Customers Have Filed a Lawsuit Against Bank of America for Failing to Refund Overdraft Fees Throughout the Pandemic.

Bank of America Corporation is facing a lawsuit filed on Thursday by two customers who claim the bank failed to honor promises to refund overdraft fees to customers who experienced financial hardship as a result of the pandemic. The lawsuit seeks class-action status and claims that the bank refused to honor the promises.

Several hundred dollars in overdraft and non-sufficient funds fees (NSF) were charged to Anthony Ramirez, a truck driver based in California, and Masako Williams, an 85-year-old retiree based in Texas,

according to the bank’s response to their request for a refund in 2020 and 2021 when they were unable to find work for themselves or the family members who support them.

According to a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Bank of America agreed at the start of the COVID-19 outbreak to provide financial help to clients in need, as well as to reimburse some overdraft and NSF penalties.

In a statement, Firm of America spokesperson William Halldin did not explicitly address the situation, but he noted that the bank “offered tens of millions of dollars in fee exemptions during the height of the flu pandemic in 2020.”

Banks are already being scrutinized more closely by authorities because of overdraft and non-sufficient funding fines. Customer comments regarding this and other “junk fees” are being sought by the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which is considering new recommendations aimed at reducing banks’ reliance on the payments.

Overdraft costs will be reduced to $10 from $35 starting in May, and the bank will no longer charge a $35 non-sufficient funds fee for items like bounced checks and automated account withdrawals that are rejected by the bank, according to a statement released in January.

Ramirez and Williams claim that bank officials declined their refund requests on multiple occasions and that it appeared that the bank did not have a sufficient mechanism in place to process the refunds.

As an example, according to the lawsuit, Williams was once turned down for a refund by a bank representative who claimed that “the computer program used would not authorize” the refund.

Hassan Zavareei, a founding member of the Washington, D.C.-based legal firm Tycko & Zavareei, said in an interview with Reuters that Bank of America informed customers, “If you have an issue, call us and we will reimburse your overdraft costs.”

“They made that guarantee, but they didn’t put in place or develop any procedures to allow them to take advantage of their commitments.”

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