BNZ, ASB and Westpac to face group legal action on 'unfair penalty fees'

Andrew Hooker and Fair Play on Fees group

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Fair Play on Fees is now taking on three more banks - Westpac, BNZ and ASB - as part of its group legal action against what it says are "unfair penalty fees." 

The group says  it will file its applications in court on Friday, February 28.

According to a Fair Play on Fees statement, the group legal action has seen more than 38,800 New Zealanders sign up to date, of which moe than 7300 are Westpac customers, 5000 are BNZ customers and 6000 are ASB customers.

Cases against ANZ and Kiwibank were begun last year.

“The reason why it’s important to launch these next three cases is that there are customers of these banks who have paid these penalty fees and wish to be represented in this legal action,” Auckland-based Fair Play on Fees lawyer Andrew Hooker said.

“The research we have done suggests the penalty fees they have been paying are at a similar level to those other banks, so these customers are entitled to have their fees back as much as Kiwibank and ANZ customers.

“This launch means that the five banks with over 90% of the retail banking market will all face a Fair Play on Fees case,” Mr Hooker said.

Mr Hooker also said the penalty fees include unarranged overdrafts (account out of order fees), rejected payments on deposit accounts (dishonour fees), exceeding credit limit (over limit fees) and late payment fees.

Last week the Australian Federal Court ruled that ANZ in Australia had been illegally imposing penalties for late payments on credit cards in Australia.

However, the court also ruled that other fees ANZ charged, including honour and dishonour fees, over-limit fees on credit cards, were reasonable and were not penal in character. 

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