Class action taken against ANZ and ASB
Lawyers seeking refunds for 150,000 customers.
A multimillion-dollar class action has been filed against two Australian-owned banks alleging that, after admitting to credit law breaches, they tried to get away with refunding consumers a fraction of what the law required.
The Banking Class Action has been taken by two Auckland law firms – Russell Legal and Mills Lane Chambers – and seeks to force ANZ and ASB to refund about 150,000 customers.
It argues the banks unfairly profited from their customers by failing to refund them for interest and fees the banks weren’t entitled to keep.
The action has been brought under the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act (CCCFA). In separate settlements with the Commerce Commission, both banks admitted they’d failed to exercise the care, diligence and skill of a responsible lender.
The settlements focussed on calculation errors made by ANZ in loan variation letters and ASB’s failure to provide adequate information disclosure to personal and home loan customers who varied the terms of their loans.
Under the settlements both banks agreed to make remediation payments to affected customers. However, the class action claims the agreement payments awarded customers only a fraction of what they may be entitled to.
Consumer NZ chief executive Jon Duffy said class actions like this are rare in New Zealand, but vital to keep businesses honest.
“The law is clear that, at the time these breaches occurred, banks were not entitled to profit from their non-compliance. By settling and paying a nominal amount, the banks have pulled a bait and switch, offering a token amount when a much larger amount could be due,” Duffy said.
“It’s impractical and beyond the resources of individual customers to take separate cases against these banks to prove they are owed more under the CCCFA. By joining together in a class action, consumers can defeat the power imbalance that exists between banks and their customers and have their day in court to argue for what’s right.”
You might qualify to participate in the Banking Class Action if you’ve had a home or personal loan with ANZ between 30 May 2015 to 28 May 2016, or with ASB from 6 June 2015 to 18 June 2019. Visit the Banking Class Action website to find out if you qualify.