Norway’s state consumer council (Forbrukerrådet) has decided to appeal an Oslo city court ruling that acquitted the country’s biggest bank, DNB, of charging high fees for investment management services that customers allegedly did not receive. The council is thus not giving up its battle in the largest class action suit ever filed in Norway.
The council is demanding compensation of NOK 690 million (USD 90 million) on behalf of around 180,000 DNB customers who invested in various DNB funds. They claim they paid for so-called “active management” of their invested money, but that DNB instead merely followed stock exchange movements like index funds, which have much lower fees.
“We believe the court in fact did not evaluate what’s at the core of this case, which is the agreement between DNB and the customer,” consumer council director Randi Flesland told state broadcaster NRK. “What did the bank promise, which service did they deliver, and to what price?”
The court ruled that state law did not specify the degree of active investment management needed to justify the higher fees. Even though the council found several “encouraging” signals in the court’s ruling, DNB was thus acquitted. That’s prompted the council to appeal the ruling to the Oslo court known as lagmannsretten.
“The court has directed this at the Parliament, but we believe the court must be able to make an evaluation, that’s what this is all about,” Flesland said, adding that the council was prepared to fight all the way to Norway’s Supreme Court.
DNB spokesman Thomas Midteide told NRK the bank was surprised by the appeal, claiming the city court decision was “crystal clear” that its customers got what they paid for. There was no immediate word on when the appeal will come up in court.