Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 


“Fair Play on Fees” Launches Class Action Against Banks

11 March 2013


“Fair Play on Fees” Launches Class Action Against Banks


Three firms have today launched a call for New Zealanders to sign up to participate in class actions which will claim back excessive bank default fees.

The litigation will be the largest class action in New Zealand’s history, with banks unfairly charging around one billion dollars in fees over the past six years. More than a million New Zealanders are eligible to join.

The legal action is being led by New Zealand lawyer Andrew Hooker, Australian class action experts Slater & Gordon and litigation funder Litigation Lending Services (NZ).

Fair Play on Fees Lawyer Andrew Hooker says banks have been overcharging Kiwi customers on default fees for years.

“Customers are charged an average of $15 every time they overdraw their accounts, pay their credit card late or bounce a cheque when the cost to the bank is actually just a few cents,” he says. “These fees are excessive and add up to around one billion dollars over the past six years. It’s time Kiwis fought back.”

Hooker explains that the case will be based on a principle of contract law which places a limit on the amount a customer can be charged if they default on an obligation. If a default fee is higher than what it costs the other party then it is an unenforceable penalty.

“We understand that a bank is a business and they have to charge fees. But these fees also have to be fair and lawful. That is what this class action is about.”

Hooker says banks have been ignoring the principal of contract law for years and customers have been helpless to fight them. “Banks are in the privileged position of having access to customers’ funds and can just extract these fees from customers without much of a right of reply. They have also relied on individuals not making the effort to take the banks to court. A class action is the only way banks can be held accountable and prevented from charging excessive fees now and into the future.”

The litigation will be structured so that claimants have no upfront costs and nothing to lose. “The entire litigation process is funded by Litigation Lending Services (NZ) so all legal fees will be rendered on a no win, no fee basis.”

New Zealanders can join the action against unfair bank fees by registering at www.fairplayonfees.co.nz.

ENDS


About Andrew Hooker

Andrew is an Auckland based lawyer specialising in civil litigation. He has more than 20 years’ experience in litigation. His current practice largely involves representing customers against their insurance companies.


About Slater & Gordon

Slater & Gordon is Australia’s largest consumer law firm. For 75 years, Slaters have been standing up for the rights of ordinary working people, not big companies. Slater & Gordon have been pioneers in Australian class actions over the past 25 years. They will be lending their expertise in tough, large-scale litigation to this case as legal advisors.


About Litigation Lending Services (NZ)

Litigation Lending Services (NZ) Limited is a litigation funding firm which will provide financial support to the case. Its parent company, Litigation Lending Services Limited, has been operating for over 13 years in both Australia and New Zealand. Having established itself funding general commercial claims, the company has expanded over the past five years and has also funded a number of successful class actions.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Scoop Business: NZ Dollar Falls To 3-Year Low As Investors Favour Greenback

The New Zealand dollar fell to its lowest in more than three years as investors sold euro and bought US dollars, weakening other currencies against the greenback. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: NZ Govt Operating Deficit Smaller Than Expected

The New Zealand’s government’s operating deficit was smaller than expected in the first five months of the financial year as a clampdown on expenditure managed to offset a shortfall in the tax-take from last month’s forecast. More>>

ALSO:

0.8 Percent Annually:
NZ Inflation Falls Below RBNZ's Target

New Zealand's annual pace of inflation slowed to below the Reserve Bank's target band in the final three months of the year, giving governor Graeme Wheeler more room to keep the benchmark interest rate lower for longer.More>>

ALSO:

NASA, NOAA: Find 2014 Warmest Year In Modern Record

Since 1880, Earth’s average surface temperature has warmed by about 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit (0.8 degrees Celsius), a trend that is largely driven by the increase in carbon dioxide and other human emissions into the planet’s atmosphere. The majority of that warming has occurred in the past three decades. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: New Zealand’s Reserve Bank Named Central Bank Of The Year

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand’s efforts to stifle house price inflation by using new policy tools has seen the institution named Central Bank of the year by Central Banking Publications, a publisher specialising in global central banking practice. More>>

ALSO:

Science Media Centre: Viral Science And Another 'Big Dry'?

"Potentially, if there is no significant rainfall for the next month or so, we could be heading into one of the worst nation-wide droughts we’ve seen for some time," warns NIWA principal climate scientist Dr Andrew Tait. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Standards New Zealand

Standards New Zealand
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Business
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news