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Bank charges case enters third week

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by Kay Mitchell

The High Court test case into unfair bank charges is entering its third week. The eight banking institutions have argued that the ‘unauthorised’ overdrafts, to which the charges apply, are essential to personal banking.

The banking institutions involved are Abbey, Barclays, Clydesdale, HBOS, HSBC, Lloyds TSB, Nationwide Building Society and Royal Bank of Scotland. All banks declare that penalising customers up to £38 on overdrawn accounts is completely within their right.

In April 2006, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) ruled that the fees being charged by banks to their customers for items such as exceeding an overdraft limit or a bounced cheque (which in some cases were up to £40), were unfair and that although the banks were within their rights to charge, the amount should only be enough to cover administration costs.

The British Banking Association argued that the fees were justified so it was then down to the OFT to take the matter to court and obtain a firm ruling.

The OFT said that administration costs should cost no more than £30, as a consequence, thousands of customers have been claiming back the ‘unfair’ bank charges that they had paid.

The case commenced on January 17 and was originally meant to last around 8 days but it is looking likely that it will continue until mid February due to the degree of information that needs to be examined by the court.

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News posted: January 29, 2008

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