerable. I also explained that I can go to Bank of Ireland today and use a lodgement machine and the money is in my account instantly."

He said the bank’s response was to point to a clause of the terms and conditions of their current account. “I thought such a technical response inadequate and fails to address this issue that I wasn’t aware when I opened the account and, like everyone else, I don’t read pages of fine print. I wondered if there is an obligation to make clear such significant service issues?”

He said he had decided to write to us as KBC accounts may be attractive to students or those with limited means who may not realise the limitations and clearly won’t find out unless they read the fine print.

We got in touch with KBC to see what it had to say but at the time of going to print we had yet to hear back from the bank.

Earlier this summer Cadbury launched a Dairy Milk chocolate bar with 30 per cent less sugar than the original in the UK with the bar going on sale in the Republic last month. The new formulation is the first change to the original recipe since it first went on sale in 1905 and was said to be in response to the UK government’s plan to reduce the sugar content of snacks and sweet treats by 20 per cent by 2020.

The Cadbury owner Mondelez International said that more than 20 scientists, nutritionists and chocolatiers had spent three years working on the revised formulation, which it describes as "the most significant innovation in the brand's history."

More fibre has been added to the bar to replace the reduced sugar content, and there are no artificial sweeteners used. The sugar content in the new bar is 39g per 100g, while in the original it is 56g per 100g. However the calorie content of the two bars is similar. The original has 534 calories per 100g while the new variation has 503 per 100g.

Anyway that is all by the way. This page is not called Pricewatch for nothing. A reader by the name of Paul was waiting with interest to for the arrival of the new bar to his local shop and he was keen to see how it would stack up in taste terms and how it would compare with the original when it came to sugar and calories.

He was not happy.

He says Irish shops have large bars of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk for sale at €1.50. These bars weigh 53g so the per kilogram price is just over €28. The 30 per cent less sugar bar meanwhile weighs 35g and we were charged €1.70 for it in our local Spar shop. That works out at more than €48 per kg.

“That is some difference,” he says.

We contacted the company and a spokesman said that in order to “create the new Cadbury Dairy Milk 30% Less Sugar, we have used new ingredients, technologies and manufacturing processes – all of which had to be taken into account when determining the price of the product. These lower sugar initiatives are part of a wider strategy we have been implementing for years, to provide people with more choice and information, to make informed decisions. Taste and quality remains our utmost priority and we always strive to ensure any innovation we make, does not compromise on the taste and quality that consumers expect from our products.”

He also pointed out that Cadbury plays no role in setting prices other than to suggest a recommended retail price which is €1.30.