“Settlement fee for death” and other fees are not permitted
Vienna (OTS / VKI) – On behalf of the Ministry of Social Affairs, the Association for Consumer Information (VKI) sued easybank AG for several clauses in their terms and conditions, including clauses in the contractual terms for debit and credit cards. Among other things, it was about unjustified fees and excessive consumer due diligence. The Supreme Court (OGH) has now classified the majority of the indicted clauses as illegal. Affected customers have claims for reimbursement.
In the terms and conditions for the credit card, a “settlement fee death” was set at 150 euros. The clause is not transparent because it is not clear what the “settlement fee for death” is charged for. In addition, the Supreme Court judges the clause to be grossly disadvantageous because the bank transfers the costs of fulfilling its statutory obligations to the estate court and the court commissioner in the event of the customer’s death. According to the Supreme Court, there is no objective justification for generally passing on the costs associated with fulfilling your own legal obligation.
Another clause determined a fee for the “legal case processing” in the amount of 100 euros. The Supreme Court also judges this clause to be inadmissible because it does not clearly state the prerequisites for remuneration offsetting. Since this amount is charged completely independently of the fault of the customer, the clause is also grossly disadvantageous.
Another clause provided that a manipulation fee of 1.5 percent would be charged for credit card transactions carried out outside the European Union in euros. According to the determination, whether such a transaction is outside the European Union or not was assessed on the basis of the respective location of the contractor. According to the Supreme Court, this clause is inadmissible: On the one hand, because it remains unclear how exactly the word “location” is to be understood. On the other hand, because the clause refers to the current price sheet. This is a dynamic reference and consequently a one-sided price change option, which ultimately violates the consumer protection law.
In addition, clauses were judged to be unlawful that provided consumers with excessive due diligence, notification and reporting obligations, as well as the clause that contained an inadmissible blocking fee for blocking cards.
“We assume that tens of thousands of consumers are affected by these inadmissible fees. Consumers who had to pay the fees and charges in question to the bank now have a claim for reimbursement. The VKI will start talks with Bawag PSK, with which easybank AG was merged at the beginning of 2020, on processing in the interests of consumers ”, says Mag. Thomas Hirmke, Head of Legal at VKI.
SERVICE: The full text of the judgment is available at www.verbübersrecht.at.
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