THE NEWS WRAP: Federal Court finds ANZ late fees “extravagant, exorbitant and unconscionable”

Federal Court Justice Michelle Gordon has found the ANZ Bank’s late payment fees on credit cards to be “extravagant, exorbitant and unconscionable”, with the bank potentially forced to refund millions of dollars to customers.

 

The ruling came in a class action lawsuit filed by around 43,500 customers, who challenged the bank’s fee structure, with the ruling potentially calling into question other late payment fees charged by financial institutions and utility companies.

 

However, the court found that four other types of fees charged by the ANZ Bank, which were also challenged in the lawsuit, are legitimate.

 

“Wherever there are other late payment regimes, they will need to be examined carefully,” Maurice Blackburn’s national head of class actions, Andrew Watson, says.

 

Howes calls for national compact on wages and conditions

 

AWU national secretary Paul Howes has called for an Accord-style “grand compact” between businesses and unions, saying public debate about workplace entitlements has turned into a “blood sport” during an address to the National Press Club.

 

“We must draw the key industrial players together to find a new form of stability,” Howes says.

 

“A grand compact in which business, unions and government all work out a deal that we all agree to live with for the long haul.”

 

His comments come after the government asked the Fair Work Commission to consider whether the minimum terms and conditions protected in award agreements are still necessary in modern workplaces.

 

Echo boss quits after just one year

 

The chief executive of casino operator Echo Entertainment, John Redmond, has announced he is retiring from the company after just one year in the top job, citing personal reasons.

 

Redmond’s announcement comes after Echo reported a 30.5% fall in net profit to $46.1 million, with chief financial officer Matt Bekier set to take over the top job.

 

“Over a transition period of the next three months, John will be handing over his responsibilities to Matt Bekier,” Echo chairman chairman John O’Neill says in a statement.

 

“Matt knows the company and the Australian market exceptionally well and has been working closely with John in re-establishing a path towards profitable growth.

 

“The board is confident that Matt is the right person to lead the group forward on the foundations that have been built, and looks forward to the continuity that Matt’s appointment will provide.”

 

Overnight

 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down to 5088.7. The Aussie dollar is down to US89.11 cents.

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