Tuesday 11th February 2014
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A class action lawsuit claiming banks charge unfair penalty fees has added Westpac Banking Corp., Bank of New Zealand and ASB Bank to its existing suit against Kiwibank and ANZ Bank New Zealand.
The Fair Play on Fees class action says more than 38,000 New Zealanders have signed up to participate since the action was announced last June, including about 7,300 Westpac customers, 5,000 BNZ customers and 6,000 ASB customers.
Lawyers representing the group, led by Auckland-based Andrew Hooker, Australian firm Slater & Gordon and Litigation Lending Services, a litigation funding firm, last year initiated court cases against ANZ and Kiwibank, claiming customers were overcharged millions of dollars in fees for overdrafts, late credit card payments and bounced cheques.
"There are customers of these banks who have paid these penalty fees and wish to be represented in this action," Hooker said in a statement. "The research we have done suggests the penalty fees they have been paying are at a similar level to those other banks so these customers are entitled to have their fees back as much as Kiwibank and ANZ customers.
"This launch means that the five banks with over 90 percent of the retail banking market will all face a Fair Play on Fees case."
Westpac, BNZ and ASB customers who want to be included must register at the group's website by Feb. 27, the group said. The group plans to lodge court documents against the three banks on Feb. 28, it said.
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