ATM Fee Fraud

Q: What is ATM fee fraud?
A: ATM fee fraud occurs when banks, financial institutions and/or other operators of ATMs or MAC machines charge consumers a fee for withdrawing money from its machine but fail to provide proper notice of that fee to the consumer.

Q: What does “proper notice” mean?
A: To provide proper notice to consumers, operators of an ATM or MAC machine must do the following:

1. Post a written notice on the outside of the machine that lets consumers know how much they will be charged for using the machine (what the transaction fee is); AND,
2. Provide an on-screen notice so that when the consumer comes to that screen, he/she is prompted to either agree to the charge (transaction fee) or decline it (which will cancel the transaction).

Q: Why is “proper notice” required?
A: The law is designed to give consumers the opportunity to opt out of fees that they do not agree with—something that is less likely to occur once they have already inserted their cards. Consumers have a right to make informed banking decisions up front, with full disclosure of information. Banks, financial institutions and other ATM operators are not allowed to make an end run around their legal obligations under the law—whether as a result of negligence or a deliberate decision on their part to attempt to confuse and defraud consumers.

Q: Does the ATM or MAC operator need to provide both a written notice on the outside of the machine AND an on-screen notice of the charge (transaction fee)?
A: Yes. If both a written notice and on-screen notice are not provided, the operator has violated the Electronic Funds Transfer Act (EFTA), and you would be entitled to compensation.

Q: What if the ATM or MAC operator posts both of the required notices, BUT the transaction fees listed on the notices are inconsistent with one another?
A. If the written notice on the machine tells you that you will be charged $3.00, but the on-screen notice tells you that you will be charged $4.00 (for example), a violation of the EFTA has occurred, and you would be entitled to compensation.

Q: How do I catch a bank, operator or financial institution that has violated the EFTA?
A: Easy. Pay attention each time you use an ATM or MAC machine to withdraw money. Has the operator has posted a written notice on the outside of the machine? If not—violation. If it has, look to see if an on-screen notice is also advising you of that charge? If not—violation. If it has, look to see if the on-screen notice and written notice are alerting you of the same transaction fee. If the transaction fee listed on the written notice and on-screen notice is different—violation.

Q: What should I do if I believe a violation of the EFTA has occurred?
A: You should do the following:

1. Save your ATM receipt; AND,
2. Take pictures (using your phone if need be) of the outside of the ATM (from different angles, including close ups of the machine) to show the absence of a written notice; or, of the on-screen image and written notice, if the amounts listed are different; AND,
3. Write down/take note/take a picture of the operator information (name, telephone number, physical address), so you know who to contact/sue; AND,
4. Write down the exact location of the ATM; AND,
5. Contact the Law Offices of Matthew W. Kiverts for a free consultation.

You can reach us by phone at (312) 632-1017 or by email at istopdebtcollectors@gmail.com.

Q: I visited three (3) different ATMs last week and all three did not post written notice telling me the amount of the transaction fee they charge. Do I have three (3) separate cases against the operators for violation of the EFTA (ATM fee fraud)?
A: Yes. This happens all the time. In this scenario, each of the ATM operators has violated the EFTA; therefore, you have three (3) separate cases and would be entitled to compensation in each case.

Q: What kind of compensation am I entitled to as a consumer if a violation of the EFTA has occurred (ATM fee fraud)?
A: Refund of the transaction fee you paid (usually $3 to $6); statutory damages of $100 to $1,000; and, payment of your attorneys’ fees.

Q: How much does it cost me to get started (hire you)?
A: Nothing. As stated above, you will not have to pay any attorneys’ fees. While we will keep track of the hours we work and what we do, it will be the ATM operator that will pay your attorneys’ fees—not you.

Q: How is it possible that I can hire an attorney, but not have to pay for one?
A: You can thank Congress. This is a consumer law. It was drafted this way so that consumers like yourself would be able to hire an attorney to help you and not be prevented from doing so because of the cost. Often times the amount of time/work required is such that attorneys’ fees will outweigh the amount you would recover (refund of transaction fee plus statutory damages of $100 to $1,000); therefore, if a violation has occurred, it will be the ATM operator that will be responsible for paying
your attorneys’ fees.

Q: Everything sounds so easy and almost too good to be true—what gives?
A: It is easy. It is also good. It is also true. Consumers across the nation have been helped by this law and been paid many thousands of dollars by ATM operators (including banks and financial institutions) who continue to disobey federal law.

Q: Can I hire you to help me?
A: Of course! We would be happy to discuss your potential case with you and answer any questions you may have. Contact the Law Offices of Matthew W. Kiverts for a free consultation. You can reach us by phone at (312) 632-1017, or by email at istopdebtcollectors@gmail.com.

Disclaimer: The information you obtain on this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contact us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.