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Decision on unfair bank charges is just around the corner

03 January 2008 / by None
Bank customers who wish to claim back the charges which the Office of Fair Trading has deemed unlawful will not have to wait much longer to find out whether or not they will be able to.

Almost two years after the OFT declared that the charges are unlawful, a court case will finally commence on January 14 which will determine the legality of bank charges made for such things as exceeding overdraft limits, bouncing cheques and having insufficient funds for direct debits.

Customers have already claimed back more than £800 million pounds, but this process has been suspended until an official decision has settled the issue. It is thought that if the courts find banks to have been acting unlawfully by implementing these charges, the amount owed to customers could be as much as £4.7 billion.

A decision in court will not only determine once and for all whether the banks should refund their customers and only charge administration costs, but will also clarify the charges, set a precedent, and see that the banks act lawfully.

Before legal proceedings were embarked upon, the OFT gave the major banks an opportunity to meet in the middle, to establish some ground rules regarding the charges and avoid taking the controversy to court, but the banks stood firmly by their convictions that the charges are legal and fair.

Last year, when it was announced that the case will go to court, British Bankers' Association chief executive, Angela Knight, said: "The banks have always been firmly of the view that the fees they charge customers are fair and clear. The court case will clarify these points and provide certainty for customers and banks alike."

Learn more about Reclaiming Bank Charges

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