Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) has been named as the first target in a class action style law suit being taken by Auckland barrister Andrew Hooker.

Fair Play on Fees founder, Andrew Hooker said at a media conference that "ANZ has overcharged hundreds of millions of dollars over the past six years; their customers have come to us in droves, with over 11,000 signing up in the past three months. We expect thousands more to join them over the next week."

The campaign, launched in March, claims that the "exception fees" charged by banks have reached at least $1bn in the last six years.

Kerri Thompson, managing director of retail, ANZ, said of the campaign: "We do believe that we have a very strong case, and we’ll vigorously defend this." She added that because of the large size of the bank it had become a target, but it was still a surprise.

Thompson also claimed that the bank had reviewed its exception fees a number of times and said: "We absolutely believe that we’ve got good quality data that backs up the justification for these fees."

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The class action, which more than 24,000 people have signed up to so far, will claim repayment for default fees charged by ANZ and its former subsidiary National Bank over the past six years, including fees for unarranged overdrafts, rejected payments on deposit accounts, and late payment on credit cards or exceeding a credit limits.

The papers are due to be filed at the High Court in Auckland on 25 June.

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