The firm is representing 150,000 people seeking compensation for consumer protection law violations
Auckland firm Russell Legal is leading the charge in a massive class action filed against leading banks ANZ and ASB.
Founder and principal Scott Russell announced that the suit had been launched in a LinkedIn post last week. The firm will be acting for 150,000 bank customers on what he said were “breaches of consumer protection law and refunds of interest and fees due.”
The matter is set to go before the Auckland High Court. Senior solicitor Karen Chow confirmed in a LinkedIn post that she would be working with Russell on the class action.
According to the class action, ANZ and ASB misled more than 170,000 borrowers by providing inaccurate information about the amount of interest due in relation to their home loan repayments, Newshub reported. ANZ and ASB had both confessed to responsible lending law violations; in accordance with Commerce Commission settlements, they had agreed to provide payouts to customers who were impacted by the breaches.
However, customers were not compensated with the full amount. Thus, the suit called for the banks to return the interest payments it had received from the borrowers.
“This is about accountability and fairness. All we're asking is that the banks comply with their legal obligations and refund their customers the money they are due to be refunded,” Russell, the lead solicitor on the class action, told Newshub.
ASB customer Bruno Bickerdale, one of the plaintiffs on the suit, explained that he was joining the class action to prevent similar breaches by banks in the future.
ANZ released a statement saying that it would defend itself against the allegations.
“More than $35m has been paid to customers. ANZ considers we have fairly remediated our customers,” the bank said.
ASB customer Anthony Simons told Newshub that he had taken out a $550,000 mortgage that meant he could be eligible for an interest refund amounting to $22,000. However, he received just $135 in compensation credit.
Nonetheless, Simons said that it was not about the money.
“It's about the trust. I just trust that the bank is going to do what they do and do the right thing, and they just haven't,” he said.