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February 12, 2009

Courts backlog 65,000 claims on bank charges

by Gill Montia

Story link: Courts backlog 65,000 claims on bank charges

Figures extracted from the Ministry of Justice by the Legal Beagles campaign group have revealed that in November of last year, at least 65,000 people had claims for unauthorised bank overdraft charges frozen in the court system.

The High Court test case on the fairness of such charges is ongoing and last month, the Financial Services Authority extended the waiver that has allowed banks not to process customer complaints relating to bank charges.

The waiver, which was introduced in 2007 has also been applied to county court cases brought by individuals and businesses seeking justice over charges they consider unreasonable.

The extension will preserve the status quo until July of this year, when hopefully a final judgement will have been made in a test case brought by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

Legal Beagles’ spokesman, Julian Siddle, describes the waiver as very one-sided, because while people are still incurring charges, banks are allowed to put off dealing with new complaints.

The seven banks involved in the High Court case are currently appealing against an initial ruling by Mr Justice Andrew Smith that the OFT has the right to decide whether or not the charges are fair.

The ruling allowed the OFT to assess the banks’ terms and conditions for charging the fees under the 1999 Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations but lawyers representing the banks are arguing that the regulations are not intended as a method of price control.

 

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Related stories to: Courts backlog 65,000 claims on bank charges

County Court bank charge cases remain frozen  ...

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