General Question

superjuicebox's avatar

Can i sue bank of america ?

Asked by superjuicebox (381points) April 21st, 2010

I want to sue Bank of America for defamation. A year or 2 ago i had an account there. I over drafted it a few times here and there, but i always paid my debts. One day i wrote a check to them from my other WaMu account, to pay an overdraft of $50 or so. I had money at wamu but it was still pending or something and so the check bounced. Bank of America then immediately closed my account. Then, i get a notice that i have been submitted to chex systems. I look up why I am in it and it says” Check Fraud”. This single bounced check would not and does not constitute check fraud. Now thanks to this, my credit is messed up and i cannot for the life of me open a bank account. I have no way to deposit checks without paying fees to stupid check cashing businesses. Do you think that i could sue them for this ?

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50 Answers

cockswain's avatar

Good luck. Their total assets are over a trillion dollars.

Taciturnu's avatar

No. You have a track record of overdrawing your account, even if you always paid it back. (They technically could have closed your account for any of those, actually.)

I suggest you keep the rest of your credit tidy and just add a note to your credit report explaining what happened. Other than that, you just gotta eat it.

Bagardbilla's avatar

Fuck em, best revenge is to go to a Credit Union, and have them help you re-establish your credit.

superjuicebox's avatar

@Taciturnu I only over drafted a few times. Plus, half of the time it was their ATM’s fault, because they would say that i had more money than i did, which i think they do on purpose ( i.e. i would spend 5 dollars at BK but it wouldn’t register for 5 days). And though i did overdraft that doesn’t constitute check fraud. I never over drafted my wamu account because their ATMs would update as soon as i used any money.

Likeradar's avatar

@superjuicebox It is not the ATM’s fault. It is your responsibility to keep track of your money. I agree that it’s very, very lame that online banking and ATMs don’t post things sooner. However, it is your responsibility to keep track of your balance, and I’m sure you have signed paperwork stating that very same thing.

lilikoi's avatar

Anyone can sue over anything. Doesn’t mean you will win, though.

Taciturnu's avatar

@superjuicebox I understand where you’re coming from, and your frustration.


That’s part of balancing a bank account. You are the one that is responsible for knowing how much money is in your account at all times. If you go to Burger King, they may not get around to processing for a couple days, and you have to allow a couple days for BOA. (In terms of when it shows up, iIt does depend on how it is processed, whether credit or debit, too.)

Someone can write one bad check, and it can be considered check fraud.

If it’s any consolation, I don’t like BOA, I think they make it very difficult for anyone who doesn’t have an account there, and they treat people like crap. You’re better off without them, in my opinion. But you’d never win a lawsuit when you were at fault.

superjuicebox's avatar

@Likeradar I would have to disagree. If one bank can update immediately and the other doesn’t obviously something scandalous is going on and if they do it on purpose to try and get more free money out of people than it’s their responsibility.

Likeradar's avatar

@superjuicebox You sound pretty confident. Let us know how the lawsuit turns out.

superjuicebox's avatar


[Unattributed copy/paste removed by Fluther]

- Bouncing one check accidentally is not check fraud according to its definition. There was no criminal intent in what i did, it was completely accidental and had no purpose of monetary gain.

marinelife's avatar

You will continue to have problems until you own the responsibility for keeping your banking records yourself.

superjuicebox's avatar

also, thanks to all for the answers. Don’t take my arguments offensively please, i don’t mean any. :)

superjuicebox's avatar

@marinelife Well its hard to take responsibility for keeping my banking records without a bank account :p According to how chex systems works i won’t be able to get one for 5 or 6 more years, thats why i’m so pissed about this. I bounce 1 single check and now i can’t do anything that involves a checking, saving, or any other type of account for almost a decade !

njnyjobs's avatar

Quick answer to your question is YES… but a better question is if you could win the suit?

heed the advise of the folks here and bite the bullet…. for now, you can be Mr. Fat Wallet… Just make sure, you keep the bills large so they don’t bulk up. . . .

Taciturnu's avatar


The only thing I can tell you is that you probably could have gotten away with it longer, except that you didn’t keep track of the funds in your WaMu account either, and you gave BOA a bad deposit one way or another after overdrafting a few times. Have you tried calling BOA and asking to have your account back? (If you get it back, you can always close in a couple months on your terms.) Explain that you’re young, that this is a lesson learned and finally just keep track of your banking. That’s what you should be concerned with here. You have to own it to fix it.

ChexSystems gives some advice on their website about checking accounts in general, mistakes to avoid and what happens when you mishandle an account.

BoBo1946's avatar

Bank of America….now there is a fine bunch of folks at the top!

Hope they put all that bunch “running the show” in jail!

The CEO telling everyone when they merged with (forget the name of the company), they had no control over the bonuses! BS personified!

bob_'s avatar

@BoBo1946 Merrill Lynch.

BoBo1946's avatar

@bob_ :))) my friend! Thank you!

bob_'s avatar

@BoBo1946 Oh, no need to thank me :)

But I do require a million dollar bonus for my services.

superjuicebox's avatar

@Taciturnu I do not want my boa account back, ever. The problem is i can’t get an account anywhere ! I have talked to them and another reason i want to sue, which i forgot to mention, is that when i try to get to their services dealing with these kinds of things the line is ALWAYS (100% of the time) “down”. I call, get redirected, get redirected again, then i get onto the right line and it says ” this line is temporarily unavailable. I’ve literally tried to call 30 – 40 times because this is very important to me and i get no response. After i tried to call all of these times, i decided to go down to a branch and try. Do you know what happened ? They couldn’t get ahold of the line !!! I think that boa is the most corrupt bank that there is and i hope that they fall.

marinelife's avatar

@superjuicebox Have you tried a credit union?

BoBo1946's avatar

@bob_ loll…check is in the mail!

superjuicebox's avatar

@marinelife I do admit that i should have kept my account balanced personally also, though. But i was young a naive and i trusted the bank :(

I did try a few credit unions, yes. One of them let me have an account and i did tell them that i was flagged in chex systems but they still closed my account a few weeks later because of the flag. I did not do anything wrong with that account and i did keep it balanced in my check book. But they still closed the account randomly nonetheless.

bob_'s avatar

@BoBo1946 It better not bounce or you’ll end up on Chex Systems’ shit-list, too :P

Haleth's avatar

Have you paid back the amount of the bounced check yet?

By the way, even if you can’t open a bank account, you can cash your check for free at the bank it is drawn from. Usually you need two forms of ID. I get paid on a debit card from a company called ADP payroll. Every pay period the money is deposited directly onto the card. Maybe you can convince your job to offer something like that.

But yeah, bank of America sucks. PNC is way better.

superjuicebox's avatar

@Haleth Yes i did pay it back(this all happened a year – 2 years ago) And i am semi self employed, i work with my family, and direct deposit is out of the question. But thanks for the advice, i forgot that you can usually cash checks from the banks they were made for, because i haven’t had a bank account in so long :D

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

Honestly, you stand zero chance of winning this lawsuit.

Your credit got messed up by writing bad checks. B of A just followed procedure. It isn’t personal in anyway.

The courts will see a history of bad checks and that’ll be that.

Your time is better spent working on improving your credit rather than a lawsuit. You will lose money on a lawsuit because of the expense of a lawyer.

anartist's avatar

you should contest it with them. I am about to do something similar. I had 2 accounts with the same vendor. I owed $50 on one and nothing on the other. I sent the check to the wrong account. I opened a bill and noted that $50 had been paid. So i didn’t bother to open any more bills from that vendor for a while. I finally did and found the $50 had never been paid and i owed over twice that in penalties to boot. I called the vendor. They sorted it all out, moved the $50 from one account to another and eliminated the penalty fees. No 2 years later I find the only mar on my credit report is a late payment from 2 years ago. And it matters. Damn. Now i have to talk to them and fill out stuff and oh arrgghh.

superjuicebox's avatar

@Captain_Fantasy What are you talking about ? I do not have a history of writing bad checks. And putting me into chexsystems and preventing me from getting an account for 7 years at any bank is not normal procedure. What I did in no way constitutes check fraud. Check Fraud by definition is writing checks to trick the banks in an illegal way for personal monetary gain. Writing one single bad check for $50 to pay THEM back is not that in any way. Overdrafting the account 3 times is not a history of writing bad checks, everybody makes mistakes. The only reason i would have no chance of winning is the fact that i don’t have very much time to deal with the bs they’re putting me through.

jca's avatar

i don’t think you would find a lawyer that would want to bother with this, because it does not seem like you have a leg to stand on. let it go, move on, work on your credit, next account keep a running balance instead of relying on the bank to do it for you.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

Dude I’m just giving it to you straight. This course of action is futile despite how angry the bank has made you. The law is not on your side here.

anartist's avatar

open a savings account. live on cash. that should help you keep track of stuff. If you have access to a credit union you can even get cashier’s checks for free.

btw, a lawyer’d want a check for his/her retainer.

anartist's avatar

returned n.s.f.

superjuicebox's avatar

@anartist My dad is my lawyer :p i just don’t want to waste his time.I’m also in law school, but i’m just starting.

defamation—also called calumny, vilification, slander (for transitory statements), and libel (for written, broadcast, or otherwise published words)—is the communication of a statement that makes a claim, expressly stated or implied to be factual, that may give an individual, business, product, group, government, or nation a negative image. It is usually, but not always,[1] a requirement that this claim be false and that the publication is communicated to someone other than the person defamed (the claimant).
In common law jurisdictions, slander refers to a malicious, false and defamatory spoken statement or report, while libel refers to any other form of communication such as written words or images. Most jurisdictions allow legal actions, civil and/or criminal, to deter various kinds of defamation and retaliate against groundless criticism. Related to defamation is public disclosure of private facts, which arises where one person reveals information that is not of public concern, and the release of which would offend a reasonable person. “Unlike [with] libel, truth is not a defense for invasion of privacy.”

Sounds like what they did can fall under this. I think i do have a case, i’m not trying to sue them for money i just want to make sure that the fucked up shit they’ve put me through doesn’t happen to anyone else.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

Good luck with your court case.

arij's avatar

so…if wamu’s ATMs update immediately how did you end up writing a check with insufficient funds? stop playing the blame game. you write a check without the funds being available.

superjuicebox's avatar

@arij The funds were pending. Before you want to debate about this, why don’t you actually read the content.

arij's avatar

I did..pending = not available.

superjuicebox's avatar

@arij Pending = I put them in that day in cash to a teller, went straight to boa, wrote the check and left.

superjuicebox's avatar

I think the jist of this is that banks just suck, and someone needs to regulate them. Too bad at this time in this country people can get away with anything by paying the right people off.

Likeradar's avatar

Pending =/= funds available for immediate usage.

Yes, banks can suck. But it’s still your fault.

thriftymaid's avatar

Of course you can sue—this is America. Filing suits is a way of life for some people.

escapedone7's avatar

I have been doing some research for you. It doesn’t look good

However, you could give them a lot of bad publicity and bad reputation. They already have a lot of it and it is sure to hurt their business. i know I won’t do business with them after reading too many stories like this one.

In some cases, people’s accounts are being closed because they deposit a check someone gave them and that check turned out to be bad. This can be considered their fault! In some cases people whose checks were stolen and forged by someone who stole a checkbook were also held accountable. How can I be psychic enough to know if a check written to me by someone else will be denied by my bank or held against me? The stories I am reading are insane. Reading it makes me want to start stuffing the mattress like some old crazy person. It seems even when people have no control over the circumstances, the banks can be as evil as they want because they put it in the fine print you sign.

They definitely deserve to have their deeds made public. Reputation is a part of keeping business alive and drawing in new customers after all.

jca's avatar

@superjuicebox: if your father is a lawyer, why are you asking folks on a website if you can sue the bank? you should just ask your father. secondly, your answers were a little on the rude and condescending side. why ask a question and then be annoyed at the answers? people gave their opinions. if you don’t want that, you should not ask.

njnyjobs's avatar

@superjuicebox remind me who you are here on fluther when I go around looking for a lawyer so we both don’t waste our time.
Don’t you think that an empire such as BOA, has the top calibre legal team backing them up in all their transactions? what they did to you must be kosher otherwise your dad would have been all over them, and he probably wouldn’t consider asking him for advice as wasting his time. Now since you mentioned it, then he probably agrees with people that have replied to you already.

Ishinator's avatar

Yes, absolutely you can. They may have had a reason to close your account due to some contractual provision, but they cannot assert fraud and report it to every agency they know. I know someone going through same thing. He was victim of fraud and Bank of America closed his account and reported him everywhere. And, FYI, they do not only report you to chex systems, but to every agency of the kind. So, even if your name is cleared there, you have to make sure it is cleared everywhere else. He is currently suing and they are being master assholes. If you know anyone else, Bank of American deserves to have another class action suit brought against them. With the right lawyer, you may actually get your name cleared and possibly some money. Suiing a corporation like BOA is risky and could be expensive, but, in your case, nothing is going to be fixed unless you do file claim against them and force them to do something about it.

superjuicebox's avatar

Green dot is the answer. LOL :p sorry if i offended anyone by my responses i just re-read them and some of them do sound condescending. The reason i didn’t ask my father about it is because he is very very busy on a very very important case and has been for awhile so i don’t want to waste his time. But i just wanted to say thanks for all of the opinions and sorry for any offense.

dabbler's avatar

“Overdrafting the account 3 times is not a history of writing bad checks”
Dunno, that about exactly fits the definition of a history of writing bad checks.
Not a LONG or EVIL history of writing bad checks, I’ll grant you, but you have actually done what they say you have.

You have a lot of fine print against you.

WAMU probably automatically takes a day or two to “clear” your deposit, i.e. Not pending, available.
That would be no matter whether you handed the clerk a pile of cash or not, because they are going to make some money on your money for a day or two.
The funds weren’t ‘available’ yet so writing a check on the account without funds ‘available’ to cover the check is in fact by definition check fraud. It’s not HUGE or EVIL check fraud but you have actually done what they say you have.

BoA probably also takes a day or two to ‘clear’ what you deposit there too, which their fine print surely accommodates. But you can bet they’ll post the charge to WAMU ASAP, and let it ‘clear’.
In aggregate a bank makes some serious bread ‘kiting’ the customers’ money.

“Pending = I put them in that day in cash to a teller, went straight to boa, wrote the check and left.” Sorry, that’s fantasy logic to think you’re covered. It’s reasonable, I totally understand that it could work that way, but it’s wrong logic because it ignores the rules of the game you signed up for when you opened your accounts.

Best advice is above to keep it all straightened out long enough to make these events ancient history.
Also ask them what it would take to get your record cleared, jumping through their hoops might be easier than a lawsuit.

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