Banking Blog

Finance Blogs » Banking Blog » Would you sue for bank fees?

Would you sue for bank fees?

By David McMillin ·
Friday, December 23, 2011
Posted: 9 am ET

Some consumers are turning their frustrations with bank fees into legal battles.

According to a recent story from the nonprofit credit union national association, or CUNA, one consumer named Don Anderson has filed 13 lawsuits against credit unions and banks for failing to post notices regarding ATM surcharges.

Here's a portion of the story discussing two of the suits filed against credit unions in Texas:

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.

Now, I completely agree that machines should inform consumers of potential fees, and I despise paying out-of-network ATM fees. However, I'm having a difficult time understanding the "statutory damages" for a $2.50 surcharge. By now, I think the average consumer understands that the vast majority of banks and credit unions are going to charge them for using their machines. In fact, I would be surprised if I wasn't charged for using another institution's machine. Bankrate's 2011 Checking Account Survey shows that ATM fees have been rising consistently since 2004.

Technically, these lawsuits appear to have some merit based on the Electronic Funds Transfer Act, which requires institutions to post disclosures about fees for using ATMs. Still, I'm amazed that a consumer would invest the time, money and effort to go after financial institutions in this manner, but I guess this type of lawsuit is nothing new. CUNA's article also mentions a retired couple who drove around the country searching for ATMs without fee warnings. If the machines didn't have information posted to disclose fee structures, the couple snapped photographs and filed class action lawsuits against the owners of the ATMs.

What do you think? Are these lawsuits warranted? Or do you simply expect to pay bank fees for using an out-of-network ATM?

Bankrate wants to hear from you and encourages comments. We ask that you stay on topic, respect other people's opinions, and avoid profanity, offensive statements, and illegal content. Please keep in mind that we reserve the right to (but are not obligated to) edit or delete your comments. Please avoid posting private or confidential information, and also keep in mind that anything you post may be disclosed, published, transmitted or reused.

By submitting a post, you agree to be bound by Bankrate's terms of use. Please refer to Bankrate's privacy policy for more information regarding Bankrate's privacy practices.
Betty Perry
January 05, 2012 at 3:44 pm

I don't think banks should charged you to take your money out of the banks. These banks are making a killing and there should be more credit unions wherein you can go to rather than being charged a arm and leg to get money out of the regular banks.

December 23, 2011 at 5:42 pm

What's so hard about obeying the law? If you break the rules you can face consequences. I'm a bit annoyed about who would collect the penalty in this case, but have no problem seeing punishment metted out for infractions.