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.