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

Big Banking

More Business stories

RSS

BBC Business Live

  1.  
    08:24: TOTAL SHARES

    Shares in French oil firm Total are understandably lower this morning following the death overnight of the company's widely respected chief executive Christophe de Margerie in a plan crash in Moscow. Total has opened down nearly 3% to €42.94.

     
  2.  
    08:12: WHITBREAD
    General view of cup from a Costa Coffee shop,

    Revenue for the owner of Costa Coffee and Premier Inn was up 13% to £1.29bn for the six months ended 28 August. Whitbread chief executive Andy Harrison said: "The trading momentum of our strong first half performance has continued into the first few weeks of the second half and positions Whitbread well to deliver full year results in line with expectations."

     
  3.  
    08:00: GKN RESULTS

    GKN, which makes parts of planes and cars, said sales fell of the third quarter - that's July to September - but profit rose. A stronger pound than last year caused much of the lost revenue. For the rest of the year, the motor and aerospace market will grow, while agriculture "looks set to continue its recent decline," it says.

     
  4.  
    07:50: ARM CHIPS BBC Radio 4

    Simon Segars the boss of chipmaker ARM is on the Today programme. He says lots of companies license his firm's tech so he's not worried about competition from the likes of Intel, which is now targeting ARM's market. "Competition is a good thing," he says. He adds: "History has shown the technology solution that we produce is the one that goes into most devices. Virtually every smartphone in the world uses an ARM processor". So, safe to say he's not worried in the slightest then.

     
  5.  
    07:35: ASOS PROFITS DOWN
    ASOS webpage screengrab

    Online retailer ASOS has reported as 14% slump in profits to £46.9m. Last year ASOS reported profits of £54.7m. There are no surprises here, though. The firm has previously warned "disruption" from investment in warehousing and the launch of its new business in China would hurt profits and that remains the case. Boss Nick Robertson says the firm is "in a period of major investment that comes at a short term cost, but the medium-term benefits will be significant."

     
  6.  
    07:20: ARM CHIPS
    chip

    ARM, which could well make the chips in your mobile phone, says it made $320m (£195.5m) of sales in the third quarter, up 12% compared with last year. It will probably sell $350m in the final three months of the year, it said.

     
  7.  
    07:10: RECKITT RESULTS
    Reckitt Benckiser products

    Reckitt Benckiser says it now expects full year revenue growth at the lower end of its total revenue growth target of 4-5%. The firm "delivered a robust performance in tougher markets in the third quarter" it said.

     
  8.  
    07:00: CHINA GROWTH BBC Radio 4

    China's economy grew by 7.3% in the three months to September, compared with expectations of 7.2%. But it's still the lowest growth in six years. The BBC's Chief Business Correspondent Linda Yueh tells the Today programme Chinese monetary policymakers want to slow the Chinese economic growth gradually and allow the rest of the world to get used to it. China is becoming a "middle income economy" she says and will revert to a normal path for a developed economy over time of around 3% to 4%.

     
  9.  
    Via Twitter Linda Yueh Chief business correspondent

    tweets: My interview with CEO of Oscar de la Renta fashion house, Alex Bolen, from Talking Business

     
  10.  
    06:41: ENGINEERING SKILLS Radio 5 live

    We don't have enough engineers in the UK or scientists for that matter argues Ann Watson of Semta, an engineering skills charity, on 5 live. She says: "We need a million scientists, engineers and technicians by 2020, We are starting to see a shortage in education; people training those recruits." The perception of engineering as a "dirty, oily industry" doesn't help, she says.

     
  11.  
    06:30: STOCK MARKET Radio 5 live

    Jane Foley, senior currency strategist at Rabobank is on 5 live talking about the falling stock market. "If we see stocks fall more we may see companies bargain hunting," she says. So more firms may start purchasing each other.

     
  12.  
    06:21: HEATHROW TRAVEL Radio 5 live
    heathrow

    Travel writer Simon Calder is on 5 live talking about the weather. He says he sees about 50 weather-related cancellations at Heathrow, so perhaps about 5% of flights so far. Flights to Frankfurt look hard to come by, he says.

     
  13.  
    06:12: FLIGHTS CANCELLED

    Heathrow airport has said this morning that around 10% of flights will be cancelled today as the remnants of Hurricane Gonzalo hit the UK. Flights with the 20 biggest carriers would be affected, it says. British Airways has already cancelled some ahead of the expected severe weather. The remains of the hurricane are predicted to bring heavy rain and gusts of up to 75mph in some areas, causing disruption to rush-hour travel. If you're travelling today it's worth checking before you arrive at the airport.

     
  14.  
    06:02: TOTAL CEO DEATH Radio 5 live

    Christophe de Margerie, the chief executive of French oil company Total, has died in an air crash in Moscow. Sarah Rainsford, the BBC's correspondent in Moscow says poor weather with low visibility is a possible cause of the crash. His plane crashed when it collided with a snow-clearing machine killing him and three crew, she tells 5 live.

     
  15.  
    06:01: Howard Mustoe Business reporter

    Good morning! Get in touch via email bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk or on twitter @BBCBusiness.

     
  16.  
    06:00: Matthew West Business reporter

    Morning folks, we have the latest public borrowing figures out at 9:30 today. But before that we have full year results from online retailer ASOS, and interim figures from Whitbread, plus the weather is promising to play havoc with the transport network today with 10% of flights out of Heathrow already cancelled this morning. We'll bring you everything as it happens.

     

Features

From BBC Capital

Programmes

  • Ade Adepitan at the ColosseumThe Travel Show Watch

    The challenge of providing disabled access at Europe’s leading ancient monuments

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.