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Friday, April 25, 2008

A Pyrrhic Victory!

Britain's banks lost their battle in the High Court yesterday over unauthorised overdraft charges.

Mr Justice Andrew Smith ruled in favour of the OFT, stating that it can apply consumer contract regulations to decide if bank overdraft charges are fair or not.

In summing up, Judge Smith said:

"I reject the banks' contention that the Relevant Terms (the bank terms being challenged by the OFT) are exempt from assessment as to fairness under the 1999 Regulations.

This does not mean that the Relevant Terms are necessarily to be regarded as unfair or that they are not binding on consumers under the Regulations.

Those are not questions for me to decide in this judgment

The OFT can now decide if the charges are unfair and, if so, what a fair fee should be.

However, the banks will undoubtedly appeal.

Those who expect to see a compensation cheque dropping through their door, in the near future, had better not hold their breath.

The rest of us, who did not slip into unauthorised overdrafts, can expect the banks to introduce charges on our accounts in the future.

A Pyrrhic victory!

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