ANZ class action suit set to begin in Australia

A customer using an ANZ ATM The collective action claims the bank charged its customers exorbitant fees

A class action suit filed against Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ), one of Australia's big four banks, is set to begin on Monday.

Some 38,000 customers have taken the bank to court over claims that it charged them "exorbitant fees".

These include 'dishonour' fees on bank accounts, as well as over- limit fees and late payment fees on credit cards.

A lawyer representing the customers estimated the total fees charged by ANZ to be around A$50m ($46m; £28m).

Andrew Watson, the head of class actions at Maurice Blackburn, the firm representing the customers, told the Australian Broadcast Corporation (ABC) that the size of fees varied, but that "$25 to $35 is the sort of range for fees that are imposed".

"So you might be a dollar over on your account, or a day late in your payment and the banks will slug you with a fee that's out of all proportion to what it costs them for that minor transgression.

"We think it's worth [in total] about A$50m," he added.

Fine v fees?

Start Quote

The claim against the ANZ... will be a template for the other actions”

End Quote Maurice Blackburn

The Australian High Court ruled last year that these fees could be considered as a penalty charged by the bank.

Maurice Blackburn, said on its website that "if they're proven during the trial to constitute a penalty, rather than a fee for service, then those fees are lawfully recoverable".

The firm also claimed the bank charged very high fees for a service "that cost them only a matter or cents or a few dollars at the most to administer".

ANZ is not the only bank that is facing such a case in Australia.

Maurice Blackburn has also launched a broader class action suit involving 170,000 customers and seven other banks - the largest collective legal action in Australia.

The law firm also claims that customers "who were charged these unfair fees by the banks have signed up online to be part of the action to redeem their money plus interest, with the claim size now estimated at more than A$220m".

The banks involved in the broader class action suit are Citibank, Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank (NAB), St George, Westpac, BankSA and Bankwest.

"The claim against the ANZ... will be a template for the other actions," it added.

More on This Story

More Business stories



  • An ant and a humanAnts v humans

    Do all the world's ants really weigh as much as all the humans?

  • Tattooed person using tabletRogue ink

    People who lost their jobs because of their tattoos

  • An Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighter holds a position as smoke billows on the front line in Khazer, 40 km West of Irbil, in northern Iraq on 16 September 2014. Propaganda battle

    Why Islamic State wants the West to put boots on the ground

  • Toronto Mayor Rob FordFord nation

    Toronto mayor's enemies unite with him in new battle

From BBC Capital


  • TokyoThe Travel Show Watch

    Japan has a reputation for being expensive but can you visit without breaking the bank?

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.