By James Atkinson

A former bottle shop owner has joined Australia's biggest series of class actions against unfair bank fees.

Lauren Vella, the former owner of an independent bottle shop in Sydney's Darling Harbour, said the exception fees she was charged by St George Bank placed huge pressures on her business, which she had to sell at a loss.

Eventually amounting to thousands of dollars, the fees arose when Vella failed to get to the bank and deposit the day's takings before direct debits became due to suppliers.

Vella was one of 160,500 more Australians that joined the class actions last week after Maurice Blackburn Lawyers filed a further claim in the Federal Court against Westpac subsidiaries St George Bank and Bank SA.

Maurice Blackburn Senior Associate Paul Gillett said the latest claims against St George Bank and Bank SA add to the other class actions against ANZ, CBA, Westpac, Citibank and NAB, taking the claim to well over $200 million.

"These class actions against unfair bank charges are the largest in Australia's history – $216 million for fees charged against 160,500 customers from seven banks – and there's every chance it will continue growing," Gillett said.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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