COUNCIL CALLS RBF TO REVIEW FINANCIAL AND BANKING SECTOR FEES AND CHARGES

Caption: Premila Kumar. File Photo.

Australian consumers had a historical win when a recent Australian Federal Court decision found ANZ Bank in Australia had charged its consumers what it called “extravagant, exorbitant and unconscionable” late payment fees on credit cards. The class action sought to prove ANZ?s honour, dishonour, late and non-payment and over-limit fees were unfair penalties that didn?t reflect the true cost to the bank.

The landmark case sets the precedent for consumers in Fiji to seek the commercial banks operating in the country to charge reasonable credit card fees and charges. Accordingly, the Consumer Council of Fiji calls on the RBF and the financial sector in Fiji to do the right thing by reviewing and revising their fees and charges.

The court had found that ANZ was charging Australian consumers $20 or $35 fee when the true cost to the bank ranged from $0.50 to $5.50. In Fiji, ANZ and BSP charge a maximum of $20 late payment fees on credit card while Westpac charges $15. The Reserve Bank of Fiji allows for a maximum fee of $20 to be charged.

For a very long time the Council has been advocating for fair and reasonable fees and charges, including all other banking services charges, for Fiji consumers. The Reserve Bank of Fiji being the industry regulator should review all bank fees and charges to ensure banks are recovering their true cost and not indulging in profit making.

Ms. Premila Kumar
Chief Executive Officer