Georgia consumers have filed a lawsuit against Fifth Third bank over illegal overdraft charges, many of which were instituted when customers had enough funds in their accounts to cover purchases. The lawsuit would require the bank to refund hundreds of millions of dollars in overdraft charges.
“It is one thing to charge an overdraft fee when someone has actually overdrawn their account,” said attorney Hassan Zavareei of Tycko & Zavareei in Washington D.C. “It is entirely another to charge an overdraft fee when the customer’s account has sufficient funds. Even worse, in some cases Fifth Third charges overdraft fees and additional fees for every day an account is overdrawn – even when an account is overdrawn solely because of bank fees charged by Fifth Third. The bank is essentially charging overdraft fees on overdraft fees. This is outrageous bank conduct, made worse by the fact that most of the bank’s victims are struggling to make ends meet.”
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Marlene Willard of Hephzibah, Georgia and other Fifth Third Bancorp customers who were charged illegal overdraft fees. The suit was filed in federal court and alleges that the fees violate federal and state law as well as the contractual relationship between the bank and its customers. The complaint alleges that the bank manipulated debit transaction posting times to cause overdraft fees even when there were sufficient funds to cover transactions. The lawsuit also claims that Fifth Third bank fails to properly disclose fees that will be charged at the point of sale and uses deceptive practices with its customers to hide the true nature of its overdraft policies. Further, according to the lawsuit, the bank does not allow customers to opt out of its overdraft protection program as recommended by federal regulators.
“We are continuing to investigate Fifth Third and other banks around the country,” said Zavareei. “Customers must be compensated for bank practices that caused hundreds of millions of dollars in improperly charged fees.”
Fifth Third Bancorp is headquartered in Cincinnati, OH, and has over 1,000 banking centers in several states including Georgia. The lawsuit was filed in the Northern District of Georgia.
This case sounds like a true modern-day Robin Hood tale. It’s nice to see the little guy win (or at least have the opportunity to present his case). All too often, when people face off with a bank or an insurance company, they simply give up because they feel as if they cannot possibly compete with a large institution (even if said institution is breaking the law). However, having an experienced attorney on your side will even out the fight, so to speak. If you feel that you have been wronged by illegal tactics on the part of a large corporation, do not give up; contact an experienced Georgia personal injury attorney to discuss your legal rights. Call MLN Law at 404-531-9700 to schedule a free consultation.