A class action lawsuit has been filed against Bank of America for allegedly deceiving customers into paying millions in unnecessary bank fees.
Account holders Tami Bruin and Eline Barokas filed the nationwide class action lawsuit in New York federal court, claiming that the banking giant misleads customers into paying a fee to transfer money using the ACH system.
How do Money Transfers Work?
Administered by the National Automated Clearing House Association, or NACHA, the ACH network allows consumers, businesses, and governments to electronically transfer money between bank accounts for direct deposit paychecks, payment of utility bills, monthly rent, and more.
Contingent upon whether the transfer is initiated by the sender or recipient, payments over the network are categorized as “push” or “pull” transactions – regardless, the money ends up in the same place.
Bruin and Barokas allege that Bank of America preys on consumers’ lack of knowledge about how money transfers work to issue fees by stating on their website that sending an ACH transfer incurs a fee of up to $10 while receiving a transfer is free.
In fact, the bank fees can be avoided altogether by instructing the payee to pull funds from their account, thereby making it a pull transaction.
Andrew Shamis, of Shamis and Gentile, P.A., points out that had customers like Bruin and Barokas been aware that by simply initiating the transfers from the receiving bank account, their transfers would have been free, they would obviously not have paid the ACH fees.
Can BofA charge for transferring money from one account to another?
The lawsuit alleges that customers are intentionally misled by the fee disclosure wording and the layout of the bank’s online interface. Together, they imply that sending money over the ACH network necessitates a charge.
The false impression is further developed by the bank advising customers that they can circumvent transfer fees by using its Zelle or Bill Pay services but omitting other free options.
Consequently, unsuspecting Bank of America customers have paid unnecessary fees on ACH transfers which could be done for free – as illustrated by many of Bank of America’s competitors.
The bottom line is that transfers over the NACHA system can be made for free. By manipulating the wording to hide this truth, BofA intentionally dupes its account holders into paying $3 or $10 ACH transfer fees.
Am I entitled to compensation for bank fees?
On behalf of Bruin, of North Carolina, and Barokas, a former New York and current New Jersey resident, Andrew Shamis notes that obscuring the truth about a complicated system to con naive consumers to spend money is one of the oldest tricks in the books.
As such, the class action lawsuit is seeking damages and restitution for the allegedly deceptive transfer fees, unjust enrichment, and violations of state business practice laws on behalf of a proposed nationwide class of Bank of America account holders.
Additionally, the pair have proposed representing state subclasses for North Carolina, New York, and New Jersey.
Lead plaintiffs, Bruin and Barokas, are represented by Andrew Shamis of Shamis and Gentile, P.A., and Scott Edelsberg and Christopher Gold of Edelsberg Law, P.A.
The Bank of America Deceptive Transfer Fees Class Action Lawsuit is Bruin, et al. V. Bank of America, N.A., Case No. 1:21-cv-02272, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
ABOUT Shamis and Gentile, P.A.:
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Are you a Bank of America account holder who has been hit with deceptive transfer fees? For more information, contact the bank fee lawyers at Shamis and Gentile, P.A.