9 May 2017

BNZ settles unfair fees claim

11:32 am on 9 May 2017

A third large trading bank has cut a deal with a consumer group suing it over unfair penalty fees.

BNZ Wellington.

BNZ has settled a lawsuit with a consumer group for an undisclosed sum. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

The Bank of New Zealand has settled with Fair Play on Fees, which has agreed to drop its legal action. The bank said it had made a contribution to the group's legal costs.

"The Bank does not admit any liability. Details of the matter are otherwise confidential," the BNZ said in a statement.

Fair Play organised a class legal action against five banks in early 2013, with tens of thousands of customers from ANZ, ASB, BNZ, Kiwibank and Westpac signing up.

The group alleged the banks were ripping off customers with unjustifiably large fees for such issues as late payment of credit cards, unarranged overdrafts, and dishonoured payments.

The action was backed by an Australian specialist funder Litigation Lending Services, and Australian law firm Slater & Gordon and followed a similar campaign in Australia.

Fair Play's New Zealand lawyer Andrew Hooker refused to give any further details.

"I can't say any more than is in the statement."

He also refused to say whether any of the bank customers who signed up to the action have received payments.

Similar secret settlements were reached with the ANZ last October and with Kiwibank in March. Legal action was never started against the ASB.

Mr Hooker said court action was still underway against Westpac, but was in its preliminary stages.

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