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Certification of three class action suits against banks
Hundreds of million dollars at stake
Montreal, 6 novembre 2006 – Judge Clement Gascon of the Quebec Superior Court certified three class action suits brought by Quebec consumers against several major banks and the Fédération des caisses Desjardins du Quebec.

In so doing, the Court once more acknowledged that consumers have been penalized by commercial practices prohibited by the Consumer Protection Act with regard to variable credit contracts. “These class action suits affect every Canadian. Is there anyone who doesn’t have a credit card today? Millions of consumers just like us have paid hundreds of millions of dollars more than we should. It is imperative that justice be done and that the banks refund these sums to consumers,” declared Jean-Pierre Fafard of Sylvestre Fafard Painchaud, the law firm representing consumers in the class action suits.

The class action suits were initiated to contest the following commercial practices by financial institutions: imposing credit charges on credit card holders without respecting the 21-day grace period for paying off their monthly balance; billing consumers with illegal, abusive charges for exceeding their credit limit; and illegally requiring fixed charges for cash advances. “Such fixed charges are illegal and contravene the Consumer Protection Act,” says Jannick Desforges, the lawyer in charge of Legal Services at Option Consommateurs, an organization dedicated to the defense of consumers’ rights.

The financial institutions targeted by these class action suits are the Bank of Montreal, the Royal Bank of Canada, the Toronto-Dominion Bank, the Fédération des caisses Desjardins du Québec, The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), the Bank of Novia Scotia, National Bank of Canada, Laurentian Bank of Canada, Amex Bank of Canada, Citibank Canada, MNBA Canada, Diners Club International, Capital One, HSBC Canada, the Canadian Tire Bank, and the President’s Choice Bank.

We should stress that the suits have been certified for only some of these financial institutions. “Option consommateurs will therefore appeal in order to ensure that all consumers penalized by these abusive commercial practices are included,” Desforges added.

Sources: Jean-Pierre Fafard, lawyer
Sylvestre Fafard Painchaud S.E.N.C (514) 937-2881
Jannick Desforges, lawyer
Counsel, Legal Services, Option consommateurs (514) 598-7288
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