The Supreme Court is due to give its verdict on the subject of unfair bank charges on Wednesday. If the banks are on the wrong end of the decision then, according to Which?, another Eight million claimants may step forward to reclaim their charges. The banks have already paid back nearly Â£560 million to many thousands of customers before the cases were frozen when this latest test case was launched. Eight million more claimants will increase this figure astronomically.The banks will try to drag out the process for as long as possible so there is not expected to be a flood of payouts after Wednesday.
But what it will hopefully do is settle once and for all what a fair charge is and how it should be applied.
But under contract law just repaying the charges may not be enough. The amount claimable by consumers may be increased substantially by adding interest and also damages claimable.
There are also questions about how proactive the banks will have to be. Do claimants claim? Or do the banks have to actively trawl their accounts to repay the charges.
There are also worries that banks may make it difficult for people to get the data they need to make a claim. The FSA needs to ensure that banks are forced to comply and also not be allowed to destroy data over 6 years old that may help them reduce losses.
There also needs to be a decision on how far back the claims can go. Six years is the norm, but the freeze on claims allows it to go back to 2001. Under law however it could go back as far as 1995.
Some of these charges have caused real hardship, how will this be assessed and compensated for?
There are so many more aspects to this, which will mean that there will be no speedy resolution. But to many not so far affected there will be a sting in the tale. The probable imposition of charges for all banking services.