Banks granted permission to appeal in charges case
by Gill Montia
Banks involved in the High Court test case brought by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) over charges for unauthorised overdrafts have been granted permission by the House of Lords to appeal against a judgement in the case.
Last year, Mr Justice Andrew Smith ruled that the OFT had the right to decide whether or not the charges were fair.
The watchdog had permission to do this by assessing the terms and conditions that allowed the banks to charge the fees under the 1999 Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations.
The banks challenged the ruling in the Appeal Court in March, but were unsuccessful.
However, the House of Lords yesterday granted the right to appeal, giving banks until 15th April to lodge their petition.
As a result thousands of bank customers who believe they have been unfairly treated may have to wait until 2010 or even 2011 for their complaints to be addressed.
Under a waiver granted by the Financial Services Authority in 2007, banks and county courts stopped processing the complaints.
The waiver has already been extended twice with the latest cut off date July of this year, when a final judgment in the High Court case had been expected.
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