A proposed class action alleges Visions Federal Credit Union has inappropriately charged accountholders multiple insufficient funds fees on the same transaction.
Although Visions promises in its account documents to charge a single $25 insufficient funds (NSF) fee per item when a customer’s account falls too low to cover a check, withdrawal, service charge or other transaction, the defendant, instead, routinely charges multiple NSF fees on the same item, driving customers’ account balances “deeper into negative territory,” the breach-of-contract case alleges.
“Visions breaches its contract by charging more than one $25 NSF Fee on the same item because the contract explicitly states—and reasonable consumers understand—that the same item can only incur a single NSF or OD [overdraft] Fee,” the complaint relays.
The plaintiff says she incurred a $25 NSF fee after attempting to make an automated clearing house (ACH) payment on October 6, 2014 that was rejected by Visions due to insufficient funds. On October 10, Visions, without any action on the plaintiff’s part, attempted to reprocess the same item and charged the woman another $25 NSF fee, according to the suit.
“In sum,” the complaint reads, “Visions assessed Plaintiff $50 in fees in its failed effort to process a single payment.”
The plaintiff additionally claims the same pattern occurred on October 20 and 24, 2014 after she attempted to make a single payment on each occasion.
The lawsuit alleges Visions’ practice of assessing multiple NSF fees on a single transaction directly contradicts the language in its account documents, which specify that “at most a single fee will be assessed when an item is returned or paid into overdraft.”
An item, such as a check, automated bill payment or other electronic payment, is not a new item each time it is rejected for payment and then reprocessed, especially when no action is taken on the customer’s part to resubmit the item, the suit argues.
The account documents never discuss a situation in which Visions may assess multiple NSF fees after a single item is later reprocessed, the case continues, claiming the credit union’s reprocessing of a transaction “is simply another attempt to effectuate an account holder’s original order or instruction.”
“Nowhere does Visions disclose to Plaintiff and Class members that it will treat each reprocessing of a check or ACH payment as a separate item, subject to additional fees; nor do Visions customers ever agree to such fees,” the lawsuit avers.
The case goes on to note that other banks and credit unions who “employ this abusive multiple fee practice” plainly disclose such to their account holders within their contracts.
According to the case, Visions “provides no such disclosure,” and, in failing to do so, has breached its contracts with and deceived account holders.
The lawsuit looks to cover anyone who, within the applicable statute of limitations period, were charged multiple fees on the same item in a Visions account, with a proposed subclass of those who experienced such in New York.
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