In 2010, new federal regulations (as as result of the Dodd-Frank Act) required banks to receive permission in writing from consumers before charging overdraft fees for one-time debit card and ATM transactions. Many consumers decided to not give that permission and chose to have their one-time debit card and ATM transactions declined. However, what some did not realize is that even by not opting-in, banks could still charge them overdraft fees for checks and certain other electronic transactions. Consumers need to be mindful that overdrafts are still an ever present risk to their checking accounts.
It is important that consumers recognize that banks may only charge overdraft fees consistent with the account agreements the banks have with consumers. These agreements are sometimes provided to customers when they open their accounts and may be updated periodically. Given the current economic climate, Finkelstein Thompson LLP has observed some banks stretching the interpretation of their account agreements beyond what the law allows. For instance, a bank agreement could state that it may charge a fee for overdrawing an account. However, the law imposes certain duties and just because a bank may charge a fee, depending on how that fee is charged, the fee may not be proper.
If you have concerns about how your bank is charging you fees, Finkelstein Thompson LLP is available and willing to look into the matter on your behalf free of charge.