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Bank charges battle: 'The door is still open'

26 November 2009 / by Andy Davies

The 'door is still open' for bank charge claimers, Moneysavingexpert.com's Martin Lewis has claimed, despite the fact that the banks won the test case appeal in the Supreme Court yesterday.

Following the ongoing two year legal battle between the banks and the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), which it had been hoped would enable the OFT to use fairness rules to govern unauthorised overdraft charges, consumers affected by the bank charges are left wondering what to do next.

Commenting, Martin Lewis, claims that there are still arguments to show detriment to the consumer, which he believes the OFT will also be considering, but stated that legally formulating these arguments will take time.   

"Our current provisional view is there are potential  arguments to show detriment to the consumer, though formulating those legally is going to take time and work.... but the door is still open," he said.

"The initial shock reaction in the court covered what was a key element of the judge's final statement that 'the OFT may be able to look at fairness by another route'.

"The fact this was deemed important enough to be said in his very short verbal statement is of great significance. After analysis of the report it reveals the court's coded message to the OFT was 'you can't take the case on this legal basis, but there maybe other avenues under clause 5 that you could try'," he adds.

In the wake of yesterdays decision, the OFT said it was "disappointed" with the court's judgment and would investigate the implications the ruling will have for consumers, before adding that it will also seek to have 'discussions with banks, consumer organisations, the FSA and the Government'.

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