The ANZ Bank has won an appeal against a landmark court ruling that found some of its credit card fees were unfair or unlawful, and that its customers would have to be reimbursed as a result.
In a decision handed down in February 2014, ANZ’s fee for late credit card payments was found to be “extravagant, exorbitant and unconscionable” by Justice Michelle Gordon in the Federal Court of Australia.
Justice Gordon ruled the fee of $20 to $35 was much more than late payments cost the bank, which was around 50 cents to $5.50 per late payment, and that late payment fees charged more than six years ago could be claimed by customers in compensation.
However, in a blow to consumers, The New Daily reports the full bench of the Federal Court has upheld ANZ’s appeal, overturning Justice Gordon’s decision.
The class action had been brought against ANZ by law firm Maurice Blackburn and funded by Bentham IMF (Australia) on behalf of over 43,000 ANZ customers.
The decision is likely to have repercussions throughout the Australian banking industry.
Maurice Blackburn launched further class action proceedings on behalf of all customers who have ever been charged late payment fees by Westpac, St George, Citibank, BankSA and ANZ, whether or not they signed up to the original action.
Catch Group IPO talk re-surfaces
Speculation has once again surfaced that online retailer Catch Group could list on the Australian Securities Exchange by the end of the year.
Citing “sources at the company”, Fairfax reports an initial public offering could raise up to $500 million, which would be used to fund Asian expansion while also helping the company to participate in any industry consolidation.
The report also notes that any possible IPO will take place during the second half of the year.
There has been speculation for several years that an IPO could be in the pipeline for the Catch Group, after then-chief executive Paul Reining said the company was considering a float during a January 2013 interview.
Shares up on open
Aussie shares have made small gains this morning, off the back of some modest gains in commodity prices overnight.
But Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets, said in a statement local investors “will be far from confident that the bear markets are coming to an end” despite the gains.
“While spot iron ore prices were up yesterday, the fact that China’s steel production fell during March is a sobering piece of data for iron ore producers,” Spooner said.
“Similarly, oil markets which appear to be rallying in anticipating of US production cuts will soon need the data to reflect expectations to maintain current upward momentum.”
The S&P/ASX 200 benchmark was up 23 points to 5949 at 11.56am AEST. On Tuesday, the Dow Jones closed 5.43 points lower, down 0.03% to 17875.4 points.