Excessive loan fees: you can do that

About two years ago , the ASD ruled that excessive processing fees for borrowers were inadmissible. The trigger for this were then plaintiffs who acted against claims of various banks. In order for fees unduly paid to be reimbursed by the bank, it is essential to deal with those responsible in written form. We’ll show you what to look for and how to act properly on excessive loan fees.

High credit fees – what can consumers do?

In 2014, the Federal Supreme Court ruled in favor of two plaintiffs who did not want to accept the high credit charges of banks – and were thus right. Accordingly, banks may no longer charge processing fees for normal consumer credit today. As part of this ruling, clauses in the contracts were examined, which provided that customers not only have to pay interest on their loans but also expensive processing costs. With a five-digit amount, processing fees of 1,500 euros or even more – depending on the amount – could accumulate here. As a customer is therefore not to watch, but to get back his money, if you have already paid – this is in fact still possible in retrospect.

To recover excessive processing fees from the bank

From a purely legal point of view, a recovery claim is a claim for enrichment vis-à-vis the respective bank – this was also stated in the corresponding judgments of the ASD. Initially, the starting point was a short limitation period of a maximum of three years, but this period was subsequently extended to 10 years. In fact, if you closed your credit agreement in 2006 or later, you can still get the fees back from the bank today. In the case of an older credit agreement, recovery can be fraught with complications or even unsuccessful.

But why, as a borrower, can you still reclaim the fees?

The processing fee is an activity performed by the banks, which has been carried out either on their own behalf or under a legal obligation. These include, for example, processing the credit agreement, checking the creditworthiness of a customer, collecting the data of the borrower or even providing the loan amount. However, these very tasks were considered by the ASD to be quite ordinary business tasks that in no way justify a demand for high lending fees. For the customer, such fees are often an additional financial burden.

High credit fees – how much can you reclaim from the banks?

In fact, bank customers can reclaim not only the processing fee for a loan, but also the additional interest from the lender. These can be remarkably high and amount to up to 5% – with a loan amount of several thousand euros there is thus a considerable sum together.

However, it is important to ensure that a right of recovery is only possible if the processing fee is included in a clause of the contract. These are usually pre-formulated guidelines that banks enter in the terms and conditions by default. In a large part of the loan agreements, it is already noted on the first page of the loan agreement that processing fees are incurred. An online loan agreement makes this even easier to filter out.

If the loan agreement is not based on general terms and conditions, an individual agreement will apply. This means that processing fees have been negotiated freely and the bank had a conversation with the customer at the beginning. Thus, the customer himself could have a certain influence on the fees, which then possibly had to be inscribed by hand in contract forms. In such a case it is difficult to get the fees back. However, this is more the exception that comes with the fewest contracts to fruition.

This is how borrowers proceed correctly when recovering the fees

The first step in recovering unjustified processing fees should always be to see if the bank has asked for processing fees in addition to interest on the loan. With an individual agreement you have bad cards, but with a normal, pre-printed contract clause, you should act as a customer necessarily. In most cases, the processing fee is between two and three percent, but in recent years fewer and fewer banks have charged fees.

What also needs to be taken into account is that the limitation period is still ten years, as the ASD has specified. For 2016, therefore, all borrowers who have entered into a contract since 2006 or later are still eligible for a repayment. The deadline always applies until 31 December of the corresponding year. For the recovery you do not have to write a letter itself, but can send a sample letter to the bank with appropriate templates from consumer centers or the Gandalf. Because: If you commission a lawyer with the implementation of the recovery claims, then arise here as well cost. Thus, it would be questionable whether the demand is profitable at all. An independent claim is also advantageous in that under certain circumstances later incurred legal fees are charged directly to the bank.

As soon as the letter has been sent to the bank, it says: Wait. This can take a long time. Many consumer tests have shown to date that the waiting time is often several weeks because of the high onslaught. In general, however, it is sufficient if a bank sends the customer a confirmation of receipt. Important: As a customer, do not let this put you off, just get the processing fees back. Also, the interest can be reclaimed, because they can make up to 50% (!) Of the total fees.

In the event that the bank rejects claims, it is almost inevitable to involve a lawyer who will take care of the further processing of the recovery – as long as this pays off financially in terms of legal fees. An existing legal expenses insurance is of course worthwhile in any case. If you turn to a lawyer, you often have a very good chance when it comes to a class action in which several victims – often hundreds of them – reclaim money from the banks. Thus, the lawyer costs, but also the risk for the borrower, can be drastically reduced. Another possibility is to lodge a complaint with an ombudsman for the bank concerned. This is not associated with costs and therefore always recommended.

When do I have the best chance of getting a refund of credit fees?

The best are the chances of getting the processing fees and interest back from banks once you have concluded your loan agreement in the last five years. When it comes to older claims, many banks try to invoke a possible statute of limitations. Whether this is always lawful, however, can be argued legally.

Finally, it remains to say:
As a borrower, do not hesitate to check your contract. Even if you may not expect to pay processing fees and high interest rates, it often turns out on closer inspection that you can get back money – and often a lot. However, it is important to be aware that this must be a clause in the contract and not an individual determination of interest and possible fees between the bank and the customer.