WHAT THE PAPERS SAY: Bank charges are media dynamite

Leading high street banks were put on the rack again as news emerged that the OFT will be taking them to the High Court to help determine whether overdraft charges are fair or not...

The issue was variously presented as either an agreement between the watchdog and eight of the leading lenders (Reuters, 27 July) or a ‘victory for consumers’ (Daily Mail, 26 July). However, such a victory could mean new charges to cover the deficit, spelling the end for free banking.

The downside for customers engaged in disputes is that the FSA agreed banks could suspend the handling of claims until the case is resolved – a situation that some commentators believe could take years.

Within days, however, the FSA rebuked the banks for making false or misleading statements to customers: ‘Lies, scams and threats’, blasted the The Times (28 ­July), detailing various ways in which customers are allegedly penalised for daring to take action against their banks. Consumer champion Which? hailed it as a ‘victory for common sense’ (thisismoney.co.uk, 27 July) but ­investment website every­investor.co.uk dryly noted that ‘when it comes to banking, the banks never really lose’ (30 July).

Analysis conducted by Echo Research from data supplied to PRWeek from NewsNow.

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