Late on Friday the High Court delivered an interlocutory judgement in the bank fees class action against ANZ Bank.
In a win for ANZ customers, the Court has given the opportunity for thousands more ANZ/National Bank claimants to sign up to the case. Previously no guarantee could be given that those customers who had signed up after the court documents were lodged in June 2013 would be able to be included in the case. The Court has also imposed a deadline of 13 December 2013 on any other ANZ/National Bank customers seeking to sign up for the case.
Fair Play on Fees lawyer Andrew Hooker says the ruling is a great outcome for everyone. “We are very happy for those ANZ/National Bank customers who came to us wanting to join the campaign after the court documents were lodged. We have over 1,000 clients in this situation. It is important that everyone who wants to take part in the action gets the opportunity to do so.
“We expect that there are literally tens or even hundreds of thousands of Kiwis out there who are still eligible to join this case. We will be doing what we can over the next 7 weeks to ensure that as many people as possible know about their legal rights to join the case”.
In another positive development for the claimants, the High Court has given the proceeding the green light to proceed in its current form. ANZ had sought to break the group into six sub-groups covering the different default fees but the Court declined its request, holding that the representative plaintiffs were sufficiently “representative” for the matter to move forward as originally formulated.
Mr Hooker said “The reason that an unarranged overdraft fee on a deposit account is unfair is the same reason that a credit card late payment fee is unfair – these fees are set far above what it actually costs the bank to manage the default that arises. This important question that the court will rule on is very much the same question across all the different accounts and fees.”
The next administrative hearing is expected to take place on 28 November 2013.
Fair Play on Fees now has 14,700 clients signed up from ANZ/National Bank. The case alleges that the following default fees charged by the bank over the past few years are unenforceable penalties which should be returned to participating claimants:
- Unarranged overdraft fees;
- Dishonour fees;
- Credit card late payment fees;
- Credit card over limit fees.
A court date for trial proceedings is expected to be set early next year.