Ive not got a claim in court (Im in Scotland) but my claim resides with RBS who have kindly posted this announcement on their website:
On 25 November 2009 the Supreme Court ruled that the level of unarranged overdraft charges in personal current accounts cannot be assessed for fairness under the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999 (UTCCR). The Court decided that current account customers receive a package of services and unarranged overdraft charges are part of the price paid by customers in exchange for that package.
The judgment focused on the banks’ current terms but the banks and the OFT have agreed that the judgment should apply also to historic terms.
Earlier hearings established none of RBS’s terms was capable of constituting a penalty clause.
RBS and the other banks involved in the test case are currently in discussions with the FSA and the Office of Fair Trading (‘OFT’) as to whether, following the Supreme Court judgment, there remain any outstanding issues requiring resolution.
We will publish further information here as soon as we receive it.
Test Case Background
On 27 July 2007 the Office of Fair Trading (‘OFT’), seven UK banks, including RBS, and one building society (‘the Banks’) started a court case to resolve certain issues regarding the fairness and legality of unarranged overdraft charges. This has become known as the ‘test case’. This is a complex area of law on which there is limited guidance; it is therefore important for the issues to be properly and fully examined. The Banks believe that the charges are both lawful and fair and that the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999 (‘UTCCR’) do not apply to these types of charges.
The first phase of the test case was heard in January and February 2008 in the High Court in London, with judgment being issued in April 2008.
The Court decided that the current charges are not penalties.
The Judge also found that the Banks' current terms are sufficiently clear to enable the typical consumer to have a proper understanding of them for sensible and practical purposes.
The Judge found that the terms and conditions relating to unarranged overdraft charges are assessable for fairness under the UTCCR. However, the Judge was explicit in stating that this does not mean they are unfair; he was not asked to rule on whether the Banks' terms were fair.
The Banks appealed the decision that unarranged overdraft fees are assessable for fairness under the UTCCR. The appeal hearing took place in the autumn of 2008. The Court of Appeal handed down its judgment in February 2009 reaching the same decision as the High Court, although for slightly different reasons. The Banks applied for and received permission to appeal this decision to the House of Lords (now called Supreme Court). This hearing concluded on 25 June 2009 and the judgment of the Supreme Court was handed down on 25 November 2009.
A short hearing took place in July 2008 to consider whether terms and conditions previously used by the Banks were capable of being penalties and in October 2008, the High Court issued its judgment in relation to this part of the test case. The Court invited RBS to make further submissions in relation to some of the terms and conditions previously used by it. Following a further hearing in December 2008, the Court issued its decision in January 2009. It found that all RBS terms considered were incapable of being a penalty.
All judgments in the test case are available via Judgments - Abbey National - Office of Fair Trading.
1. What will happen to customer complaints about unarranged overdraft charges?
RBS and the other banks involved in the test case are currently in discussions with the regulators to ensure that the outstanding customer complaints are brought to a swift conclusion. Once these matters have been finalised we will write to all affected customers to advise them of how we will resolve their complaint
2. What will happen to my court claim for a refund now?
Most county court cases have now been stayed, i.e. the county courts have decided that no further action should be taken in respect of them at this stage, while the test case proceeds. These stays have been put in place because the test case will give important guidance to the county courts as to how they should approach individual consumer cases as a matter of legal principle. It is important that all county courts adopt similar approaches to ensure fairness between claimants.
3. What will happen to customer complaints made through the Financial Ombudsman Service in the meantime?
We are currently in discussion with the regulators to ensure that customers are dealt with on a consistent basis in line with the judgment from the Supreme Court. For further information and updates please check the FOS website - Financial Ombudsman Service
4. What will happen next in the test case?
As the Supreme Court has found that RBS’s unarranged overdraft charges cannot be assessed for fairness under the UTCCR the test case proceedings are now concluded. RBS and the other banks involved in the test case are currently in discussions with the regulators to ensure that any outstanding matters are brought to a swift conclusion.
5. How long will it take until customer cases are finally resolved?
At this stage, it is impossible to say. The Banks are working closely with the regulators to understand how we can most appropriately and swiftly apply the Court’s decision to individual customer cases.
6. I am in financial difficulty - what can I do?
If you have financial problems, come and talk to us, and we will try to help you solve them. Depending on your circumstances, we could set regular or fixed repayments for debts, or we could reduce or suspend your repayments for a certain period.
If you have a more serious debt problem, we will work with you and put you in touch with organisations that offer help and advice to sort out your repayments and overcome your difficulties.
If you feel you need independent financial advice, we will be happy to direct you to someone, or to work with your chosen adviser.
The sooner you come to us, the more likely it is that we will be able to help.
7. Where can I find out more?
We will update this page with any developments in the proceedings.
You can contact us by calling on 0845 3030 442. Lines are open 9.00am-5.00pm Monday to Friday or 9.00am-1.00pm Saturday.
Alternatively you can find out more at the following websites:
The Financial Services Authority
The Office of Fair Trading
The Financial Ombudsman Service
BBA press release
Can i take it that they will probably send me a letter telling me Im getting nothing?.
If so, Can I claim by other means either in court or FOS bearing in mind Im in Scotland?
Thanks for any advice