More big banks drawn into class action on unfair fees
1 February 2012
Media contact - Cameron Scott
Everyday Australians have ramped up the fight against unfair bank fees with over 10,500 more people today joining Australia's biggest series of class actions, after Maurice Blackburn Lawyers filed a further claim this morning in the Federal Court against Westpac subsidiaries St George Bank and Bank SA.
Maurice Blackburn Senior Associate Paul Gillett says the inclusion of St George Bank and Bank SA adds another 10,500 customers and an estimated $16 million in claims to the other class actions against ANZ, CBA, Westpac, Citibank and NAB, taking the claim to well over $200 million.
"These class actions against unfair bank charges are the largest in Australia's history - $216 million for fees charged against 160,500 customers from seven banks - and there's every chance it will continue growing," Mr Gillett said.
"There are families and businesses in every corner of the country that have had enough of unfair bank fees and Maurice Blackburn wants to help them get their money back.
"Australians are sick of the banks throwing their weight around, taking them for granted and charging outrageous fees, whilst happily reaping record profits. This is a chance for people everywhere to fight back."
Kensington mother of two, and former Sydney small retail business owner Lauren Vella, says the exception fees she's been charged by St George have placed huge pressures on her family and her business, which she had to sell at a loss.
"The unfair fees we were continually forced to pay put a huge amount of pressure on us and I'm extremely concerned that if nothing is done to stop them, we might have to sell our house that we've worked hard to buy as a legacy for our two young sons," Ms Vella said.
"The banks don't seem to care or want to help and they don't realise how badly this can affect families like us who are just after a fair go at trying to create a better life.
"If I can't leave a legacy for my kids with a house, I can leave a legacy that I helped change the banking system and made it fairer for them as they grow up."