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More time for bank fee complaints

Lawrence Smith/FairfaxNZ Lawrence Smith/FairfaxNZ

Stuff.co.nz   29 October 2013

 ANZ and former National Bank customers have until December 13 to sign up to the class action law suit against the banks' fees.

The High Court has delivered an interlocutory judgment in the Fair Play on Fees class action against ANZ bank allowing customers who signed up after the court documents were lodged in June, to participate.

MORE TIME: Lawyer Andrew Hooker is pleased the deadline for joining the Fight The Fees suit has been extended.

Previously, there was no guarantee those who signed up after June would be included in the case.

Customers have until December 13 to sign up to the class action.

Fair Play on Fees lawyer Andrew Hooker said the judgment gave thousands more customers the opportunity to sign up.

Hooker said the ruling was a great outcome for ANZ/National Bank customers.

"We are very happy for those ANZ/National Bank customers who came to us wanting to join the campaign after the court documents were lodged," he said.

Hooker said there were more than 1000 clients who signed up after June.

"It is important that everyone who wants to take part in the action gets the opportunity to do so."

Hooker said he expected tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands more eligible New Zealanders to join the case.

"We will be doing what we can over the next seven weeks to ensure that as many people as possible know about their legal rights to join the case".

Fair Play on Fees now has 14,700 clients signed up from ANZ and National Bank.

The High Court also gave the case the green light to proceed in its present form.

ANZ had sought to break the group into six sub-groups covering the different default fees.

The High Court declined ANZ's request, saying the representative plaintiffs were sufficiently "representative" for the matter to move forward as originally formulated.

The Fair Play on Fees campaign was kicked off in March by Auckland lawyer Andrew Hooker, Australian legal heavyweight Slater & Gordon and litigation funder Litigation Lending Services (NZ).

The group intends to sue all the major trading banks for charging penalties such as dishonour fees and late credit card payment fees, which do not represent the real costs incurred.

The next administrative hearing is expected to take place on November 28.

A date for trial proceedings is expected to be set early next year.

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