Banks pay out massive refunds

Grovelawn Financial News 08/03/2008

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Test case will decide future rebates

A test case currently awaiting judgement would clarify the position on refunds of current bank charges to customers who go over their agreed overdraft limit. The banks have paid out more than £550 million to its customers so far and this amount could reach a total liability of more than £1.1 billion if the judge rules that the charges are unfair under the terms of the 1999 Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations.

The annual results of the high street bank's payouts so far revealed that the HBOS group has incurred the biggest bill of £122 million, RBS which includes Nat West has paid out £119 million. Lloyds TSB has refunded £76 million and Barclays have paid out £116 million.

The test case will decide whether the banks' charges are unfair and give guidance on what the charges should be. The banks have been given permission to stop paying out on any new or ongoing refund claims until the judgement has been decided. Banks are estimated to earn roughly £2 billion and £3.5 billion a year in fees charged to customers who go over their authorised limit and the banks argue that the charge is fair and that consumer contract rules do not apply in this instance.

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