A proposed class action has been filed against Bank of America, N.A. and Bank of America Corporation alleging the defendants improperly charged overdraft fees for non-recurring transactions in violation of customers’ account agreements. According to the lawsuit, despite assuring customers that it only charges overdraft fees on recurring transactions, such as mortgage, utilities and insurance payments, the bank also hits accountholders with a $35 charge for overdrawing their accounts with every-day, one-time debit transactions, such as gasoline purchases.
The lawsuit explains that the defendants promise to decline non-recurring transactions at the point of sale if the customer doesn’t have sufficient funds to cover the requested amount. Instead, the bank authorizes the transaction and charges the customer an overdraft fee, the case alleges, plus an additional extended overdraft fee if the account is still negative after seven days.
The case argues that the defendants’ alleged practice contradicts their own Deposit Agreement’s definition of non-recurring transactions, as the agreement reportedly states:
“Everyday non-recurring debit card transactions are usually purchases made with your debit card or debit card number on a one-time or day-to-day basis. As examples, you use your debit card for purchases of groceries, gas, or coffee in the morning.”
The plaintiff claims that the bank, in violation of Maine law and the defendants’ policies, charged her a $35 overdraft fee for purchasing gasoline with her debit card when her account had insufficient funds to cover the transaction.
“To recap,” the complaint reads, “after having affirmatively told its customers that they no longer need to worry about spending money they don’t have in the course of making nonrecurring, day-to-day purchases, and after having memorialized those promises in the governing account documents, Bank of America has now broken those promises, taken advantage of the very trust it instilled in its customers, by authorizing day-to-day transactions (specifically from some of the most popular merchants including certain gas stations) that its customers don’t have sufficient funds to cover, for the sole purpose of feeding its insatiable appetite for overdraft fee revenue.”