Last Thursday, we filed suit against Comerica Bank, issuer of the popular Direct Express Debit MasterCard, alleging that the bank failed to investigate purported errors, despite my client having disputed the errors both orally and in writing. The allegations are summarized below:
The Direct Express card is a debit card that carries the funds of federal benefit recipients. My client attempted to use hers at a local Triton ATM machine, but due to some sort of error, did not actually receive the money she requested. But Comerica still deducted the money from her Direct Express account. This caused her account to be wrongfully reduced by $500, which prevented her from being able to pay her bills and obtain her necessities for several weeks.
She disputed their accounting of her money by telephone, with no success. Then she came to me and I wrote them a notice of error.
Under the Electronic Fund Transfers Act, the financial institution is required to investigate a notice of error within 10 days and inform you in writing of the results of their investigation. If they don’t do that, they must provisionally credit your account for the disputed money and conduct a longer investigation, which can’t last longer than 45 days.
If a financial institution is found liable for violating a consumer’s dispute rights under EFTA, they can be held liable for three times the damage they’ve caused plus be forced to pay your court costs and attorney’s fees.
This is the first case I’ve filed under the EFTA, so I’m very interested to see how it plays out.