HARRISBURG, Penn. – A federal court here dismissed a suit last week alleging Pennsylvania State Employees CU violated provisions of the Electronic Funds Transfer Act after the credit union produced evidence suggesting that someone had removed the legally required notice affixed to the ATM disclosing the fees to be charged to non-member users of the cash machine.
The dismissal was ordered after the credit union giant produced affidavits and photos showing the disclosure notice had been posted in 2006 and had been there until early in 2011, shortly before a Pennsylvania couple claimed they used the ATM absent the required disclosure.
The suit was filed by Gerald Riviello and Christina Prakula, who have filed similar EFTA suits against Tobyhanna FCU, Choice One Community FCU, Penn State FCU, New York’s SEFCU, and a handful of banks.
The two are among a proliferating group of so-called ATM vigilantes who are filing a growing number of suits against credit unions and banks over provisions of the EFTA, which requires ATM owners to post notification of fees to be charged non-customers both on-screen and on the outside of the machine.
In the PSECU case, U.S. Judge Robert Mariani ruled the credit union provided enough evidence to show it had posted the required notification and reposted it after credit union employees learned the original notice had been removed or fell off.
The court ruling comes as numerous credit unions have opted to settle EFTA suits, rather than fight them.
Two Louisiana credit unions, Centric FCU and Monroe Telco FCU, and two Texas credit unions, First Light FCU and Coastal Community FCU, agreed last month to settle EFTA suits brought by a New Yorker named Don Anderson who has filed more than 30 such suits in the southwest. Terms of the settlement are confidential, but sources indicate Anderson earned $1,000 and attorneys’ fees for his claims.
And at least three Michigan credit unions have agreed to settle EFTA claims brought by a Michigan retiree named Nancy Kinder who has filed more than 40 ATM suits against credit unions and banks.