[UPDATED] Australia’s High Court declares ANZ Bank $35 late credit card payments fee legal

By @vitthernandez on
Maurice Blackburn Law Firm
Bernard Murphy Chairman of Maurice Blackburn law firm speaks at a news conference in Melbourne May 13, 2010. Reuters/Mick Tsikas

UPDATED: Australia’s High Court ruled on Wednesday that the $35 late payment fees collected by ANZ Bank are legal. The verdict upholds a 2015 Federal Court decision in favour of the bank in the class action filed by Maurice Blackburn law firm.

The class action suit against ANZ Bank was finally settled on Wednesday. Australia’s High Court released its verdict on the case at 10 am in Brisbane on the appeal of a 2015 Federal Court loss over excessive bank fees.

The decision involves over $50 million that thousands of angry customers of eight large Australian banks, which includes the big four, want refunded, reports SkyNews. The bank customers accused the banks that the $35 charge for late credit card payments is excessive since the apparent cost of the fee ranges from 50 cents to a few dollars only.

Maurice Blackburn started the class action, the biggest in Australia, against ANZ Bank in 2010. The fees have been collected by the banks since the 1990s.

It was the High Court's full bench that published its decision on the long-running case that initially involved ANZ Bank on complaint of about 50,000 customers that late fees on mortgages, business loans and credit cards were excessive, reports The New Daily. A Federal Court ruled in 2014 that ANZ’s late fees policy was “extravagant, exorbitant and unconscionable.”

But the Federal Court’s full bench reversed the decision in 2015, saying the bank was justified in collecting the $35 late payment fee. The law firm appealed the verdict. Had ANZ lost the case, over 185,000 customers of other Australian banks, including Commonwealth Bank, Westpac. Bank SA, Bankwest and American Express – which charged late fees higher than ANZ - faced huge compensation bills.

VIDEO: Credit card late payment fees – Bank fees class action – Maurice Blackburn

Source: http://www.mauriceblackburn.com.au