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Federal Court rules late payment fees exhorbitant

CHOICE says it’s not the role of a business to punish its customers

5 February 2014

The decision by the Federal Court today against ANZ for charging excessive late payment fees is welcome news for consumers and should send a clear message to businesses that late fees must reflect actual costs.

The class action by law firm Maurice Blackburn on behalf of 43,500 ANZ customers was one of the largest consumer class actions in history and follows a High Court decision in 2012, which paved the way for the trial in the Federal Court.

The Federal Court ruled that the late payment fees the ANZ charged customers were extravagant, exorbitant and unconscionable.

“Fees should be an accurate reflection of the costs faced by businesses when customers are unable to make payments on time,” says CHOICE Chief Executive, Alan Kirkland.

"We welcome the Federal Court decision today, which should make it very clear that the days of charging excessive fees to bolster profits are over.”

“CHOICE launched a joint campaign with the Consumer Action Law Centre to end excessive bank fees in 2010 and today’s decision is welcome news for all those consumers who signed up to our campaign and the 43,500 who joined the class action.”

“It’s not the role of a business to punish customers. We expect to see late payment fees to come down in other sectors, such as telecommunications, as a result of this decision.” 

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