Chester, UK (PRWEB) September 18, 2007
Marketrix Ltd, who specialise in the financial services sector, had surveyed online loan applicants if they would be interested in an online service to recover unfair bank charges and over 80% of respondents said they would.
Steve Jennings of Marketrix said, "We'd discussed the idea with our lawyers to see if they'd be interested in handling the claims and they were keen to give it a go so we decided to test the market and see what the potential take up would be, in the first two weeks of operation over 400 people had registered a claim and that was without any real marketing."
Just a week before launch it looked like all could be lost though when the Office of Fair Trading announced it's intention to take the banks to the high court.
Gerard Reilly of the law firm Allison and Reilly told us, "We had advised the team at Marketrix that we'd be happy to handle the claims, but under the new regulatory system they should be authorised by the Ministry of Justice as a claims management company, which can be a lengthy process, but Marketrix completed successfully, and naturally when the test case was announced Steve thought it had all been for nothing."
Gerard went on to explain that there had been considerable misunderstanding by much of the public as to the status of new bank charges claims, "the public should continue to register their claims, at worst it will be put on hold pending the outcome of the test case."
However some claims continue to be handled, in the past few weeks a judge has stated that stays would not be granted automatically with cases going ahead in some areas. "A lot of areas are seeing the need to stay cases," said a spokesman for the Judicial Communications Office (JCO).
In August a judge at Clerkenwell & Shoreditch county court, refused to stay a claim after the bank in question filed just four lines in defence, which the judge said amounted to a "bare denial".
Gerard also predicted that the case may not even reach the court "it would be naive to think that the banks legal teams did not look at the situation very carefully before they issued any refunds in the first place, and the fact that the banks have already refunded hundreds of millions of pounds would set a precedent to suggest they suspect the charges are indeed legally unfair", (at the end of July 2007 the five big high street banks admitted they had already refunded £339m of bank charges in the first six months of the year).
"In light of this I'd suspect both the OFT and the banks may seek to come to an agreement before the case reaches court. A lengthy and expensive case that they ultimately loose would be yet more bad PR for the banking sector, and a cynic might say that the run up to Christmas may be a good time for the banks to offer customers and the OFT a deal," Gerard said.
In the event that a deal was agreed it would probably mean the banks significantly lowering their charges, and if that were the case customers claiming could expect a refund of all 'overcharges'.
The new ClaimingBackBankCharges.com service allows disgruntled bank customers to sign up online via a simple secure form, which is intelligent enough to check the bank details are correct and then instructs Allison and Reilly to act on the claimants behalf.
Allison and Reilly then contact the banks direct to obtain the figures needed to calculate the total charges going back 6 years, all at no cost to the client (banks can charge up to £10 to provide copy statements to customers). The cases will then be pursued on a no win no fee basis.
"All in all it's not going to cost you anything to register your bank charges claim and you won't even need to contact your bank, so regardless of what happens with the case what have you got to loose. Everyone in our office, including me, has already used the site," Steve Jennings said.