FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 16 November 2007
Craig Harwood PH 0418280064
Voters demand Rudd and Howard declare position on Bank Fees
Internet age voters are striking back with a petition and blog being launched to give voters a voice on Illegal bank penalty fees.
Spokesman Craig Harwood said that since the release of The 2004 Rich Report, the banking industry and the Government became aware that the penalty fees charged by banks (such as Honor / Dishonor fees) are illegal. The law only entitles banks to recover their costs not to profit from these fees.
In the UK Banks have now handed back over a Billion Pounds wrongly deducted from customers accounts and the UK Government, via the UK Office of Fair Trading, has moved to formally set maximum amounts that banks can charge.
In Australia however despite this knowledge the Howard Government has failed to act, with hundreds of millions of dollars being taken from Australian bank accounts illegally. Mr. Harwood said banks are continuing to take these fees from customer’s accounts and only under direct threat of court action from individual customers are they refunding these fees.
The Government has failed to act on this issue and in fact has used its majority in the senate to delay a report into the issue. The report from a Senate investigation into this matter resulting from a private members Bill by Senator Steve Fielding has been delayed until after the election in order to avoid the matter becoming an election issue.
For the last 3 months Mr. Harwood has been assisting people to recover unfair bank fees through his site www.loanchecker.com.au where consumers can download a free report and letters to send to their bank to demand the return of these fees.
Mr. Harwood said that it was frustrating that the Howard Government failed to act and that has actually attempted to bury the issue in the lead up to the election. We know the big four banks make large donations to both parties but it is time for politicians to declare their independence from campaign contributors and undertake to protect the voting public as is their duty.
“It is our intention with this Petition to put the issue back on the election agenda and for both parties to publicly confirm that they will act to enforce the return of these penalty fees to banking customers” said Mr. Harwood.
The problem is incredibly wide spread with millions of Australians and small businesses affected. This issue has the capacity to determine the outcome of the election.
Our politicians are charged with the responsibility of creating a fair and equitable financial system and ensuring that sufficient resources are directed towards consumer protection and control of criminal corporate activity.
The bottom line is that no matter what way you look at this, it is certainly Australia’s largest ever case of institutionalised fraud and it has been happening with the government’s full knowledge.
“We are calling for all politicians to declare their position on this matter” said Mr. Harwood.
The petition can be found at