National plaintiff law firm Shine Lawyers is calling for more to be done to protect Australian consumers and give them access to justice, following this week's Banking Royal Commission report.
While welcoming the report, Shine’s Head of Litigation and Loss Recovery, Jan Saddler says the hearings highlighted how financial institutions admitted to wrongdoing but paid consumers very little or no compensation to right those wrongs.
“This conduct conveys the message that financial institutions will not undertake action to redress wrongdoings without being compelled to do so by further regulatory or legal action,” Ms. Saddler says.
While the Hayne Report is limited in its scope with regard to remedying historic wrongdoings, she says the Royal Commission has benefited the public by providing greater transparency of such misconduct.
“Consumers would previously have been unaware of the blatantly selfish and greedy behaviour of these financial institutions,” Ms. Saddler says.
“Armed with this knowledge, Australian consumers can be proactive in seeking the redress they deserve.
“This knowledge also enables plaintiff lawyers, including those in the Shine Lawyers’ Class Actions team, to assist the Australian consumers in their plight for access to justice.”
Despite the attention drawn to the misbehaviour of the big banks, Shine Lawyers professional negligence expert Joseph Crane doubts much will change.
Mr. Crane says more teeth will be given to corporate regulators ASIC and AFCA but says the enormous resources of the Big Four banks sees wronged consumers pitted into a “David vs Goliath battle” to be compensated for their losses.
“The report has very little in the way of recourse for consumers who have been wronged,” Mr. Crane says.
“The current dispute resolution system requires consumers to engage the banks’ internal dispute resolution procedure.
“Banks regularly take this opportunity to browbeat consumers into submission, using their extensive experience and knowledge to convince lay people with little to no financial acumen that they have no claim and that they should compromise for a few cents on the dollar.
“If consumers make their way through this process and engage AFCA, they come up against the same problem. The banks far outweigh consumers in terms of knowledge of consumer law, financial claims, and calculation of losses.”
Written by Shine Lawyers. Last modified: February 6, 2019.