Bank Fees Class Action
Maurice Blackburn announced in May 2010 that it intended to sue
12 Australian banks for charging customers unfair fees. These fees
include honour and dishonour fees on bank accounts, as well as over
limit fees and late payment fees on credit cards.
Hundreds of thousands of Australians who were charged these
unfair fees by the banks have signed up online to be part of the
action to redeem their money plus interest - and it's not too late
Maurice Blackburn issued proceedings in the Federal Court of
Australia against the ANZ bank in September 2010 in the first of a
series of bank fee class actions for repayment of fees they have
charged their customers over the last six years.
On 16 December 2011, proceedings were issued against Citibank,
Commonwealth Bank, NAB and Westpac.
On 1 February 2012, proceedings were issued in respect of claims
George and BankSA.
On 18 April 2012, proceedings were issued against BankWest.
The four other banks against which proceedings are proposed
to be issued are Bank of Queensland, Bendigo Bank, HSBC, and
With claims estimated at over $200 million launched
against seven banks on behalf of around 160,000 customers,
this is by far the largest collective legal action in Australia. It
is not too late to join
the action against the banks, even though proceedings have
The claim against the ANZ, which will be a template for the
other actions, alleges that exception fees are fees incurred as a
result of a breach of contract by the customer which are more than
a reasonable pre-estimate of the actual cost to the bank of that
Such fees are lawfully recoverable if they constitute a penalty
charged by the bank - that is, if they are out of all proportion to
the true cost of any breach to the bank. Maurice Blackburn
estimates that the 12 banks have charged their customers in excess
of $5 billion dollars for late payment, dishonour fees and other
exception fees over the last six years.
The claim also alleges that the charging of the exception fees
was unconscionable, unfair and unjust.
On Monday 5 December 2011, the Federal Court of Australia found
in favour of ANZ account holders who were charged late credit card
fees. The judgment has been lauded by Andrew Watson, the lawyer
overseeing the class action, as a small step in the case but a
significant leap for Australian bank customers.
The Federal Court found in favour of the ANZ bank regarding four
other types of exception fees. Maurice Blackburn is appealing this
The class actions are funded by IMF (Australia) Ltd, on a 'no
win no charge' basis. This means that IMF covers all the legal
costs and only gets paid if the cases are successful. IMF also
agrees to meet the banks' costs if the cases are unsuccessful.
There is no cost to class action participants unless they
successfully recover money.
For more information about the bank fees class actions, go to
the secure website
http://www.financialredress.com.au/. Financial Redress is a
wholly owned subsidiary of IMF. Registration of your
interest can only be made on this website.
If you have further queries after visiting the
Financial Redress website you can telephone 1300 4
REDRESS (1300 473 373). It is a matter for you whether or
not you join these class actions. Although we consider the cases
have reasonable prospects of success, you should feel free to
obtain independent legal advice.
Maurice Blackburn is aware that scammers have been contacting
people and asking for payment and bank account details in order
supposedly to process refunds due from exception fees paid. Anyone
who receives a call asking for this type of information should be
wary. The calls appear to be designed to extract money or
information from people fraudulently. Neither Maurice Blackburn nor
Financial Redress ask anyone for such information over the phone,
nor demands such advance payments.
Owing to the number of bank customers participating in the
cases, please do not telephone our office as we will be unable to
deal with your enquiry. Please call 1300 4 REDRESS (1300 474
Watson talking about the first five banks in the class
Read our media statements:
Maurice Blackburn announces legal action against
Fraudsters not stopping thousands of bank
customers signing up for class action
ANZ first of the banks to face penalty fees class
ANZ class action still open; members reminded of
Federal Court blasts ANZ over abuse of process in
bank fees case
ANZ Bank fees class action steps up a gear
Court rules against bank's credit card fees
banks including the 'Big Four' in class action
big banks drawn into class action on unfair fees
communities stand up to unfair bank fees
customers take class action on unfair fees
victory in bank fees class action
Court victory for customers in bank fees class action
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