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Quebec banks CUs ordered to pay millions for card fees
MONTREAL (6/15/09)--A Quebec Superior Court Thursday ordered nine Canadian banks and the federation of Desjardins credit unions in Quebec to repay roughly $200 million in credit card fees charged when consumer made purchases in foreign exchange that were converted to Canadian dollars. The judgments were rendered in three class-action suits by Justice Clement Gascon. They involved the credit unions, plus the Royal Bank of Canada, Toronto Dominion Bank, Bank of Montreal, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Scotiabank, National Bank of Canada, Laurentian Bank of Canada, Amex Bank of Canada, and Citibank Canada (National Post June 12). Consumers will be entitled to a percentage up to 2.5% on the converted charges, which include purchases made on the Internet. Some banks must pay certain cardholders $25 in punitive damages. The judge also ruled the banks must obey the Quebec Consumer Protection Act. Banks had argued they were not subject to the act because they were federally chartered institutions. In the credit union case, the judge ruled that the Desjardins group of credit unions charged illegal fees between April 17, 2000, and Dec. 31, 2007, and contravened the Consumer Protection Act. He ordered they reimburse consumers nearly $28.4 million, plus interest, but he did not award any punitive damages. The parties will meet within 30 days to iron out the details.

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