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OFT Test case: What this means for you


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Whilst the news of a test case by the OFT is very much welcomed and has been a long time coming, I'm sure many of you are wondering where this leaves your claim.

 

The agreement between OFT & 7 banks makes reference to the fact that it will be up to individual courts to decide whether cases be stayed or whether they should be allowed to continue. FOS is to suspend all investigations relating to bank charges and banks are freed from having to investigate complaints.

 

If you have already issued a court claim then continue as normal until you hear otherwise from your court. Make sure you continue to comply with any orders and attend any hearings. Do be prepared for the fact that the court may issue a stay pending the outcome of the test case and this could take some time.

 

If you have not yet issued a court claim do stick with your time table as before and issue a claim. If you do not issue a claim until after the test case, you may lose the right to claim some of the older charges under the Limitation Act. Your claim may well be stayed but at least you have your foot in the door and will therefore be at the front of the queue when it comes to payouts after a successful test case.

 

The OFT is relying on both unlawful penalties and UTCCRs in its submissions and therefore will affect all claims. The banks involved represent 90% of all UK banks and those who are not involved in the action have agreed to be bound by the decision. What is not clear is whether they will be investigating business bank accounts in addition to personal bank accounts.

 

The test case if successful on the substantive issue of fairness will go on to consider issues of limitation and restitution.

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