ASIC has announced that it has commenced civil penalty proceedings in the Federal Court against the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), alleging that CBA engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct and contravened its obligation as an Australian financial services licensee to comply with financial services laws to provide financial services efficiently, honestly and fairly by charging monthly access fees to customers when it was not entitled to do so.
ASIC alleges that, between 1 June 2010 and 11 September 2019, CBA incorrectly charged monthly access fees to customers who were entitled to fee waivers because they met certain criteria under their contracts with the bank. It says that almost $55 million in fees were charged to nearly one million customers and more than 800,000 accounts.
ASIC alleges that CBA incorrectly charged monthly access fees to customers entitled to fee waivers due to systems and processes that were inadequate or improperly configured in 30 different ways, as well as due to manual errors made by CBA staff.
ASIC also alleges that each time CBA charged the fees or notified a customer via bank statement of the charging of each fee, it made false or misleading representations that it was contractually entitled to charge the fees when it was not.
Further, ASIC alleges that each time CBA entered into a contract with a customer to establish an account where a fee waiver may apply, it made false or misleading representations that it would have adequate systems and processes in place to provide the fee waivers, when it did not.
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Author: David Jacobson
Principal, Bright Corporate Law
About David Jacobson
The information contained in this article is not legal advice. It is not to be relied upon as a full statement of the law. You should seek professional advice for your specific needs and circumstances before acting or relying on any of the content.