SYDNEY, May 30 (Xinhua) — Australia’s financial regulator, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), has decided to sue Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd (ANZ) for allegedly misleading and overcharged customers.
ASIC said Monday that in the span of two years of investigation, 165,750 ANZ customers were charged cash advance fees and interest to withdraw or transfer money based on of an incorrectly displayed balance.
The commission also said the bank has not adequately addressed the issue as customers continue to be affected.
“We are concerned that, over a long period, ANZ has overestimated the funds and balances available in credit card accounts, and yet charged fees and interest to customers who relied on this information when making withdrawals,” said Sarah Court, vice president of ASIC.
The court noted that in some cases unique customers were unfairly charged thousands of Australian dollars in fees, and the average cost to those affected was 47 Australian dollars (34 US dollars).
“This alleged misconduct is the result of system errors within ANZ and a lack of effort to address these issues comprehensively,” the court said. “We say ANZ has known about the illegal charge since at least 2018 and the problem persists today.”
While ANZ has reimbursed losses of more than 10 million Australian dollars (around US$7.2 million) to affected customers up to November 2018, the commission said it has yet to remediate customers. affected after this date.
The filing would see ASIC seek sanctions from the bank and would also require ANZ to implement a system change that would correctly display customer funds.