Fight back for your bank fees

Reporter: Jonathan Creek

This is your opportunity to take back what is yours and what the banks should not have taken from you.

With application fees, ATM fees and interest from a record level of loans, banks are achieving record profits. Last year, we paid the banks $4 billion in fees many of us did not even notice. If you have ever been late paying off your credit card, overdrawn your account or bounced a debit payment, the chances are you have paid a penalty fee. But thousands of Australians are fed-up and are now fighting back and they have the money to show for it.

Adam Bell copped a $45 dishonour fee from St George bank when a monthly direct debit for $58 left his account over drawn. "$45 was definitely excessive and when I enquired whether the bank was making a profit on that amount I was told that they weren't and that it was covering the cost of stationary etc human resources involved to facilitate the dishonour," Adam said. When he checked his account history he discovered it was not the first time. So he took the fight straight to his bank.

"I think a lot of people would be a little bit intimidated by the process, the customer service representatives who I spoke to, certainly put me on hold a few times and did make it quite difficult and put up arguments why the fees should remain there and only on my insistence that I was finally granted two fee reversals," he added. One of australia's busiest websites is now Choice and the Consumer Action Law Centre, which launched http://www.fairfees.com.au/.

Consumers can use this site to download legal letters to send to their banks demanding a 'fair go' when it comes to fees. Carolyn Bond from the Consumer Action Law Centre says the letters provide an easy way for bank customers to lodge legitimate complaints without incurring often expensive legal fees.

"We have had about 8000 consumers download the letter to send to their banks," she said.

To find out more and to download the letter you can use to take on your bank go to http://www.fairfees.com.au/