ANZ bank unfair credit card fees class action in High Court

THE battle between the ANZ bank and thousands of its customers over credit card late payment fees is continuing today in the High Court.

The case, being run by Maurice Blackburn, is Australia’s biggest consumer class action and is attempting to argue the bank’s late payment fees are unlawful.

David Jackson QC, lawyer for the customers, told the High Court on Thursday late payment fees for two credit cards of up to $35 did not accurately represent the cost to the bank of a default.

He argued the amount of the fee was calculated arbitrarily and the real cost to the bank was a fraction of the amount charged.

Mr Jackson also said interest charged by the bank was enough to adequately compensate them for any losses incurred because of a customer’s late payment.

National Head of Class Actions at Maurice Blackburn, Andrew Watson, said: “There has always been a strong public interest in rigorously testing the fees, and it is fitting that the highest court in the land will ultimately resolve Australia’s biggest consumer class action.”

ANZ is being sued for charges of up to $35 for late credit card payments. Picture: Sergio Dionisio/Bloomberg

ANZ is being sued for charges of up to $35 for late credit card payments. Picture: Sergio Dionisio/BloombergSource:News Limited

The class action has been in the works since 2010 and has already been through a Federal Court trial.

The Federal Court in April overturned an earlier ruling that the fees were illegal penalties.

Lawyers for the customers appealed that ruling and a High Court decision is expected tomorrow at the latest.

They will also attempt to argue that the fees represent “unconscionable” conduct by the bank under regulatory laws.

If the challenge is successful customers will be eligible for refunds worth millions.

The hearing continues.