Half a million Aussies could join bank fees class action

Up to 500,000 Australians could join a huge class action against local and foreign banks for the repayment of unfair fees, it has been revealed.

Yesterday (May 12th), litigation funder IMF Australia announced it will bankroll the class action and encouraged ordinary bank customers to participate via a subsidiary website at FinancialRedress.com.au.

Bernard Murphy, chairman of Maurice Blackburn Lawyers – the solicitor firm running the action – has said that the public response has been overwhelming, with 3,000 registrations on the company’s website as of last night, ABC News reported.

The initiative aims to recover fees charged on customers who have exceeded their account overdraft or made a late payment on their credit cards, among others, with the IMF claiming that while the true cost of such transactions may only have been "a few dollars at most", the banks have made billions from excessive charges.

Financial Redress managing director James Middleweek said: "Realistically if we got 300,000, 400,000 people to sign up over the course of the next few weeks and months we’d have a sort of 600, 700, 800 million [dollar] class action."

The news may interest Aussies who wish to compare debit cards in search of the best terms and conditions. The class action is set to be the biggest in Australian corporate history and will target some of Australia’s biggest banks including the ANZ, Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank and Westpac.

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