Bank charge waiver extended until 2009


Victims of unfair bank charges will have to wait until at least 2009 to claim any refunds after the financial regulator extended a complaints waiver for another six months.

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) put the original 12-month waiver in place in 2007, but this expired on 26 July. In light of the ongoing battle between the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) and Britain’s biggest banks, the FSA has extended the waiver. It will be reviewed in early 2009.

Despite the High Court finding in favour of the OFT earlier this year and ruling that it has the right to decide whether overdraft charges are too high, the case rumbles on with the Court of Appeal currently considering the issue.

Dan Waters, director of retail policy at the FSA, says that by the time the new waiver expires in six months' time, a decision should have been reached by the Court of Appeal. However, the regulator has the right to revoke the waiver at any time if it is no longer appropriate.

The waiver means that any bank of building society signed up will not have to process any type of complaint relating to bank charges. Around 98% of the market signed up to the original waiver.

“The FSA continues to work closely with the OFT and banks in reaching a resolution on the fairness of unauthorised overdraft charges,” Waters says. “Our objectives continue to be certainty over this complex issue, and a fair and consistent resolution of consumer complaints about unauthorised overdraft charges.”