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


Why is Charging Kiwis More Standard Business Practice?

15 March 2013

“Fair Play on Fees” Invites ASB to Tell Kiwis Why It is Standard Business Practice to Charge Kiwis More

The lawyer pursuing Kiwi banks on behalf of customers overcharged hundreds of millions in unfair bank fees has called on one of the country’s biggest financial institutions to explain why the head of its Australian parent company justified the overcharging as “standard business practice”.

Ian Narev, who is head of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia – owner of ASB – told a business lunch in Auckland yesterday that it was ”standard business practice” to charge higher default fees in New Zealand than in Australia.

The comment was made in response to Fair Play on Fees comparison of the fees charged by ASB in NZ and CBA in Australia. In New Zealand, ASB customers are charged more than three times the amount charged in Australia when an automatic payment (AP), bill payment or direct debit is declined.

An ASB customer in New Zealand is charged a fee of $20 but the same customer of the CBA in Australia is charged $NZD6.25 ($AUD5).

Fair Play on Fees Lawyer Andrew Hooker says Kiwis were entitled to ask ASB how such disparity can be justified as a “standard business practice”.

“Customers are entitled to know why there is such a vast difference. Surely the costs of the same computer transaction in NZ can’t be three times higher than what it is in Australia. Do computers cost that much more here than in Australia?"

”We understand the bank’s point that there is no reason for fees and charges to be identical between countries but the differences just don’t add up. It is time for ASB to give its customers more information about the costs that go into a making up a default fee”.

Mr Hooker said “Perhaps Mr Narev doesn’t understand what the case is about. If a can of Coke in Australia costs slightly more than in NZ, big deal, if their monthly account keeping fees are slightly higher or lower, then big deal. The issue with these particular fees is that they need to be set with regard to what it actually costs the bank when a customer has insufficient funds to meet an AP. We say that the costs of this occurring are out of all proportion to the fees that they are charging; that’s what makes it an unlawful penalty. It seems that this principle is better understood by Mr Narev’s CBA team in Australia but less well understood by their colleagues across the Tasman”.

New Zealanders can join the action against unfair bank fees by registering at


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, largescale 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


Oceans: NOAA Declares Third Ever Global Coral Bleaching Event

As record ocean temperatures cause widespread coral bleaching across Hawaii, NOAA scientists confirm the same stressful conditions are expanding to the Caribbean and may last into the new year, prompting the declaration of the third global coral bleaching event ever on record. More>>

Scoop Business: A Decade Of Government Pre-Seed Investment

More publicly-funded science is being commercialised after a decade of government ‘pre-see’d investment, according to an independent review. More>>


Solid Energy: Plan To Shut Unprofitable Huntly East Mine

Solid Energy, the state-owned coal miner in voluntary administration, plans to shut down its unprofitable Huntly East mine and lay off 65 staff after deciding the site stands "no chance whatsoever" of finding a buyer. More>>


E Tū: Merger Creates NZ's Biggest Private Sector Union

E tū has been created by the merger of the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union and Service and Food Workers’ Union. It represents more than 50,000 working New Zealanders in industries as diverse as aviation, construction, journalism, food manufacturing, mining and cleaning. More>>


Internet: NZ Govt Lifts Target Speeds For Rural Broadband

The government has lifted its expectations on faster broadband speeds for rural New Zealand as it targets increased spending on research and development in the country's information and communications technology sector, which it sees as a key driver for export growth. More>>


Banks: Westpac Keeps Core Government Transactions Contract

The local arm of Westpac Banking Corp has kept its contract with the New Zealand government to provide core transactions, but will have to share peripheral services with its rivals. More>>


Science Investment Plan: Universities Welcome Statement

Universities New Zealand has welcomed the National Statement of Science Investment released by the Government today... this is a critical document as it sets out the Government’s ten-year strategic direction that will guide future investment in New Zealand’s science system. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news