CHOICE has welcomed the decision by NAB to settle a class action over unfair late payment fees and believes it sends a clear signal that other businesses should follow suit.
NAB’s decision comes in the wake of by the Federal Court’s ruling in February this year against ANZ for charging excessive late payment fees. 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.
“It’s not often we see a bank take a leadership position and genuinely act in the interests of customers so it’s important to acknowledge this is positive step by NAB. We believe this sends a clear message to other businesses who slap on excessive late payment fees that the practice needs to stop,” says CHOICE spokesperson Tom Godfrey.
“CHOICE has long campaigned for a better deal for consumers when it comes to late payment fees, which should be an accurate reflection of the costs faced by businesses when customers are unable to make payments on time,” says Mr Godfrey.
“CHOICE launched a joint campaign with the Consumer Action Law Centre to end excessive bank fees in 2007 and today’s decision by NAB is more welcome news for all those consumers who signed up to our campaign and joined the various class actions across the country.”
“It’s not the role of 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.”
“Assuming the Federal Court approves a joint application by the bank and Maurice Blackburn, NAB customers who joined the class action may receive payouts by mid next year.”
For more information on CHOICE’s campaigns and product reviews visit:www.choice.com.au.
Photo Credit: Leonard John Matthews (cc)