All over a darn $3?

July 5, 2009

See, this kinda pisses me off. This is one of the reasons businesses in America are going down; all over $3!! Get over it people! It HAPPENS. Notify the bank of the error and they will be more than happy to fix it. Not sue the company over a lousy $3 just to have another employee lose their job. I know what you may be thinking: It’s a bank and they have plenty of money. Well, that is not the point here. Over time, businesses lose money and next thing you know…they need bailout money. Now, who is just the right person to pay for that? YOU; the tax payer.

Woman’s $3 ATM fee ends up costing bank $90K

CHICAGO (STNG) — ATM fees typically are one of life’s minor annoyances, but one Chicago area woman made a federal case over the three bucks she was charged using an Oak Forest cash machine in November 2007.

Now, her class-action lawsuit could put cash — as much as $1,000 apiece — into the wallets of thousands of other people who used the same machine.

Sheryl Stone claimed the ATM’s owner, Marquette Bank, violated the federal Electronic Funds Transfer Act by not disclosing that she’d be charged a fee for using the ATM because she wasn’t a customer of the bank. Under federal law, an electronic message on the machine’s screen has to disclose any fees. There also must be a sign on the ATM. If either is missing, a bank can be found in violation of the statute.

Marquette Bank is opting to settle Stone’s lawsuit. The law firm she hired to handle the case — which has carved a niche for itself suing banks over ATM fee disclosures — says about 3,300 people who used that ATM could collect from Marquette.

A federal magistrate in Chicago is scheduled to rule on the settlement in September. Along with newspaper ads notifying the public of the settlement, there’s a legal notice on the ATM, at 5700 W. 159th St.

Of the $90,000 Marquette ponied up for the settlement, Stone gets $1,000, and the law firm — the Consumer Advocacy Center — gets up to $27,000 to cover its fees. Other customers charged a fee are expected to split the rest of the money.

Marquette said “the cost of a federal lawsuit would exceed the cost of settling the case, therefore, it was prudent to resolve the case quickly and avoid legal fees.”

The Consumer Advocacy Center also is advertising for class members for a similar lawsuit it settled with Charter One Bank, alleging failure to disclose fees at 10 ATMs. Charter One is paying $500,000 to settle that complaint.