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Citizen's Bank Complaint - Unfair overdraft fee

Review by Monica D on 2010-01-23
NEW YORK -- Recently, I used my debit card attached to my Citizen's checking account to pay part of my UAlbany orientation fee.

The school made a mistake and initiated an $80 charge instead of the $10 partial payment I'd authorised. They reversed the charge the same day, and charged the appropriate $10.

However the $80 was still on hold in my account, creating a negative 'available funds' balance. I had $31 in the account, to cover the $10. When the $10 charge posted, it posted against the negative available funds.

Consequently, I was charged a $39 overdraft fee. I called the bank, figuring that since no actual overdraft occurred (the $80 was never actually claimed by UAlbany), they'd reverse the fee.

Instead, I'm told since it's not a bank error, they can't reverse the funds. I was told to contact the merchant (UAlbany) to request a refund of the fee. Even the student financial services representative I met with, in an attempt to get the fee, spoke to the bank. He argued with their supervisor at their customer service phone center on my behalf for close to 20 minutes and got no further than I did.

So Citizen's Bank is making a profit off me. I am a disabled college student, living on SSD and stdent loans. And they are making an unfair profit off me. I willingly pay overdraft fees that are my fault. But this is not my fault, and I'm still out $39.
Comments:17 Replies - Latest reply on 2010-01-24
Posted by madconsumer on 2010-01-23:
this is a merchant issue, not the banks.
Posted by jktshff1 on 2010-01-23:
"The school made a mistake"...That is who you need to be dealing with.
Posted by goduke on 2010-01-23:
Why are you angry at the bank and not the school? It doesn't make a lot of sense.
Posted by yoke on 2010-01-23:
This is not a bank issue, but a merchant issue. The school needs to refund you the OD fee that they caused due to their error, not the bank.
Posted by memoryx57 on 2010-01-23:
Even if the school were to refund the fees for the overdraft, the bank should step up to the plate and fix their records. I wouldn't want a record with the bank that I overdraft my account when I never did. But the chance of them doing that is slim to none. I guess I have to ask, is there no sense of fairness and reason left in our society? Apparently not..it's turned into a gimmme, gimmme, gimmee!!!
Posted by tnchuck100 on 2010-01-23:
It stinks to high heaven that the bank must impose its legal right to greed. The bank never paid out the money that would have overdrawn the account. The bank has a technical "gotcha" and they couldn't care less about you as a customer. Close the account and find a credit union. They are far more reasonable about these types of problems. Just for the record, even though the bank says they "can't" reverse the fee the fact is they simply "won't".

The OP HAS been screwed by the bank.
Posted by yoke on 2010-01-23:
Why did the OP not see what the amount was before the transaction was finished.
The OP has not been screwed by the bank. It was not a bank error but a school error. The school should have to eat their mistake.
Posted by memoryx57 on 2010-01-23:
Spot on tnchuck as usual. I guess what concerns me too is that I certainly hope that this type of behavior is NOT what young parents today are teaching their children. Just because you CAN you Do! And the fact that people defend this type of legalized stealing is just beyond bizarre!! Not sure if anybody else noticed or not but this person is collecting SSD benefits which equates to taxpayer money. So in the long run we're funding the banks coffers with unethical fees!! But apparently some think it's perfectly ok.
Posted by tnchuck100 on 2010-01-23:
Just for thought: The overdraft fee is supposed to represent a penalty the bank imposes upon the account holder who makes a mistake and the bank pays out money the account holder does not have.

1. The account holder did not make a mistake.
2. The bank never paid out money that the account holder didn't have.
3. The bank DID screw the account holder.

One must have their head buried in the sand (or elsewhere) to not see this for what it is: Banking greed at its finest.
Posted by Ponie on 2010-01-23:
I never knew it was a 'penalty.' I always thought it was a charge for when 'the bank pays out money the account holder does not have.' Kind of like a very high interest loan. But, that's just me...
Posted by spiderman2 on 2010-01-23:
This just shows that when you are dealing with small amounts of money, cash is best. I love my debit card, but always keep some cash on me for transactions under $10-$20. Mostly because I hate writing down all that stuff in my checkbook.
Posted by CrazyRedHead on 2010-01-23:
I've had that happen to me, but the bank did reverse the OD fee. I waited for it to clear the bank and then called them and, very nicely, explained the issue and the bank took care of it. I'm with BOA and they are not the baddies that everyone makes them out to be, about 90% of the issues that we read about are due to customer negligence. Yes, I said that and I will stick to it.
Posted by Soaring Consumer on 2010-01-23:
Since the root cause was because the school put a hold on the account which was too high, the school should compensate the OP for the overdraft fee. When the hold was placed, the money was reserved for them and removed from the account, and since the money wasn't there to be reserved an overdraft fee was charged even though they never took the money. But since the money wasn't taken it would be right for them to refund the fee, but since they are refusing to then since the whole thing started because of the school's error then they are responsible for compensating the OP.
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-01-23:
This was UAlbany's fault not the bank.
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-01-23:
No matter who is at fault, the bank is always blamed.
Posted by yoke on 2010-01-23:
If the school did not make the error none of this would have happened.
Posted by Monica D on 2010-01-24:
"Why did the OP not see what the amount was before the transaction was finished. "

I am the OP. I didn't see the amount because I mailed in the payment info to the school as instructed. This wasn't an in person transaction.

And yes to others, I'm aware that had the school not made the error, it wouldn't have happened. But oh, hey, people make mistakes. The transaction was voided the same day the authorisation was requested. The bank was never out any money, but yet, I am. Frankly, the school is trying to help me, in attempting to negotiate a reduced balance for the orientation fee remaining. Which is far more than the bank is doing. But I don't feel that the bank should ba making a profit (which is what this amounts to) in this situation.

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