DETROIT (AP) – Two Michigan retirees have filed a wave of federal lawsuits challenging the ATM fees that banks charge to non-customers.

The lawsuits from Nancy Kinder and Ray Harrison of Fowlerville claim banks are failing to post notices outside ATMs alerting users about the possible fees as required by a 10-year-old federal law. Just this week, they filed five in one day, the Detroit Free Press reported Friday.

Court records show Kinder and Harrison travel the state by car, looking for ATMs that don’t have a notification signs, and photograph the ATMs. They have sued 36 banks in two years. ATM fee lawsuits by others have been filed in other states as well, the newspaper said.

“This law is absolutely clear and has been on the books for 10 years,” said attorney Geoffrey Bestor, who is representing the Fowlerville couple. “Nancy Kinder and Ray Harrison are a retired couple who feel strongly that banks ought to follow the law.”

Doug Johnson, vice president of risk management policy for the American Banking Association, said the group views such lawsuits as “frivolous.”

The Electronic Fund Transfer Act says banks must display the fee on the screen of the ATM and in a visible spot outside the ATM. In many cases, banks charge $2 to $3 for non-customers to withdraw money. In Michigan, more than 30 lawsuits over fees are pending in federal court.

Bestor said his clients get $1,000 or $2,000 per successful case. He said they have donated money from ATM suits to charity.

Ken Otsuka, a risk management analyst who tracks ATM litigation and advises credit unions on how to avoid liability, said those suing over ATM fees are taking things too far. He issued an alert to credit unions after seeing an increase in such lawsuits in recent months.

“There are some ATM-chasing lawyers out there that seem to be sitting out at ATMs that are not in compliance,” said Otsuka, of CUNA Mutual Group. “It’s easy money for them.”

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Comments (5)
  1. Mike says:

    Well, I’m thinking the banks are not liking their own medicine. Hard to fault this group of concerned citizens for doing law enforcements job. They should get paid for doing so. It’s not like the banks are innocent of the crime. My guess is, that the law will be mysteriously extracted from the books as soon as the banks send a pack of their salivating lobbyists to little red congressmen house.

  2. KW says:

    I love how we have all of these laws and measures to try to protect stupid people from doing stupid things. Every ATM you go forces you to push “yes” to agree to that fee. Do you really need a sign next to the ATM as well?

    -Two signs on the ATM for morons

    -Change “don’t walk” and “walk” lamps to a stick figure and a hand for morons

    -A sign in the bathroom reminding you to wash your hands for morons

  3. Jim says:

    We need more unemployed lawyers. If you don’t like the fees, walk into the bank where you have an account.

  4. Sally says:

    I agree with this practice of suing the banks not in compliance with the posting law. Fees should be disclosed before you start a transaction. How do you know the “You will be charged a $- fee if you complete this transaction” message posts on the screen? Even it it does many people blow right through that screen. Having the “policy” in writing always before your eyes makes it hard to ignore. Banks were so quick to slap a $35 NSF charge (that was in the fine print when you signed up for an account or not revealed at all) if you overdrew even by one dollar, that they should follow this law and be fined for nondisclosure of fees. I praise this couple for what they are doing. Bankers sit up and take notice. Pay attention. The people asked for this law so we would know what if any charges were imposed when we were using a machine and not dealing with a human who would explain the fee to us.

  5. kevin mills says:

    The banks are out to steal your money in anyway they can. Banks were created to protect your money, keep it safe against thieves. Now you must protect your money against the banks. Your better off putting your money under your mattress. Problem is they charge you to cash the check.

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