Step forward in man's dyslexia battle with banks

A man with dyslexia, who launched a landmark legal battle to force banks to change the way they communicate with customers with the condition, last night spoke of his delight after reaching an out-of-court settlement with one of his opponents.

A man with dyslexia, who launched a landmark legal battle to force banks to change the way they communicate with customers with the condition, last night spoke of his delight after reaching an out-of-court settlement with one of his opponents.

Robert Neil, 43, had claimed that Barclays and the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) were in breach of discrimination laws by failing to take into account his difficulties in understanding the written word and figures.

He was due to come face-to-face with Barclays at court in Norwich yesterday, but the case was cancelled following an agreement between both parties at the end of last week.

However, he is still gearing up for a courtroom battle with the RBS and fears he could lose tens of thousands of pounds, and his home, if he is defeated.

Mr Neil said he was unable to divulge the amount of money he received from Barclays, but revealed he had been granted a meeting with a bank manager to discuss their future relationship.

Mr Neil, of Green Lane, Bradwell, near Yarmouth, said: “I see it as a victory because now they are listening. I want them to do what the law says they must do.

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“I just wanted the old-fashioned style of bank manager, who could go through what I needed and what the bank could offer. This should happen across the board for people with learning difficulties.”

Mr Neil claimed he had been hit by thousands of pounds in bank charges and left with a bad credit rating because he did not understand written statements and inadvertently became overdrawn. He said he repeatedly explained his predicament to the banks, but that they failed to allocate someone to him who understood his condition.

He added: “When I heard about the settlement, I just said 'thank God for that'. I just want to get on with my life. The interesting thing is what's going to change and what they are going to do to help.”

Married father-of-five Mr Neil is also using the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 to take legal action against the RBS, which owns Natwest, claiming he was wrongly granted a loan of £20,100 because he did not understand the interest rate.

This case has yet to be heard in court and former property developer Mr Neil, who is out of work, insisted he was not trying to get out of repaying the loan, but wanted a judge to rule he did not have to pay the interest.

A spokesman for Barclays said: “While we will not discuss the details of individual cases, Barclays always strives to meet the needs of its customers and we are glad we are able to further address any of their concerns.”

A spokesman for the RBS said no comment could be made because legal proceedings were still active.

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