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Banks appeal in charges test case

Battle between UK’s banks and the OFT continues

A fan of 20 pound notes

The OFT estimates that banks charge £2.5 billion in fees a year

The test case between the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) and the UK’s leading high street banks recommences today.

The Court of Appeal is hearing the banks’ challenge to the High Court’s decision in April that the OFT can assess the banks’ current terms and conditions for fairness, but that bank charges could not be counted as penalty charges.

The OFT announced the bank test case in July 2007 after hundreds of thousands of people began reclaiming the money they had been charged by banks.

Since the announcement, the Financial Services Authority (FSA) has imposed a waiver on bank charges claims, allowing banks to continue charging fees while claims against them are put on hold.

Difficult times

Which? chief executive, Peter Vicary-Smith, said: ‘It’s extremely disappointing that instead of looking for ways to make their customers’ lives easier during these difficult times, the banks are piling on the misery by continuing to hit them with unfairly high unauthorised overdraft fees.

‘The banks should be working with the OFT to establish what constitutes a fair overdraft charge and starting the process of refunding the customers they have been overcharging for years.’

Reclaim bank charges

The Office of Fair Trading estimates that each year, the UK’s banks take £2.5 billion from their customers in unauthorised overdraft charges. Anyone who has been charged an unauthorised overdraft fee since July 27 2001 can lodge a claim for their charges now. 

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