Australia's Federal Court has found late fees charged on the cards could be characterised as a penalty and may be legally unenforceable.
This court ruling against ANZ Bank has been described as a "great leap for Australian consumers".
But honour fees, dishonour fees, over-limit fees and non-payment fees were not characterised as a penalty but as fees for services provided by the bank, Justice Michelle Gordon found in a judgment.
The ruling was handed down in a class action brought by litigation funder IMF Australia and lawyers Maurice Blackburn, which was claiming over A$50 million for 27,199 customers over alleged fee gouging.
Justice Gordon said consideration of the quantum for late payment fees on credit cards and whether their size was out of proportion to the likely damage suffered by ANZ, would be deferred to a later hearing.
Thirteen other bank fees were found by Justice Gordon not to be penalties and IMF said it would consider appealing the decisions.
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