OFT test case on unauthorised bank charges delayed

16 January 2008 / by Rachel Mason
The Office of Fair Trading's test case on unauthorised default charges has been delayed.

The case, which sees the OFT take on Abbey, Barclays, Clydesdale, HSBC, HBOS, Lloyds TSB, Royal Bank of Scotland and Nationwide over the legality of fees charged to customers for things like exceeding agreed overdraft limits, was due to begin today (January 16th) at the International Dispute Resolution Centre.

But due to the Judge's 'prior commitments running over', the case has been postponed.

In a statement, the OFT said: "It is hoped that the case will start before the end of the week."

There is currently a freeze on reclaiming bank charges until there is a lawful judgment on the issue, however, those in "genuine financial hardship" will still be considered by banks for a refund on their bank charges, and consumer groups are still urging customers to continue to send their claims in for a potentially swifter refund if the court rules that the charges are indeed unfair and unlawful.

Once the test case does commence, it is expected to go on for several months, and if the OFT wins, it is possible that the banks will appeal, which could add a further 12 months to the process.

© Fair Investment Company Ltd