First, I should elaborate that I have not been hit with this. I was informed of it by a supporter of House Resolution 946: The Consumer Overdraft Protection Fair Practices Act.
Apparently Bank of America is one of the first bank’s to implement a new process of charging overdraft fees to punish their customers yet again. As of March 1, 2008 customers will no longer be charged a $35 overdraft fee when a transaction clears their account without available funds. Now a “pending transaction” or one that has not posted to the account can automatically invoke the $35 fee if it puts the acount in the red. So what’s this mean? An example will explain it best:
Lets say you have $425.00 in your checking account. You go to dinner with your significant other and spend $45 at Applebee’s or another affordable restaurant. When the check comes you provide the waitstaff with you BOA debit card. Through a complete accident the waiter types $450.00 into the keypad instead of $45.00 and receives an approval code. Prior to this new fee processing schedule by BOA this would be no major ordeal. Many consumer have been told by cashiers “don’t worry that transaction won’t be settled and the hold will come off your account in 3-5 days” which it does. And the waiter swipes the card again and enters a transaction for the correct amount $45.00 which Bank of America, by their own policy, approves even though the account is now “overdrawn”.
The next day you check your BOA account on line. It’s negative (-$140.00). Wait a minute. What the ****? You only spent $45.00. Here’s how BOA’s systems now process transactions and fees:
Beginning Balance: $425
Accidental Pending: $450
Over the limit fee: (-35.00)
Over the limit fee: (-35.00)
New Balance (-$140.00)
Eventually the accidental transaction of $450 will not be settled and it will drop off. But instead of paying $45.00 for dinner you have spent $115.00 through no fault of your own (the original $45.00 plus the two $35.00 overdraft fees). In an investigative converstation with a Bank of America Employee I was told these overdraft charges for pending transactions would not be refunded under any circumstances.
I can’t believe this is not getting more attention than it is. This is the first time those who argue “don’t spend more than you have” and preach “personal financial responsibility” in defense of the banks have no ground to stand on. This is stealing, plain and simple. It is evidence that the banking industry has elevated itself above the laws and morals we claim to have founded this country on. Now more than ever we need support for House Resolution 946 because once the other major banks conclude that BOA has punished their customers for profit, yet again, they will follow suit.
The media will not cover this topic because the major media outlets fear the loss of advertising dollars. The banking industries crimes against consumers must be made known through viral propagation on the Internet. Consumers must be given the option to remove their accounts from “overdraft protection” policies and the banks must be made to refund a percentage of those fees lawmakers consider excessive.