Customers split as OFT case goes into extra time

Nearly one in three customers would prefer banks continuing to impose unauthorised overdraft charges of up to £30 a time if it means that current accounts remain free, new research for MoneyExpert.com shows.

And it’s customers who have never paid a fee or who have paid them only a few times who are most likely to back unauthorised overdraft charges.

MoneyExpert.com is warning that the abolition of unauthorised overdraft charges could mean banks will introduce charges for all customers in a bid to maintain profits.

The High Court has so far ruled that the fees are not penalty charges and are explained to customers but has questioned whether the level of charges is fair. The banks maintain the charges are fair and have launched an appeal against the charges being assessed for fairness.

MoneyExpert.com’s research shows 30 per cent of customers believe charges should be imposed if it means that free banking survives. Around 20 per cent have never paid a fee while the rest only pay a fee on a few occasions.

Sean Gardner, founder of MoneyExpert.com, said: "Customers who have never paid a fee for an unauthorised overdraft understandably take a different view from those who have."

"People who’ve paid charges are also understandably keen to get their money back and are convinced the banks have been unfair."

"The worry however is that the banks have a lot to lose if the case goes against them and if they lose they will look to get their money back. We’ll get rid of one set of charges only to be stung with a whole other set of charges."

Notes
* ICM Research interviewed a random sample of 1003 adults aged 18+ by telephone between 16-17th April 2008. Interviews were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults

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