Claims made that banks are misrepresenting overcharges judgement

| May 24, 2007
Claims made that banks are misrepresenting overcharges judgement

After a recent court ruling out of Birmingham said that the overdraft charges Lloyds TSB (LSE: LLOY) charged one man were justified, some individuals who are also seeking refunds of overdraft charges they feel are excessive are saying that their banks are using the decision to try to convince them not to pursue similar cases against their banks. Some of the banks said to have contacted those filing claims against them include Abbey (IBEX-35: SAN), HSBC (LSE: HSBA; NYSE: HBC; Euronext: HSBC; SEHK: 005), and Royal Bank of Scotland (LSE: RDSA, RDSB; NYSE: RDS.A; RDS.B).

In some cases, individuals claimed that the banks had told them that the Birmingham ruling was binding and that their cases would be dismissed if they didn’t settle for very low amounts. Some also said that the banks warned that if they continued their cases, the courts would assess them heavy fines for taking the court’s time. Both consumer group Which? and Consumer Action Group have told claimants that the Birmingham ruling does not constitute binding precedent and that they should pursue their cases if they wish. Which? lawyer Ingrid Gubbay called the tactic apparently being used by the banks aggressive and characterized it as unfair treatment.

An Abbey spokesman denied that it was acting improperly by bringing up the Birmingham ruling, calling it giving them “the full facts”. He said, however, that they did not interpret the ruling but left the customers to “draw their own conclusions”. HSBC said that it had not claimed that the Birmingham ruling was binding, but also said it was not acting unreasonably by pointing out that the judgment in that case had decided in favor of the bank. RBS said that it did not have a policy of quoting the judgment to customers.


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