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100,000 Aussies could score up to $10k refund in Westpac lawsuit

Jessica Yun
·2-min read
A man walks past a Westpac bank sign in Melbourne's central business district on May 4, 2020. - Westpac on May 4 announced its half-year net profit had fallen 62 percent, making it the latest Australian bank to see profits dive during the coronavirus crisis. (Photo by William WEST / AFP) (Photo by WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo by WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images)

Up to 100,000 Australians who may have been slugged with excessively high insurance fees by Westpac could be eligible for compensation, according to Shine Lawyers.

Westpac employees regularly upsold or funnelled customers into expensive insurance products when cheaper options were available, according to Shine Lawyers national class actions leader Jan Saddler.

In 2017, the law firm launched a lawsuit against Westpac with the Federal Court, alleging that the bank breached their obligations by charging their own customers more for Westpac products.

The average Westpac customer was overcharged between 4.5 per cent and 10 per cent in annual premiums, according to Shine’s investigations.

Most of this conduct has gone undetected as people tend to trust their banks, Saddler said, making this behaviour a “slap in the face”.

“We allege Westpac quietly and systematically pilfered excessive fees from their own customers to make millions in profits at the expense of those customers,” Saddler said.

Australians who believe they may be affected should find out if they are eligible and want to be part of the class action, she said.

“Not only does Westpac need to be called out for its premium rort but it also needs to compensate its customers.”

A Westpac spokesperson told Yahoo Finance that it would not be commenting as the matter was currently in legal proceedings.

Are you eligible for the class action?

If you bought insurance from Westpac Life after 21 February 2011 based on a recommendation from a financial adviser from Westpac, St George Bank, Bank of Melbourne, BankSA or BT Advice, you may be eligible.

And if you join the class action, you could be up for a claim of at least $1,000, and in some cases as much as $10,000, said Saddler.

“This case allows people to fight for their money back with the strength in numbers afforded to them by a class action.”

You can register for Shine Lawyers’ Westpac class action on their website.

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