Westpac, BNZ next up in bank fees' class suit
By Paul McBeth
Aug. 18 (BusinessDesk) - Westpac Banking Corp and Bank of New Zealand are the next two lenders to face a class suit over penalty fees.
Lawyers for the Fair Play on Fees suit will file papers in the High Court in Auckland on Wednesday against the two lenders, the group said in a statement. Westpac and BNZ were named as the next targets, along with ASB Bank in February, with papers already filed against Kiwibank and ANZ Bank New Zealand.
Lawyers representing the group, led by Auckland-based Andrew Hooker, Australian firm Slater & Gordon and Litigation Lending Services, a litigation funding firm, last year initiated court cases against ANZ and Kiwibank, claiming customers were overcharged millions of dollars in fees for overdrafts, late credit card payments and bounced cheques.
“Last year we announced we were would take action against these banks but held off filing the documents until judgments in Australia gave us a clearer picture of how the case could unfold in New Zealand,” Hooker said. “We can now file against Westpac and BNZ with the knowledge that courts in similar cases have found penalty fees, such as credit card late payment fees, to be unlawful.”
The group is asking Westpac and BNZ customers to join the suit, saying more than 41,600 people have registered with the Fair Play on Fees action.