MADISON, Wis. (12/20/11)--A New York resident is one of the latest consumers to file multiple lawsuits against credit unions and banks claiming they are not complying with disclosure provisions of the Electronic Funds Transfer Act (EFTA), which requires posting fees for using ATMs.
Last week, consumer Don Anderson filed EFTA suits against FirstLight FCU, El Paso, Texas; Firestone Community FCU, Bridge City, Texas; Centric FCU, West Monroe, La.; Monroe Telco FCU, West Monroe, La.; and Capital One Bank. In recent weeks, he has filed similar EFTA suits against eight other banks.
In his suits filed last week against Firestone Community FCU in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas--Beaumont Division, and First Light FCU in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas--El Paso Division, Anderson said he was charged $2 and $2.50 respectively as a nonmember surcharge for using their ATMs.
In both instances, he claims that "at the time of the ... transaction, there was no notice posted 'on or at' the ATM … apprising consumers that a fee would be charged for use of the ATM."
In both suits, Anderson is asking for class action status, as well as an award for statutory damages associated with the surcharges, payment of costs of the lawsuit, and payment of reasonable attorneys' fees.
In similar suits during the past year, a Michigan couple--Nancy Kinder and Ray Harrison of Fowlerville, Mich., who are both retirees--have driven around the country looking for ATMs without proper fee notification signs. The two then photograph ATMs that lack legal signage and file class actions against credit unions and banks that own the ATMs, saying that nondisclosure of fees for ATM transactions violates EFTA, according to court records (News Now May 24).
A rash of lawsuits last spring prompted CUNA Mutual Group to warn credit unions to develop and write procedures for regularly inspecting their ATMs to ensure their signs are posted, to photograph the ATMs at the time of inspection, and to maintain the inspection log for all ATMs and have credit union management review the log (News Now April 25).