Class action against banks gets green light

Published date03 August 2022
Publication titleWhanganui Chronicle
The High Court has granted approval for the case to be taken as an opt-out claim

A lawsuit was filed against the two major banks in September over claims they failed to fully refund around 150,000 customers for fees and interest earned on loans in which there were disclosure breaches.

The case was being taken by former Commerce Commission lawyer Scott Russell and barristers Davey Salmon, QC, and Ali van Ammers, and was being jointly funded by Australian litigation funder CASL and New Zealand litigation funder LPF Group.

Russell described the High Court decision to allow it to be conducted as an opt-out claim as significant.

“The High Court has agreed with our position that over 150,000 ANZ and ASB home and personal loan customers who were affected by their bank’s alleged failure to comply with the law should be part of the class action,” he said.

“Importantly, all of these customers are now part of the claim and will have the opportunity to get back the money our claim alleges their bank was not entitled to charge or take from them. Unless they elect to opt out of the claim.”

Russell said the approval provided a high level of certainty the case would proceed through the courts.

“It was our preference to conduct the claim as opt-out so that as many customers as possible could participate in the claim and the Court has agreed based on the precedent set in the Supreme Court ruling in Southern Response v Ross [2020] case.”

The claim centres around two Commerce Commission settlements with the banks in which both acknowledged a failure to provide accurate information to personal and home loan customers who varied the terms of their loans during a particular period.

In May last year, ASB agreed to pay a settlement of $8.1...

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