Hundreds of banks slapped with lawsuits for ATM fees

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013 By

Automatic teller machine

Despite bank customer satisfaction being higher, banks are being sued more frequently for ATM fee policies. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Bank fees, specifically ATM fees charged to out-of-network debit card holders, infuriate many consumers. An increasing number of lawsuits have been initiated nationwide based on an obscure law regarding ATM fee disclosure.

Banks facing 30 lawsuits over bank fees in Michigan

There are more than 30 lawsuits over fees at automated teller machines facing various banks in the state of Michigan. All of the suits concern fee disclosure laws, according to USA Today. There are similar suits pending in numerous states, but there are the most in Michigan because of a couple of pesky retirees. Nancy Kinder and Ray Harrison of Fowlerville, Mich., have sued numerous banks because they found that they do not disclose bank fees in the manner specified in the Electronic Funds Transfer Act. Kinder and Harrison filed five of the suits in one day. They have, according to the Chicago Tribune, sued 36 banks in the last two years, accusing them of violations of federal law.

Nuisance lawsuits

Kinder and Harrison actively search for banks that aren’t in compliance with federal law regarding how ATM fees are advertised. When they find a violator, they make an ATM withdrawal and take pictures of the screen during the transaction along with the disclosing signage. Once the evidence is gathered, they file a lawsuit against the offending bank. Banks must have a sign disclosing the fees; a notice on the screen isn’t enough.

Customers more satisfied with their banks

A consumer survey by J.D. Power and Associates found that consumers are happier with their banking experience compared to three years ago, according to CNN. On J.D. Power’s 1,000 point scale, customer satisfaction rated a 752 for banking, four points higher than last year and the first time the approval rating has moved up since 2007. Bank fees and credit card fees have been getting a lot of attention recently for being raised at nearly every opportunity. However, only 18 percent of those in the survey had their fee structure changed in the last year, and only 43 percent recalled being charged a fee by their banks. That changed from last year, when the same survey revealed 53 percent of bank customers surveyed had been charged a fee by their bank.

Sources

USA Today

Chicago Tribune

CNN

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