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Monday 21st of February 2011
May 23, 2008    

Banks appeal against unfair charges case

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by Kay Murchie

The outcome of the unfair bank charges case has been delayed as the eight major banks have appealed against Mr Justice Andrew Smith’s decision.

Last month’s ruling by Mr Justice Smith was a victory for the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), which has been seeking legal confirmation that it can rule if bank charges are fair or not.

Peter Vicary-Smith of Which?, the consumer group, attended yesterday’s meeting between OFT and the eight banks, at which, Mr Justice Andrew Smith, confirmed that he had agreed to the banks’ right to appeal. As a result, a decision could be delayed for over a year.

Mr Vicary-Smith said the banks‘ move is ‘a real kick in the teeth’ for consumers. It will be at least another 12 months before people start to get their money back. By that time, the banks will hit us with another £3.5 billion in overdraft charges, explained Mr Vicary-Smith.

Last month saw the eight banks, who include Abbey, Barclays, Clydesdale, Halifax Bank of Scotland, HSBC, Lloyds TSB, RBS NatWest and Nationwide Building Society, lose the first stage of the legal battle.

Yesterday’s meeting was to decide how the case should proceed. If the banks chose not to appeal, the OFT would have asked the judge to oversee a new case to determine whether or not the banks’ charges are indeed ‘unfair’ and in breach of the regulations.

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