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11 September 2015
The class action run by lawfirm Maurice Blackburn v ANZ

15 November 2010
And still the banks persist in illegal “con”tracts. Please see the extract from Bankwest’s conditions of use booklet

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Banks Are Thieves
John Curtis, NSW


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2nd Newsletter - 18th January 2008


On 6/11/07 I received a credit card statement on which appeared two penalty fees; one for late payment, one for exceeding my credit limit.  I rang the bank and told them the fees were illegal and why, (see Introduction page) and within two minutes was offered the fees back “as a gesture of goodwill although we do not accept that the fees are illegal”.  I accepted the offer, then said that I wished to be paid 10 x the fees as compensation for their attempted fraud, a civil and criminal offence. 

I was asked to state my claim in writing, which I did, to the Manager of their Customer Conflict Resolution Team, and after receiving no substantive reply, emailed the bank giving it 48 hours to pay the sum demanded, or I would instigate proceedings in the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal (CTTT), demanding 10 x the fees as compensation, or punitive damages.  The ultimatum time limit passed, and I duly filed suit. 

One week before the hearing date in the CTTT, I received an offer of settlement from the bank. As part of the deal I was asked to agree to keep the details of the offer and the bank’s name confidential, which I was prepared to do, but can say that the offer, which I accepted, was most satisfactory. The email stating my claim appears following. Interestingly, it has come to light since that the CTTT cannot award punitive damages; the lowest court that can in NSW is the General Division of the Local Court.

ATTENTION: ......... Manager, Customer Conflict Resolution Team.

Dear ..... ,

On my most recent Mastercard statement are two $.... fees, one overlimit, one late payment.  As your bank is well aware, these fees are illegal due to being excessive, i.e. the work or cost caused to your bank by my paying late and going overlimit is not worth $... in each case; in fact the only work your bank has done is printed the two fees on my account; at what cost, a few cents?

Attempting to deceive a customer such as myself into believing that the fee is legal and therefore payable, when your bank knows full well that it is NOT LEGAL AND NOT PAYABLE is a criminal offence called attempted fraud.  If the fee is paid, then it is simply fraud.

Your credit card contract with me which comprises the letter of offer and the Terms and Conditions booklet states that your bank reserves the right to increase fees, charges and interest rates, and impose new fees and charges without the consent of and with little or no notice to a cardholder, breaching one of six contract conditions with which any contract must comply in order to be legal.  This is the condition that is called "sufficient certainty of terms".  Obviously if all the aforementioned can be varied at the whim of your bank, by as much as it likes, whenever it likes, there is not sufficient certainty of terms; in fact there is practically NO certainty of terms.

Yes, banks must make a profit, but I would argue that the profit should be made ethically and honestly, not from dishonesty and pure esurience.

My website,, lays out quite clearly that my objective is for banks/financial institutions to have fair, legal contracts, e.g the same interest rate for both purchases and cash advances, and reasonable fees and charges only applied when absolutely necessary.  You will see too that Senator Fielding is seeking to have a bill passed which will address the problem of excessive, illegal fees.

Both .... and ... quickly offered my fees back which suggests, as I'm sure you have known ever since they were introduced, that your fees will not stand scrutiny in a court of law.  I therefore demand ten times the fees you sought to illegally impose by way of compensation.  If I were to take it to court I might well ask for, and be awarded, far more,as punitive damages.

I look forward to receiving $... back, this being the fees, and $... compensation for your bank's attempted fraud.

I wish you a lucrative and salubrious day.


On another note, if the bill proposed by Senator Fielding is passed into law, all the penalty fees (for late monthly credit card payment etc.) will become history. The full transcript of it appears here.

Should this proposed piece of legislation be passed into law, then the only things that will need regulating are the interest rates and non-penalty fees and charges to ensure that they are no longer excessive, as at present; and account contracts themselves, many of which contain illegal terms and conditions.  Legislation setting out what fees, charges and interest rates are permitted, and that they must be reasonable and not excessive, and what terms and conditions are proscribed, must be passed into law.