Banks Win Overdraft Charges Case

1st December 2009
Banks Win Overdraft Charges Case image

Banks Win Overdraft Charges Case

The long awaited Judgment from The Supreme Court on Overdraft Charges of banks arrived on 25th November.  Unfortunately the Court ruled that the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) does not have the powers that it thought it had to scrutinise the fairness of bank charges.

In explaining his ruling, The Supreme Court’s President Lord Phillips said that bank customers agreed to pay overdraft charges as part of the price of having a current account, so they fell outside the scope of the protection of the 1999 Consumer Contract Regulations.

However the OFT has vowed to fight on despite its disappointment with the Judgment.  It is thought that the OFT could still try to scrutinise bank charges in other ways, perhaps by way of a full Competition Commission enquiry.

The OFT said that it would make another announcement in December and hopefully more will be known at that point as to whether or not the OFT will fight on with the cause for consumers.

Grant Shackleston commented on the ruling as follows:-

“This is obviously an extremely disappointing result for all the consumers who have been waiting a number of years to see whether or not their bank charges are unfair.  Although the banks have clearly won on this occasion, it has become clear that the banks have not been thinking enough about their customers.  Hopefully this case will concentrate the banks’ minds on the welfare of their customers and lead to a review or changes in their bank charges.”

The banks must now start processing all the complaints that had been put on hold for the past two and a half years whilst this Judgment was awaited.  The British Banker’s Association has said that the banks will deal with the complaints “in an orderly fashion”.

It has however thought that these claims are now at an end.  It is believed that the likely outcome of the stayed cases is that they will now be struck out and there will be no chance of a refund for the consumer.

Some consumers have been fortunate enough in obtaining refunds prior to this Judgment.  It is felt that these payments were likely to have been made as “goodwill gestures”.  If so this means that the consumer will be allowed to keep these repayments and will not need to repay the bank.

If you do go overdrawn without the permission of the bank then this ruling clearly shows that the bank can still charge you a fee and set the level of that fee.  Therefore a customer should negotiate in advance with a bank regarding an overdraft facility or an extension thereof.

If you require any advice in light of this ruling then please contact Daven Naghen.


Who Will You Be Entrusting With Your Conveyancing? image

Who Will You Be Entrusting With Your Conveyancing?

WHO WILL YOU BE ENTRUSTING WITH YOUR CONVEYANCING WORK?  THE CHOICE IS YOURS!

Are the selling agents or perhaps the mortgage broker pushing or trying to persuade you to use a particular conveyancing firm? If so, we would strongly recommend that you ask the following pertinent questions so that, armed with all relevant facts, you are better able to make a reasoned decision:-

Why?

Are the agents receiving a kickback or referral payment from the firm concerned? Using a firm in cahoots with an estate agency inevitably leads to a potential conflict of interest. Will such firm be working in your best interests or simply those of the introducer? Here at Maples we pride ourselves on being completely independent and we consider the idea of a referral fee both abhorrent and unethical. We much prefer to obtain our work based on past performance and recommendation.

How Much?

Do not be misled by a seemingly attractive basic figure initially quoted but be sure to enquire about and read the small print for add ons for so called “extras” (such as mortgage costs, preparation of a stamp duty land tax return, telegraphic transfer fees and the like) which suddenly spring up at a later date and only become apparent in the firm’s final statement. Ensure that you are comparing like for like. Here at Maples, we give you a complete and all inclusive rundown of our professional charges and all disbursements at the outset, with no hidden extras.

Where?

Is the firm local or, as is more likely, based in a completely different part of the country? If the latter, then the transaction will, without a doubt, be dealt with by post, phone or email and lack any personal contact. Here at Maples we are fully accessible, like to meet our clients to discuss and advise upon the transaction face to face and share with you the benefit of our wealth of local knowledge and experience.

Who?

Will you actually be aware as to who will be dealing with the matter for you or will you simply be a reference or matter number at the end of a phone in a firm dealing with volume conveyancing? Here at Maples, you will be assigned to your own experienced and dedicated conveyancer who will be responsible for and deal with the transaction for you from beginning to end, with a high level of personal service throughout.

Making a hasty and bad appointment could seriously prejudice or delay your transaction and cost you dearly. Getting honest answers to these four simple questions at the outset could make all the difference.

To discuss any Conveyancing matters please contact either Claire Smith or Anita Zaborniak of our Conveyancing Team or telephone the office 01775 722261.

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Testimonials

Gemma Mayer LLB

"I would highly recommend Maples Solicitors, especially Gemma Mayer, for any conveyancing work. The level of support and professionalism was excellent at all times. I also felt if I needed to ask or clarify anything that it was not an issue. Buying and selling a house is stressful enough, but Gemma helped me through it step by step."

Anita Toal LLB BA

"I think you are brilliant. You can use my comments above. You are efficient, friendly and quite clearly very good at what you do. Mainly you don’t leave people hanging around too long for." "So easy to talk to her and she understood what I wanted. She put me at ease and I cant thank her enough"

Daven Naghen LLB

"I felt the service I got from Maples was excellent and was very honest all through the process. I would recommend Maples as a first class Solicitors group"

Faye Blair LLB

Faye was excellent, sensitive and acted very well to the time constraints we faced. Great service and dealt with compassion at such sad times made the process less painful very professional.

Jamie Dobbs ACILEx

Over the last forty years I have cause to deal with many law firms both in a personal and professional capacity, including some ‘top’ London Companies. In all of those dealings I have never found anyone as proactive and so willing to offer help and advice as Jamie Dobbs. During the last two years Jamie guided my parents through the completion of Lasting Powers of Attorney. Helped myself with the use of the LPA and recently dealing with Probate and Estate Administration following their death.

Mike Pepper MA

This is the second time we have used Mike Pepper at Maples Solicitors in the sale of our house. We cannot praise Mike enough for the highly efficient and professional service that he has provided us with. He is by far the best solicitor we have ever worked with, and the service that he has provided us with has gone far and beyond anything we have ever experienced. We have found the whole process to be a very relaxing experience.

Claire Smith FCILEx

Claire Smith has been amazing in every way. I highly recommend her and I am so grateful for all her help. She’s professional on all levels, reliable, extremely organised and I will be recommending her to everyone. I’m very lucky to have had her representing me and I can’t thank her enough. She is an asset to Maples. Thanks so much Claire!

Anita Zaborniak

We found it a pleasure to deal with Anita Zaborniak, she was most helpful and informative and kept us up to date with the progress of the purchase of our new home. If we were to move again we wouldn’t hesitate to use Maples again.