Customers subjected to bank charges that have now been deemed unfair by the Office of Fair Trading, will not be able to continue claiming them back until a test case has settled the issue in court, the OFT has said.
The OFT said that they would drop the High Court case against the eight major UK banks involved in the debacle, but no compromise could be reached between the banks and the OFT.
Consequentially, a test case is the only method of clearing up the controversy, clarifying the charges, and ensuring that banks comply with the decision that the charges the were implementing were disproportionate to the crime – exceeding overdrafts, bouncing direct debits and returned cheques.
The case is scheduled for early 2008, but, as Andy Baynes, head of current accounts at Alliance & Leicester said, the OFT has been reviewing bank charges for some time, and “If they don't have an idea now after looking at this for nine months, you have to wonder how long into next year is it going to take them to be definite?
“You could be looking at half-way through the year”, he said, before a decision is reached and customers can once again start reclaiming the money the lost to the charges as they have been doing so in droves over recent months.
Thus far, banks have paid back as much as £800 million in unfair bank charges, according to thisismoney.co.uk, and in total customers are owed a massive £4.7 billion, but now that the reclaiming process has been put on hold, these are charges that customers will have to wait to get back.
Learn more about unfair bank charges