Elderly ATM Vigilantes Pile On CUs

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – A duo of Michigan retirees continued to assault the federal courts with suits claiming lack of proper ATM disclosures, filing three more suits against credit unions in New Mexico last week – all on the same day.

The elderly couple has been driving around the country with camera in hand to record those institutions they assert are violating the Electronic Funds Transfer Act by neglecting to post notices that non-members will be assessed a surcharge for withdrawing cash.

In the latest suit, Nancy Kinder, of Fowlerville, Mich., said she used a FirstLight FCU ATM in Las Cruces, N.M., on March 6 and paid a $2 surcharge and there was no notice “on or at” the ATM of the fee, in apparent violation of the EFT Act. She filed identical suits the same day against White Sands FCU and Chino FCU.

Kinder and her colleague, Ray Harrison, have filed at least three dozen suits over the past 18 months making the same claims. Among the defendants are the Michigan credit unions Lanco CU, Michigan Schools and Government CU, Jackson Community CU and Northwood CU – also sued on the same day in April – as well as AAC Community CU, Elga CU, United Bancorp, Central State Bank, Mainstreet Bank, Michigan Consumers Bank, Traverse City Bank, Bestbank, Community State Bank, Dearborn Federal Savings Bank, Northwest Bank and Paramount Bank.

All of the suits seek class action status and reimbursement and damages on behalf of any non-customers who paid surcharges while using the cash machines. Violations of the EFTA could result in fines of up to $500,000.

At least one bank, Independent Bank of Ionia, Mich., settled a lawsuit for $350,000 involving more than 40 ATMs deployed throughout the state.


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