CHOICE joins GetUp in bank campaign

Push to settle class action, cut penalty fees

CHOICE has joined forces with activist group GetUp and research think tank the Australia Institute to call on the banks to settle their class action promptly and reduce unfair penalty fees, especially on credit cards.

As more than 200,000 bank customers prepare to sue twelve major banks for unlawful penalty fees, CHOICE is aiming to build a coalition of groups to push for greater transparency and integrity from all Australian financial institutions.

"We want every institution to treat their customers decently and fairly, in terms of fees as well as on issues such as superannuation costs and the impartiality of financial advice," says CHOICE spokesman Christopher Zinn.

"Consumers identified fairer bank fees as one of the top issues for the new government before the Federal Election, and we want to see action.

"There is no excuse for penalty charges that are disproportionate. There is even less excuse for rip-off fees and shoddy service from banks which are making huge profits and enjoying a government guarantee if they go wrong."

CHOICE has long been campaigning to end unfair bank fees, while GetUp has begun channeling its members into the class action and equipping them with the ability to email their banks’ complaints departments directly.

"CHOICE believes unacceptably high bank fees are a symptom of a banking market where regulation to ensure competition has not been treated with the priority it deserves," says Zinn.

"CHOICE wants to see a fair and transparent system of charges for the future, from all the banks.

"We want it to be made much easier for consumers to compare fees and penalty charges, so they can move to another bank if they are getting a raw deal. And we want it to be made easy for people to control their own access to unauthorised overdrafts so they can better avoid penalty charges in the first place.

"These changes should be put in place quickly and voluntarily. It’s unacceptable for banks to hide behind lengthy legal actions before putting an end to bad practices."

Media contact: Christopher Zinn 0425 296 442

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