I Made $25.24 From the Bank of America Overdraft Settlement

Vengeance is mine! Okay, not really. But I got a check in the mail for $25.24 the other day as settlement for a class action lawsuit against Bank of America for their cockamamie overdraft policies. $25.24 may not be much, but it represents a tiny, beautiful piece of the $410M pie of vindication that the court ordered B of A to pay out to customers this year.

The case revolved around a thing called debit resequencing, wherein the bank — quite shadily, I might add! — purposely debits your account in a specific order to maximize overdraft triggers. So say on a certain day you have a $20 balance in your checking. You buy a $10 subway card. Cool. A $2 coffee. Cool. A $3 ice cream. Great! And then, unbeknownst to you (because it’s like 2007 and you don’t have a smartphone yet), your gas bill goes through a day early and it’s $22.00. Bank of America, bastion of ethics and morality that they are, would do a little debit resequencing, charging you the gas bill first and then the smaller charges, so that you have a negative balance and have then made three small purchases that boom, boom, boom, cost you an extra $35 each. So now you are broke and $157 in the hole!

This happened to me MANY TIMES in my relative youth, and while $25.24 nowhere touches the amount I paid Bank of America in overdraft fees, it is the thought/most minor and symbolic degree of legal culpability that counts.

And yes I set up overdraft protection at one point, but no one at the bank informed me that because my account was opened out-of-state, the link between my new savings and old checking was invalid, and therefore I didn’t actually have the overdraft protection I SIGNED UP FOR, IN PERSON. And yes I called and visited the bank crying on multiple occasions and they took no pity on me (not that you shouldn’t, in this situation, try to do the same).

Anyway, all the court documents are here, if you are looking for a way to spice up your weekend. In the meantime I will be brainstorming ways to spend this $25.24 in the most decadent, I-never-want-to-be-24-again way imaginable.

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12 Comments / Post A Comment

beastmode (#4,170)

I recently got a check from my bank for this same thing! It was for $68. This makes me feel like I paid three times as much in overdraft fees. I also am very happy to no longer be 24.

I put the $68 into my savings account because I am boring.

Aunt Scar (#5,377)

I got a check for $400 last week from a GMAC settlement regarding my house foreclosure. IT did not make me feel better.

j a y (#3,935)

Wow that’s so shady! I’ve never paid an overdraft fee in my life and I’m still outraged. The punishment should be the waiving of all bank fees for those people scammed in perpetuity.

zeytin (#4,005)

Were you automatically included in the class action lawsuit, or did you have to opt in? I have paid overdraft fees to B of A as well, but have not heard of this case.

@zeytin I got sent a postcard a few years ago offering to sign up for the class action suit. It said I did not have to and it did not affect my banking with BoA. I had to check it out online to make sure it was for real because it looked like some kind of advert/scam post card. You might have gotten one and accidentally threw it out. :-(

ThatJenn (#916)

My then-husband in 2007 had B of A and railed against them frequently for this practice, as he very frequently overdrafted. However, he also insisted for some reason that that be the bank we use? I think it was because his family also used it and they transferred money back and forth sometimes. But then the whole state by state division kept minorly screwing with us because his parents had a CT account, he had a OH account, and I had a FL account, and we lived in FL. That whole thing of it mattering what state you opened your account in was super weird and felt very outdated even then.

I’m so glad we got divorced and I got to ditch B of A forever :)

RVA_TXN (#1,461)

I left B of A ages ago over this. I love love love USAA — it’s the best bank ever!

ceereelyo (#3,552)

I got a check too! But mine was only for $7.18. Actually, I need to find it because I think I stuck it in my coat pocket but took it out before our travels. I hope I didn’t throw it out!

My mom also found while going through old mail at her house a check for me from HSBC about another settlement for a credit protection program and it was $54.00!

sharongracepjs (#5,107)

BofA is the worst nightmare of all time. I spent way too long in an abusive relationship with them, including very many trips to the bank in tears. I will never forget the woman on the phone who finally explained the charge sequencing thing to me, after they played havoc with my careful rob-Peter-for-Paul strategy – I was looking at a negative balance higher than my next three tiny B&N paychecks combined, and wailed, “It just doesn’t seem fair!” She said in the flattest, saddest, most self-loathing voice, “you’re right, it’s really not. I don’t know how we get away with doing it this way.”
I’ve always wondered what her story was.
Anyway, I will also feel righteously vindicated if I get a check from BofA, and will cash it at my new bank where they treat me like a human being.

lp917 (#5,916)

@sharongracejps, I had the exact same conversation!

I’ve gotten two checks from them in the last month, you guys might get more. My first was for 33.26, and the second was for another 22.18. If I get about 100 more of these it will almost make up for the time they sequenced a coffee, a pen (literally a single pen), a bagel sandwich, and another coffee to fall after a bigger thing so I ended up paying $154 for items that totaled $11. After that, I started mainly dealing in cash before leaving them for Wells Fargo entirely.

I got sent a postcard a few years ago about a class action suit for wrongful overdrafts from Bank of America. I got a whole 25.00 settlement from them. That was the second settlement amount. The first one was 14.00 about a year ago. If they hadn’t refunded some of the overdrafts to me already when they happened that amount would have really upset me more. If I saw something wrong I wasted no time calling them and I usually did not get off the phone until I was satisfied or I was so mad I was about to say something unladylike. Usually the latter. They usually say that they will do the one time courtesy overdraft fee refund. Which I have had several a year. Not lately though. They do switch them around sometimes still but I have figured out how everything posts now.

BY THE TIME THE CHECK GOT TO MY HANDS;IT HAD EXPIRED SO I RIPE IT UP N THROW IT AWAY DUE TO MY STUPITY..NOW THEY DONT REISSUE ANY CHECKS AT ALL..SO I LOS OUT ? ILL TRY WITH A LAWYER UH ? N SEND HIM ALL THE EVIDENCE I HAVE..AND LET GO N LET MY GOD TAKE OVER !

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