The National Consumer Service Sernac filed, this Wednesday, a collective lawsuit against Banco de Chile to demand fines and compensation after detecting “abusive clauses” in the contracts, which have allowed the bank to make illegitimate charges to consumers under the concept of “judicial fees”.
According to what is accused by the agency, Banco de Chile made extrajudicial collection expenses above the maximum amounts established by law and that are not consistent with the steps actually carried out, in addition to not giving the consumer the minimum information that the law requires when contracting financial products and/or services.
This is why the judicial complaint seeks to restore the amounts that were improperly charged to consumers, to declare the abusive clauses null, to compensate for the damages caused to consumers and to sentence the bank to the maximum of the fines established by law.
The judicial action of Sernac ensures that the bank incorporates in its contracts a charge for “legal fees”, previously and arbitrarily calculated a minimum value and a maximum limit, since these are calculated “between 10% and 15% of the demanded, plus the expenses and/or judicial costs”, explained the institution.
The National Director(s) of SERNAC, Jean Pierre Couchot, clarified that this type of charges applied by these financial entities are serious, since, in addition to being limited by law since 1999, they affect consumers who are already delinquent, it is say that they have overdue obligations, and are not in a position to negotiate.
“In practice, these types of improperly applied charges further burden the backpack of consumers who are already in a complicated situation, because behind an unpaid debt there are difficult economic situations, which have worsened as a result of the pandemic. No one has unpaid debts for pleasure,” Couchot emphasized.
Broadly speaking, according to the information handled by the institution, it was established that the maximum amount charged to a consumer for legal fees was $15,103,903, while the average amount charged is $353,170.
Sernac affirms that this charge is applied when out-of-court agreements are concluded that put an end to the collection trial, so they are not established by the court. In the opinion of the institution, the inclusion of this clause and the execution of these charges do not comply with the provisions of the Consumer Law and violate good faith, since they do not obey objective parameters and produce a significant imbalance in detriment of consumers.