Banks Lose Charges Court Case

If you’ve seen today’s new you’ll likely already know that the 7 banks and 1 building society who were taken to court by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) have lost their case.

In the long-running saga, this ruling by the courts is really only the start for the OFT – although the judge ruled that the OFT can rule on the fairness of the charges, it doesn’t automatically mean the charges are unfair.

So what does today’s decision mean to us?

Well, if you’re one of the estimated 1 million people who has a refund case that’s currently frozen until the outcome of this case, your case will still be held until 22nd May, the date by which the banks have to decide whether to appeal the decision or not.

If they do appeal, then it’s likely to drag the saga out for a much longer period of time – I guess the next thing we need to wait for is the reaction of the banks, and whether they decide to appeal. As I’ve said previously, the long-term outcome of this case might be the end of “free-banking”, or possibly more accurately, free banking for those who remain in credit (those receiving charges for going into their overdrafts have been subsidising those who don’t for years).

As ever, the BBC is one of the best sources for more information on this story. In particular, their bank charge FAQ is worth a read, as it explains the case and its outcome in an easy to read way. And if you’re that way inclined, you can read the full 119-page judgement (PDF).

Do you think this is the right decision? Will you regret the end of “free-banking”, or is there no such thing? Let us know in the comments below.

Photo by Joe Gratz

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