Commenting on the FSA's announcement on Thursday that it has extended the waiver on reclaiming bank charges for another six months while the High Court test case is still ongoing, James Caldwell, director at Fairinvestment.co.uk
"The FSA waiver has now been in place for 18 months and consumers are still not much closer to knowing whether or not they will be able to get their money back.
"It is unfair that while the banks continue to implement the charges and profit from their customers in this way, the majority of consumers are being denied the chance to get money back that has unfairly been taken out of their bank account.
"The FSA put the waiver in place until the claiming process becomes more clear. As a result the Financial Ombudsman Service is currently putting all complaints it receives on hold. In the meantime, banks are still making millions of pounds from bank charges, as well as receiving billions of pounds of taxpayers' money to support their business operations.
"This in itself is unfair. The FSA's decision favours the banks and not the consumer, many of whom are struggling to make ends meet.
"But just because the FSA has continued to delay consumers the chance of a refund, doesn't mean that they cannot complain.
"It is also worth remembering that the refunds will only include the last six years of bank charges, so if you paid out a lot in charges six years ago, then its worth getting your claim in as soon as possible or your money will be lost, High Court case or not."
Brad Askew, managing director of Claims Financial, added:
"This latest move is yet another disappointing decision for consumers, who yet again have not been consulted at all. It is also very bad timing because many of our clients are already struggling due recent economic turmoil, which, ironically is due to the banks.
"I am confident that this will eventually be decided in favour of our clients but the delay is unjust because the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has already said they believe the charges are unfair, and a High Court Judge has given a judgment that the OFT can make such a ruling.
"It seems to me that the right thing in this case would be for every consumer in the country to get their refund and for the banks to stop these delaying tactics."
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