OFT tipped for Europe fight over charges

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) could take its case against bank charges to the European Court, an expert has suggested.

Chartered financial planner for Informed Choice Martin Bamford suggested this is one of the options the regulator may consider after losing its Supreme Court test case yesterday.

He added that an alternative to further confrontation may be one of “positive engagement” with banks, in which it will “encourage them to improve their charging practices for all consumers”.

Mr Bamford also predicted that despite winning the case, banks will implement “more transparent banking charges in the future”, something that could be good news for customers.

Yesterday’s judgement found that charges such as a penalty for exceeding an overdraft are outside the scope of the OFT’s right to judge the fairness of consumer contracts, as they are “ancillary” rather than “core” elements of such agreements.

Responding to the judgement, the body said it will consider the implications of the ruling before announcing its next move on the issue in December.

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