Commonwealth bank fined $150,000 after giving a gambling addict MORE money to spend on pokies

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Australian bank fined $150,000 after giving a gambling addict MORE money to spend – despite him pleading with them to help bring his problem under control

  • Commonwealth Bank Australia has been fined $150,000 in Federal Court case
  • Staff offered to increase the man’s credit card limit to $31,000, court heard
  • The man told the bank he didn’t want it lifted until he got addiction under control 

Commonwealth Bank has been fined $150,000 for increasing a customer’s credit card limit even thought he had a crippling gambling problem. 

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Roofer David Harris’s card limit had already been increased once, and bank staff offered to do it again in October 2016, the Federal Court was told. 

The 30-year-old man told the bank he didn’t want it lifted until he got his addiction under control. 

Roofer David Harris’s (pictured at Royal Commission in 2018) card limit had already been increased once, and bank staff offered to do it again in October 2016, the Federal Court was told

Commonwealth Bank has been fined $150,000 for increasing a customer's credit card limit even thought he had a crippling gambling problem (stock)

Commonwealth Bank has been fined $150,000 for increasing a customer’s credit card limit even thought he had a crippling gambling problem (stock)

‘At one point I had three credit cards and they let me max them out and then put it all into one… and then offered me more money,’ he told a staff member at the bank, according to The Australian.

‘I do not really understand why they’ve offered me that considering they know, clearly see that I use it for gambling and stuff like that.’ 

Mr Harris said he thought it was bad practice to offer him more credit as he clearly used the money to gamble.

But despite telling the bank about his fears, it was not formally recorded, and ten days later the customer got a letter lifting his limit from $27,100 to $32,000.

A month later another letter offered to lift it another $3,000, despite $8,000 being the maximum credit card limit offered by CBA.

Mr Harris took up the offers and soon racked up a debt of $35,706.91, before he failed to make a minimum repayment of $699.  

The man told the bank he didn't want it lifted until he got his addiction under control (stock)

The man told the bank he didn’t want it lifted until he got his addiction under control (stock) 

Justice Bernard Murphy noted it would have taken the customer 137 years and ten months to pay off the debt with minimum repayments and no additional charges.  

‘He was only able to continue to pay off his credit card because he worked extended periods without rest days, working 6 to 7 days a week, in physically demanding work as a roofer,’ he said.

He said the customer was reliant on his gambling winnings and a loan from his boss to support himself before he began to have trouble sleeping and suffered depression.

Commonwealth Bank Australia admitted the misconduct was a result of inadequate systems for gambler notifications.

The bank has now taken steps to work out a hardship arrangement with Mr Harris, and steps to remedy the notification issues.

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