Fraudsters not stopping thousands of bank customers signing up for class action

7 July 2010
Australians who wish to join the class action on bank fees can do so securely online and on the telephone, class action law firm Maurice Blackburn said today.

Following a statement released today by the Australian Bankers' Association (ABA) warning of fraudsters telephoning bank customers and claiming they are entitled to exception fee refunds as part of the proposed fees class action against banks, Maurice Blackburn reiterated that the safest way to be part of the class action was to visit www.financialredress.com.au or telephone 1300 473  373.

"If people want to join our class action they can safely join 143,000 people who have done so already. The personal information required is kept to a minimum," said Andrew Watson, Maurice Blackburn principal. 

Registrations for the bank fees class action on banks' exception fees* are running at around 250 a day and 143,000 account holders are fully registered in respect of 183,500 bank accounts. 

"Too many Australians have already been ripped off by banks and the last thing we want is for them to be ripped off a second time by fraudsters. The ABA has helpfully reminded people that we are still accepting registrations and the correct way to do this is via the website www.financialredress.com.au."

A warning of this scam was posted on the Financial Redress website since May 31. On June 1, IMF referred to it in an email to all clients.

Financial Redress, a subsidiary of litigation funder IMF, together with Maurice Blackburn Lawyers launched the proposed class action in May.

The first statement of claim is expected to be filed in around six weeks. This is despite the failure of several banks to comply either in a timely manner, or at all, with Maurice Blackburn's request to hand over historical contractual documentation in accordance with the Corporations Act 2001.

The banks who are proposed to be defendants in the class actions are ANZ, Bank of Qld, Bank of SA, BankWest, Bendigo Bank, CitiBank, Commonwealth Bank, HSBC, National Australia Bank, St George, Suncorp and Westpac.

The class actions will allege that charging such exception fees is illegal because these fees penalise the customer for breaching a term of the contract (eg. going overdrawn or paying late) when by law, parties to a contract can only recover their actual costs of a breach. Because the amounts charged are so inflated they are arguably illegal and customers are entitled to a refund.  

Maurice Blackburn advises people wanting to sign up to only do so through the proper avenues and to ignore any phone calls or approaches from other people. 

More information is available by calling 1300 473373 or email info@financialredress.com.au

www.financialredress.com.au

*exception fees are; late payment fees on credit cards, dishonoured cheques, going over credit limits, late loan payments.They do not include ATM fees monthly account fees. For full details and 'frequently asked questions' go to the financial redress website.

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