The decision of the Supreme Court to rule in favour of the UK banks in their case against the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has been labelled a 'shock.'
It had been expected that the court would allow the OFT to consider what constituted a fair bank charge, paving the way for consumers to claim back billions of pounds in overdraft fees.
However, over a million people were left disappointed this morning with the news that banks would not have to pay back the charges.
"The shock decision by the Supreme Court is going to leave some consumers even more disillusioned with banks. Consumers have seen billions of pounds pumped into a number of banks, but many feel they have seen little benefit," commented Michelle Slade, spokesperson for Moneyfacts.co.uk.
Delivering his verdict, the Supreme Court's president, Lord Phillips, did offer consumers slight hope, saying that the OFT could challenge the fairness of bank charges under other regulation.
"Consumers will be hoping the OFT continues to pursue the case and that it looks down other potential avenues," added Ms Slade.
Consumer groups have expressed their disappointment, with Which? describing the verdict as 'a bitter blow for millions of people who have been patiently waiting to get their bank charges back.'
The Financial Services Consumer Panel also spoke out against the decision, criticising banks for funding their retail banking operations through charging high rates to one section to their customers.
In a statement, the British Banking Association said: "The Banks acknowledge the unanimous decision of the Supreme Court to allow their appeal in respect of these charges.
"We recognise this issue has been of real concern to a large number of our customers and we are pleased that this decision now brings clarity for all parties.
"The Banks will work with the regulators to ensure that the outstanding customer complaints are brought to a swift conclusion. We will also continue to work together with the OFT in connection with its on-going Market study."
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