Isn’t one non-sufficient funds (NSF) fee or one out-of-network fee per transaction enough? The complaint for this class action says that Wright-Patt Credit Union (WPCU) should not be charging two or three fees on single transactions.
What is an NSF fee? When an account does not have enough money to cover a transaction but a financial institution pays it anyway, it charges an overdraft fee. When the account does not have enough money and the institution refuses it, it charges an NSF fee for refusing the transaction.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has said, “Paying overdraft transactions may confer some benefit … to consumer by helping them make timely payments to avoid late penalty fees and/or interest charges from a merchant or biller. In contrast, returning an item generally confers little benefit to the consumer…”
Plaintiff Natalie Qualls, in one example, tried to make a payment to Tree of Life on April 20, 2017. She did not have enough money in her account to complete the transaction, and WPCU charged her a $25 NSF fee to refuse it. Two weeks later, WPCU tried to pay the transaction again. Again, it found not enough money in her account and charged her a second NSF fee, even though she had not asked WPCU to retry the transaction.
WPCU’s account documents say that it will charge $25 “per item” returned for non-sufficient funds. Its Deposit Agreement says, “An item refers to a check, substitute check, electronic item, draft, demand draft, or other order or instruction for the payment, transferor withdrawal of funds.” It is therefore in breach of its agreements, the complaint says, when it charges a second fee for the same item without any additional request from the customer. Account agreements for other banks do warn that they may charge additional fees on the same item.
Also at issue are OON fees. The complaint alleges that Qualls has been charged up to three OON fees for one transaction. For example, in a cash withdrawal in an OON ATM, she has had to pay one fee for the company whose ATM she is using, one for the WPCU transaction, and one simply for a balance inquiry before she requests the withdrawal. WPCU does not disclose that the balance inquiry will incur an additional fee.
Four classes have been proposed for this action.