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Commercial Court - 17 illegal clauses at Bank Austria

Published: July 5, 2010; 00:00 · (Vindobona)

17 clauses at Bank Austria conflict with the new payment service law, according to the Vienna Commercial Court.

Commercial Court - 17 illegal clauses at Bank Austria / Picture: © Uni Credit Group Bank Austria

The clauses however were formulated to adapt to these new laws.

The Consumer Information Association (VKI) sued on behalf of the Consumer Protection Ministry the Bank Austria (BA) Group action abolish the 17 terms in its GTC. The case against BA was vicariously initiated for several banks, who newly formulated their clauses.

New clauses for new law

On 11/01/2009, the new Payment Services Act was implemented with a series of innovations to protect the consumer. In summer 2009, banks had adjusted its GTC and obtained agreement of their customers. "The banks have tried to formulate at the limit of statutory provisions - in 17 cases they have exceeded this limit clearly," according to Peter Kolba

Main criticism: Amendment of future conditions

The respective clauses concern the way in which business conditions and charges may be changed in the future, the risk for abuse between customer and bank, and regulations for the reimbursement of expenses.

"The banks want the automatically adjust fees to the consumer price index anually, which can usually increases. The Payment Services Act provides for such a price adjustment clauses, but only at agreed interest rates and exchange rates. In all other cases - such as the fees for current accounts - the bank must communicate the change to the customer, who can then object", illustrates VKI-lawyer Julia Jungwirth.

The Commercial Court of Vienna has now approved the case. The verdict is not final, the VKI anticipates an appeal.

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