Have you ever heard the saying “the devil is in the details?” Well, with regard to the Electronic Funds Transfer Act, “the dollars are in the details”—when the “details” are the fine print that accompanies all electronic fund transfer agreements. Simply put, you can stop a pre-authorized electronic fund transfer by notifying the financial institution orally or in writing at any time up to three business days preceding the scheduled date of such transfer. Any pre-authorized electronic fund transfer agreement that says otherwise violates the EFTA (and if your agreement for a pre-authorized electronic fund transfer isn’t in writing, that too violates the EFTA).
Violations of the EFTA may entitle you to up to $1,000 in statutory damages, plus actual damages, plus payment of your attorney fees.
Every electronic funds transfer including direct deposits, point of sale (POS), debit cards withdrawals, ATM cards, and credit cards sales are covered under a federal law called Electronic Funds Transfer Act (EFTA).
To know whether your EFTA rights have been violated, answer these questions:
1. Are you paying any debts or bills on a recurring basis (i.e. on a monthly basis) via your debit card? Examples may include car payments, insurance payments, student loans, payments on debts, or other bills. ____ Yes ____No
2. Are you paying any debts or bills on a recurring basis (i.e. on a monthly basis) via an automatic withdrawal from your checking or savings account? ____ Yes ____No
3. If yes, do you have a written agreement authorizing these debits or withdrawals? ____ Yes ____No
a. Did you sign the written agreement authorizing these debits or withdrawals? ____ Yes ____No
b. Did you receive a written confirmation authorizing these debits or withdrawals? ____ Yes ____No
4. If you are having regular debits or withdrawals taken from your checking or savings account to pay bills or as part of a payment plan, please identify the companies at issue, the frequency of the debits or withdrawals, the amounts of the debits or withdrawals, and provide a copy of the authorization.