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ANZ ‘misled’ customers then ‘charged thousands’ in fees: ASIC

·Personal Finance Editor
·2-min read
A person holding $100 Australian notes and the ANZ logo on the exterior of a building.
ANZ has been accused of displaying incorrect account balances to customers and then charging them overdraft fees if they spent too much. (Source: Getty)

ANZ has been accused of misleading customers about their available funds and then charging them overdraft fees if they spend too much.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) launched proceedings against the bank in the Federal Court.

ASIC alleged that between May 2016 and November 2018, around 165,750 ANZ customers were charged cash-advance fees and interest for withdrawing or transferring money from their credit card accounts based on an incorrect account balance.

ASIC said the incorrect balances were displayed to customers on the ANZ website, ANZ App and at ATMs.

ASIC also alleged ANZ had not adequately fixed the problem and that customers continued to be affected.

“We are concerned that, over a long period of time, ANZ overstated the available funds and balances on credit card accounts, and nonetheless charged fees and interest to customers who relied on this information when making withdrawals,” ASIC deputy chair Sarah Court said.

“In some cases, single customers were charged thousands of dollars in fees while the average cash advance fees and interest charged per affected account was $47.”

Court said the alleged misconduct was the result of errors within ANZ and the “lack of effort” to comprehensively fix the issue.

“We say that ANZ has been aware of the unlawful charging since at least 2018 and the problem is still occurring today,” she said.

What is ANZ accused of?

ASIC has claimed that from May 2016 to September 2021 the bank made “false or misleading” representations to customers about how much money they had in their account.

ASIC also alleged ANZ failed to fix the issue and customers were still being affected to this day.

To date, ANZ had returned around $10 million to customers who were affected up until November 17, 2018 - but those who had since been affected had not received any money back, ASIC alleged.

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