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Citizens Bank Should Refund All Fees for Insufficient Funds

Posted Tue August 26, 2008 12:00 pm, by David N. written to Citizens Bank

Write a Letter to this Company

I just got back from a lovely island vacation; Zero cell phone coverage, no internet, one non-bank affiliated ATM (that seldomely works), and wonderful weather.

Chaffing back into the reality of the work week I checked my account balances to discover $312 in insufficient funds fees deducted from my account.

I am basically neurotic about my account balance. I check it several times daily and am always aware of the balance etc.. However being away from virtually any source of communication caused a week lapse in my usual habits.

Regardless of my habits, I was assessed the first insufficient funds fees amounting to $273 on 8/15. There were several debits made from the account on 8/14 - but there was sufficient funds to cover them all.

What is causing the fees to be assessed are charges that show up on 8/18. . . AFTER I've been assessed fees?!?!?!

Essentially the bank does nothing - but charges me for it. The claim is they put holds on the account (which never show up mind you). The bank never layed out money on my behalf, they didnt do a thing. They were "invoiced" for the charges that caused the fees on 8/18 - at which time there was more than enough money in there to cover the charges.

I see no point in charging me an absurd amount of fees when the bank has not done a thing on my behalf. I could see if they actually paid non-existent money on my behalf. . . but that is not the case.

In my opinion an ATM/debt card should NOT be approved for purchases if there is not sufficient money in the account to cover those purchases. Seems pretty straight forward to me. Charing me that amount of money, any money for that matter, in fees when the true debit/invoice hasn't been paid by the bank is absurd.

I'd appreciate Citizens Bank refunding ALL the fees assessed to my account; not one, two, three. . . but ALL. Perhaps then, not like Citizens cares, I'll remain a customer. If they're unwilling my 15 years as a banking customer and savings are going elsewhere.


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by Rbasteri Posted Mon March 8, 2010 @ 11:50 AM

They Charged Me 500+ in less than three days!! It is absolutely
ridiculous. I had been in Costa Rica and had the same problem of no
Internet or Phone where I was located. I noticed that I Had the Funds
available too. The fees were assessed after the fact. Regardless this
was my first case of ever overdrawing and they are charging absurd
amounts in fees. Not Fair to the Consumer at all!

by NancyC73 Posted Fri July 31, 2009 @ 7:36 AM

They just charged me $195 in insufficient funds fees - they put the
hightest amount first then deduct all the small amounts. If they did
that in reverse - I would have only had a $39 charge. This happened
because I filed my unemployment late and didn't get the direct deposit
on time. Pretty scary. I'm unemployed with bills to pay and that
$195 would have covered my car payment. This really sucks

by Sheryl C. Posted Sat September 6, 2008 @ 1:28 AM

I had something similar @ Wachovia. My hubby put small charges thru &
holds were present. I saw them online. I transferred money from
another accout @ same bank instantly. Transfers are suppose to be an
available balance. Then there was enough to cover before processed.
This information was given to me by a bank employee before...just
transfer the money if not processed & NO FEES. Yeah, sure. Anyway,
we got fees for the holds & were being told would get MORE fees for
the same debts if we didn't pay up by the end of that day. I of
course said you can't charge us fees TWICE for the same debts! I was
on the phone w/ call center for hours trying to resolve. I finally
went to local branch. Manager was very understanding & waived all
fees. I have to admit she was great! I closed that account a few
months later & kept my free account. It now has 7 dollars & some
change. I do not have a debit card or checks for that accout. I only
kept it open to pay my car payment & cash checks there if need be.
End of any problems with that bank.


by redheadedmama Posted Sun August 31, 2008 @ 11:01 PM

sounds like the experience I had at Regions Bank. I will never bank
with them again because of the fact that when I made a deposit I was
told that the funds would be available in 24 hours. Well, I wrote
checks for my bills 24 hours later and then several days later I
notices in the mail the the checks bounced and I received NSF fees. I
called the bank and was told by them that the funds were not
available. I told them that I was told by a teller that the funds
would be available 24 hours after the deposit. The person said that's
not always true since the checks I deposited were out of town checks.
I told the person that the account will be closed and I will take my
business elsewhere and I will not pay the fees, PERIOD!!!

by LynnJ Posted Fri August 29, 2008 @ 2:50 PM

I "USED" to be a Citizens Bank customer as were my two sons. Until
they changed over we couldn't have asked for a better bank or Managers
that were always helpful. Once the bank here in Delaware changed we
started having the same issues. We'd be told this came in on such
such date and we knew funds were there and would be getting charged
fees. I'd have cash deposits entered into our account as a check
deposit which takes 1 or more days to clear. Would get a run around
continuously on that issue even with duplicate copy deposit slips
where I'd have proof I circled Cash and the amount of Cash that was
deposited. I DO keep a check on-line daily as the poster of the this
original post does, as I also do my check register each night to make
sure it balances. I'm the type of person who has to account for every
single penny and have also worked in a bank doing reconciliations, so
I was no stranger to banking policies.

What usually happens when making a purchase using your bank card as
either a debit or credit card is most times it goes directly through
and is processed as a hold. It can take a day or two for it to
actually post to your account. When out of state or out of country
unfortunately you can use your card at almost any ATM and since it's a
"foreign" ATM machine it has no way of knowing if your account has
funds or not. You can actually withdraw say a hundred dollars knowing
you only have 5 dollars in the account.

We changed banks to Wachovia and I love that I can log on-line day or
night and see ALL debit/credit purchases show up under my pending
holds. I can also call the 800 customer service number and find out
what our direct deposit payroll amounts will be the night before they
are do to post to our accounts.

In an effort to attempt reconciling your situation with Citizens I
would print out your online statement. Go to the bank with the
statement and your check register and ask to speak directly with the
manager. Also tell them to look at your account and account standing
as a long-term customer and demand some of the money credited back.
Usually banks will give you up to a 50% refund on overdraw fees once
per year.

Good Luck!!


by RedheadwGlasses Posted Thu August 28, 2008 @ 12:31 AM

"Zero cell phone coverage, no internet, one non-bank affiliated ATM
(that seldomely works), and wonderful weather."

I love this part. Reminds me of Jamaica. Only the locals have cell
phone access, so it's kind of amusing to watch the Americans get all
bent out of shape because they can't call home for five days. The ATM
machine was frequently out of money (and the fees were high, so you
were better off taking out a big chunk of money at once, rather than
making smaller withdrawals). I didn't see a computer on either of my
trips (even the "resorts" (low end) I stayed at did all their
invoicing by hand).

And wonderful weather. You took me back for a moment there.


Bermuda is the same way.. by Harleycat Thu August 28, 2008 @ 5:43 AM

by SusanB Posted Wed August 27, 2008 @ 6:42 PM

It appears that you rely on on-line banking to manage your account.
Financial institutions have no way of knowing what debits you have
authorized and also don't have any control over when merchants submit

No matter how sophisticated computer systems get, the only way to keep
track of the balance (and available funds) in a checking account is by
maintaining an old fashioned check register. It is your
responsibility to know what debits you have authorized and when they
actually post shouldn't make any difference.


simply not true by David N. Wed August 27, 2008 @ 6:47 PM

But it's not by SusanB Wed August 27, 2008 @ 7:03 PM

But. . . by David N. Wed August 27, 2008 @ 7:12 PM

My banking info IS immediate by SuzieCat Wed August 27, 2008 @ 11:18 PM

Good Info by SusanB Thu August 28, 2008 @ 3:14 AM

opportunity by SuzieCat Thu August 28, 2008 @ 1:02 PM
by Final Score: Boys-3, Girls-1 Posted Wed August 27, 2008 @ 4:38 PM

What may be helpful is if you print your online statement, and sit
down with someone at the local branch to go over the problem
transactions. Sometimes, it's easier to explain these points if you
are both looking at the statement, and when they see you face-to-face,
they may be more likely to appease you and keep you as a customer.

And I suggested that you print out the statement and bring it with
you, because some banks will actually charge you $1 or more per page
of your statement to print it for you!

Good luck.


by MA Cunningham Posted Wed August 27, 2008 @ 3:01 PM

this is how this bank operates. They are CharterOne here in OH and
this is the game they play.

Where MOST banks will not hit you with fees for "pending" items that
have not cleared your account, Citizen/CharterOne does. They usually
do not reverse these exorbitant fees Usually ($38-$42 PER ITEM!) and
in the rare case they do, they will not refund ALL of the fees.

They will tell you they approve those transactions as a "courtesy" to
the customer. It's BS. It's a means to line their pockets at a time
when people can least afford to be fleeced.

When they switched over here, I found this to be their practice in the
first month after the conversion. I closed my account the next.

You can make a report to your local Federal Reserve Bank Supervision
and Regulation department about it, but to my understanding,
Citizen/CharterOne's parent company is in Europe and they don't appear
to be bound by the same regulations that other U.S. banks adhere to.

If you'd like to keep any of your money, I'd switch banks and FAST.


Also by MA Cunningham Wed August 27, 2008 @ 3:26 PM

My thinking too by David N. Wed August 27, 2008 @ 4:14 PM

If a bank has a presence here in the US.. by Harleycat Wed August 27, 2008 @ 3:54 PM

Thats Exactly What C.S. Said by David N. Wed August 27, 2008 @ 4:11 PM

by RedheadwGlasses Posted Wed August 27, 2008 @ 12:21 PM

What if you went to use your debit card and their phone/data lines
were down? They would get out their old, clunky card copier thingie
(where you slide the bar over and it makes an impression of the credit
card numbers) and the deduction from your account would happen later,
rather than instantaneous.

Would the bank be to blame for putting that charge through?

(Not sure whether that's a red herring or a legitimate response, but
it came to mind.)


by KenPC Posted Wed August 27, 2008 @ 9:58 AM

A debit card is a replacement for a check. The rule of thumb should be
that you use it where you once would have written a check. Just like
a check, no one is going to rush out and stop you from using it when
funds are insufficient. It is your responsibility to keep track of
your balance. It has always been your responsibility, and the debit
card does not change this.

From reading your post, it seems that you rely on online balances in
lieu of keeping a register. You can do this if you want, but it costs

Switching banks isn't going to change your situation, it pretty much
works the same way everywhere. When you swipe the card, the funds need
to already be in the account, or you are overdrawn and incur a fee,
which puts you further in the hold.

If you choose to rely on online balances, a suggestion would be to cut
up the debit card and use cash for the chump change purchases, and
checks for the rest. It you request check with carbon copies in the
book, you will, at least, be able to look online and verify which
checks may still be outstanding from the balance you see.

by Vitrescent Posted Wed August 27, 2008 @ 1:39 AM

What I got out of it was that had they not charged the insufficient
funds fee, everything he had used the debit card for would have been
covered and the account would still be in the black. As it stands,
they assessed fees for no reason, using circular reasoning to suggest
that they charged for overdrafts that would not have occurred had they
not charged for overdrafts. So in a sense, they're randomly charging
you, as a result you overdraw your account, and then they use the fact
that you overdrew to validate the original charges.

Do I have it right? Because if I do I would suggest contacting the
BBB. You're probably not the first person it's happened to and it is
bad practice.


by Zan Posted Tue August 26, 2008 @ 3:57 PM

I'm not sure I'm understanding this correctly - on the one hand, you
seem to acknowledge that you didn't have the funds to cover the
debits, due to "a week lapse in my usual habits". On the other hand,
you say "There were several debits made from the account on 8/14 - but
there was sufficient funds to cover them all." Which is it? Is it that
you used your debit card for something you didn't have funds for, and
the funds that were added later are being used to cover the overdraft
charges, resulting in insufficient funds for additional transactions?

If it truly was your lapse in your usual habits that started all this,
then I'm sorry - the bank doesn't have to refund any of the fees.
Every bank I've ever used has provided me with a very in-depth
explanation in writing of the rules for overdraft charges, etc. It's
your responsibility to make sure you have the funds or be prepared to
pay the fees.


I think he's saying by LadyMac Tue August 26, 2008 @ 4:21 PM

What it seems to be... by mike932 Wed August 27, 2008 @ 12:37 AM

You have to by Harleycat Wed August 27, 2008 @ 5:36 AM

Precisely by David N. Wed August 27, 2008 @ 1:48 PM

Holds on the account by SusanB Wed August 27, 2008 @ 2:34 PM

the latter by David N. Wed August 27, 2008 @ 2:45 PM

Most banks do that.. by Harleycat Wed August 27, 2008 @ 5:58 PM

Check Register by SusanB Wed August 27, 2008 @ 7:11 PM

see by David N. Wed August 27, 2008 @ 7:14 PM

But.. by Harleycat Wed August 27, 2008 @ 8:48 PM

if by David N. Wed August 27, 2008 @ 9:39 PM

Again.. by Harleycat Thu August 28, 2008 @ 5:39 AM

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