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18 May 2006
The OFT announced on 5 April at a press conference that we considered credit card default fees had generally been set at too high a level and OFT set a threshold for intervention on credit card default fees for the banks. We asked for their responses and proposals by 31 May. We said:
'The OFT now expects all credit card issuers to recalculate their default charges in line with the principles set out in the statement, and to confirm by 31 May their response and willingness to make any necessary adjustments to their fees. Credit card issuers should treat fee adjustments as a matter or exceptional priority. The OFT also calls on banks and other financial businesses to apply the same principles when calculating default charges in other consumer contracts such as bank overdrafts, store card contracts and mortgages where and as appropriate.
'As a provisional step to speed compliance, the OFT has decided that it is appropriate to give priority to addressing default charges which exceed a threshold of £12. This is less than half the figure charged by many credit card issuers at the moment. The OFT's presumption will be that credit card default charges that are in excess of £12 are unfair, unless there are limited, exceptional factors in play, for example where a card issuer has a policy of requiring customers to pay minimum monthly repayments by direct debits, such as that operated by Egg, and offers credit cards only to customers that satisfy a relatively high scoring requirement.'
Therefore, there is no change to the position as set out on 5 April. We expect responses from the banks on credit card default fees by 31 May 2006.
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