How a class action could help you claw back money from the banks


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Hundreds of thousands of customers could get money back from class action suits against the big banks

It is time to join a class action - if you qualify - to get back your funds gouged by the big banks and AMP over the years.

Illegal overcharging by financial institutions was laid bare by the royal commission into financial misconduct.

bank amp class action

Banks and AMP typically were charging members jaw-droppingly high fees, and also charging them for services they didn't actually provide. The amounts involved could be significant because the overcharging has gone on for years.

Several class actions are being run. There is no cost to join and some law firms will tell you there is no risk.

Typically they work with litigation funders that meet the legal costs in exchange for a share of the recovered money.

For example, a third of Australians could be in for a refund from their super fund if they join Slater and Gordon's Get Your Super Back campaign.

It believes that hundreds of thousands of members could receive more than $500 million in total.

The law firm is alleging that Colonial First State Super (owned by the Commonwealth Bank) and AMP failed to obtain the most competitive interest rate available for its super members when they invested in the cash asset class with its parent company's funds.

This action is open to members of various AMP and FirstChoice super and pension funds with some assets in cash.

"In the royal commission, it was revealed that some AMP super fund members were getting negative returns on the cash held for them by AMP," says Ben Hardwick, head of class actions at Slater and Gordon.

Slater and Gordon has also launched a class action against NAB and MLC on behalf of customers who were sold credit card insurance for life and income protection but were ineligible to claim under the terms of the policy.

Another law firm, Maurice Blackburn, is running a class action against AMP for charging fees for no service and misleading the regulator, ASIC, about its actions.

Another case is for Commonwealth Bank shareholders who suffered losses when the share price fell following legal proceedings brought by AUSTRAC against the bank.

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Susan has been a finance journalist for more than 30 years, beginning at the Australian Financial Review before moving to the Sydney Morning Herald. She edited a superannuation magazine, Superfunds, for the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia, and writes regularly on superannuation and managed funds. She's also author of the best-selling book Women and Money.

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