Consumer Credit Act 1995

149

F122 [ Customer charges, etc., by credit institutions that are subject to regulation by the Bank.

149. (1) A credit institution or, subject to the Competition Act 1991 , a group of any such credit institutions in respect of a service offered jointly by the group, shall notify the Bank of every proposal

( a ) to increase any charge that has been previously notified to the Bank, or

( b ) to impose any charge in relation to the provision of a service to a customer or to a group of customers, that has not been previously notified to the Bank.

(2) Every notification under subsection (1) must be accompanied by

( a ) subject to subsection (4) , such fee as the Bank may decide with respect to each notification, being a fee that does not exceed the prescribed maximum amount, and

( b ) a statement of the commercial justification for the proposal, including a detailed statement of cost, and

( c ) details of the estimated amount of additional income accruing from the proposal.

(3) For the purposes of subsection (2)(a) , the prescribed maximum amount is

( a ) 31,750, or

( b ) if some other amount is prescribed by regulations made for the purposes of this subsection that other amount.

(4) The Bank may waive or reduce the fee referred to in subsection (2) if the payment of the fee would, in the opinion of the Bank, be unfair to the credit institution having regard to

( a ) the impact of any increase in or imposition of charges on customers, and

( b ) the number of customers affected by any increase in or imposition of charges, and

( c ) the additional income likely to accrue from any increase in or imposition of charges, and

( d ) any other matters that the Bank considers appropriate.

(5) Subject to subsection (6) , the Bank may, within F123 [ 3 months ] of receipt of a notification under subsection (1) , direct a credit institution

( a ) to refrain from imposing or changing a charge in relation to the provision of a service to a customer or to a group of customers, without the prior approval of the Bank, and

( b ) to publish, in such manner as may be specified by the Bank from time to time, information on any charge in relation to the provision of a service to a customer or to a group of customers.

(6) If a notification under subsection (1) is in respect of a proposal to impose a charge for a new service that was not previously offered to its customers, or is being offered as a choice to and in a materially different way to existing services, the Bank may, within F124 [ 3 months ] of receipt after the date of the notification, direct the credit institution

( a ) to refrain from imposing or changing a charge in relation to the provision of a service to a customer or to a group of customers, without the prior approval of the Bank, and

( b ) to publish, in such manner as may be specified by the Bank from time to time, information on any charge in relation to the provision of a service to a customer or to a group of customers.

F125 [ (6A) In calculating the periods of 3 months specified in subsections (5) and (6) no account shall be taken of any day on which any information required by the Bank to be provided by the credit institution for the performance of the Bank s functions under this section has not yet been so provided. ]

(7) A direction under this section may be expressed to apply

( a ) to every credit institution or to credit institutions carrying on a specified type of banking or financial business, or

( b ) to all services provided to a customer or to a group of customers by credit institutions or to specified services or to services of a specified kind, or

( c ) to a specified time or times or during a specified period or periods.

(8) The direction must

( a ) be communicated to every credit institution concerned, and

( b ) if not communicated in writing, be confirmed in writing to every such credit institution as soon as possible afterwards, and

( c ) have effect in accordance with its terms.

(9) The Bank shall, in exercising the powers conferred by this section, have regard to

( a ) the promotion of fair competition between

(i) credit institutions, and

(ii) credit institutions carrying on a particular type of banking or financial business,

( b ) the statement of commercial justification referred to in subsection (2)(b) , and

( c ) a credit institution passing any costs on to its customers or a group of its customers in proposing to impose or change any charge, in relation to the provision of a service to a customer or a group of its customers, and

( d ) the effect on customers or a group of customers of any proposal to impose or change any charge in relation to the provision of such service.

(10) The Bank may amend or revoke a subsisting direction under this section and may amend or revoke a subsisting direction, which has been amended.

(11) The Bank may exempt a credit institution from the obligation to make a notification under subsection (1) in respect of any charge which has been individually negotiated bona fide with the credit institution by a customer, or by or on behalf of a group of customers, of the credit institution.

(12) The Bank shall

( a ) keep under general review the terms and conditions applying to the provision of services to customers by credit institutions, and

( b ) require a credit institution to discontinue or refrain from the use of those terms and conditions that are, or are likely to be regarded as, unfair, and

( c ) if the credit institution fails to comply with a requirement under paragraph (b) , bring proceedings in the High Court for an order prohibiting the use, or the continued use, of those terms and conditions.

F126 [ (12A) A credit institution shall not impose a charge for providing a service to a customer or group of customers if

( a ) the charge has not been previously notified to the Bank or to the Director, or

( b ) the charge exceeds the charge notified for the service in accordance with subsection (1) , or

( c ) the charge does not comply with a direction issued by the Bank under this section.

(12B) The Bank may, by notice given in writing, require a specified credit institution, or credit institutions of a specified class, to publish in such publications, and within such timeframes, as are specified in the notice details of the amounts of charges notified to the Bank under this section.

(12C) A credit institution to which a notice has been given under subsection (12B) shall comply with the notice within the timeframe specified in the notice. ]

(13) In this section

service means any service provided by a credit institution to a customer in respect of the following

( a ) making and receiving payments;

( b ) providing foreign exchange facilities;

( c ) providing and granting credit;

( d ) maintaining and administrating transaction accounts used for the services specified by this subsection, including issuing statements;

( e ) any other service that may be pre-scribed by regulations for the purposes of this section;

charge includes a penalty or surcharge interest by whichever name called, being an interest charge imposed in respect of arrears on a credit agreement or a loan, but does not include any rate of interest or any charge, cost or expense levied by a party other than a credit institution in connection with the provision of a service to the credit institution or the customer and that is to be discharged by the customer.

(14) For the purposes of this section, a notification made to the Director of Consumer Affairs before the substitution of this section by item 42 of Part 21 of Schedule 1 to the Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland Act 2003, is taken to have been made to the Bank. ]

F127 [ (15) A direction given under section 28 of the Central Bank Act 1989 and in force immediately before the coming into operation of section 78 (d) of the Central Bank (Supervision and Enforcement) Act 2013 is to be treated as continuing in effect as if given under this section and accordingly is a subsisting direction under this section for the purposes of subsection (10) .

(16) The duty imposed by subsection (1) shall not apply to a relevant new credit institution until the end of the period of 3 years after it commences business in the State; but at the end of that period, the credit institution shall notify the Bank of all decisions to impose charges in relation to the provision of any service to a customer or to a group of customers during that period and of any proposal to do so which is not implemented during that period.

(17) A notification under subsection (16) shall be treated as a notification under subsection (1) for the purposes of this section; and references in this section to a proposal include a decision to impose charges notified under subsection (16) .

(18) In subsection (16) relevant new credit institution means a credit institution which commences business as a credit institution in the State after the coming into operation of section 78 (d) of the Central Bank (Supervision and Enforcement) Act 2013 and is not when it does so a related undertaking (within the meaning of that Act) of another credit institution carrying on business as a credit institution in the State. ]