Should banks reimburse for overdraft fees?


It's a question that I never would have thought posing if it weren't for England's Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

He recently told the banks in England that he believes billions of pounds should be refunded to customers who were swindled out of their money by overdraft charges.

That got my attention, and so I've spent the last hour or so reading a lot of British newspapers online. Brown offered his opinion because the governmental department, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has concluded that the fees have been punitive, unfair and wrong.

That wound up bringing up a lawsuit, and the Supreme Court in England is currently weighing whether the OFT can determine if the bank charges are fair.

In a letter making his case for refunds, Brown stated, in part: "People need to have the confidence that, when they open an account, they will be treated fairly, charges and fees will be transparent and reasonable and that savings will be safe."

According to The Daily Mail, as much as $4 billion, and charges as old as the year 2001, could be refunded.