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OFT Court Case Ruling


On the 25th November 2009 the Supreme Court confirmed that the Banks' unarranged overdraft charges are an important part of current account services which the Banks provide to their customers and that the amount of those charges is not assessable for fairness.

The Bank acknowledges the decision of the Supreme Court to allow their appeal in respect of these charges. This issue has been of real concern to a large number of customers and this decision now brings clarity for all parties.

The OFT announced on 22nd December 2009 that it has decided against taking forward its investigation into the fairness of the Banks' unarranged overdraft charges.

The Banks will work with the regulators to ensure that the outstanding customer complaints are brought to a swift conclusion.

Please refer to the BBA’s websites for further information (

Frequently Asked Questions

What was the test case about?

The case was brought by the banking industry and the OFT to bring clarity and legal certainty to an important and complex legal point.  It dealt with:

  1. Whether the Banks' unarranged overdraft charges were capable of amounting to penalties; and
  2. Whether or not the level of those charges could be assessed for fairness under the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999 (UTCCR).

What has happened?

The High Court previously found that unarranged overdraft charges are not penalties (this decision is unaffected by this judgment).  Today, the Supreme Court found that they are prices for services and cannot be assessed for fairness under the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contract Regulations 1999 (UTCCR). 

Can the OFT challenge the Supreme Court's decision?

No.  The Supreme Court is the final court of appeal in the UK.  The Supreme Court, in its judgment, has expressly declined to refer the case to the European Court of Justice for a further ruling.

What will happen to my complaint - will I ever get my money back?

The Supreme Court’s ruling supports the Banks' view that there are no valid grounds on which customers can rely in order to reclaim the unarranged overdraft charges that they have paid. 

What will happen to the Waiver previously granted by the FSA?

The Waiver has now lapsed and the Bank will now be writing to customers in accordance with FSA rules. 

Where can I find out more?

You can contact us through your branch or by calling us on 0800 22 24 26, choosing Option 6 and then Option 1.

Alternatively, you can find more information through the following links:

The British Bankers’ Association
The Financial Service Authority
The Office of Fair Trading:
The Financial Ombudsman Service:
The Financial Ombudsman Service FAQ's

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