January 23, 2009

"Claim Your Share ($78) of The Bank of America Overdraft Settlement"

I think we've mentioned overdraft fees before, and if you've ever lived on a tight budget, you know that some banks charge progressively increasing overdraft fees and that Bank of America is one of the worst offenders.

So we were psyched to hear that Bank of America has settled a class action lawsuit over its policies that include approving transactions that generate overdraft fees and clearing transactions in high-to-low order to increase the number of overdrafts.

If you had a Bank of America, Fleet, LaSalle or U.S. Trust Company debit card and paid an overdraft fee some time between 2000-2007, you are probably eligible for a $78 settlement payment.

You can submit your claim online (or print a form to mail). The deadline is May 1, 2009. This seems legitimate - I called the "Claims administrator" number and spoke with someone who confirmed the information and the form doesn't ask for your Social Security number or anything like that. FAQ and court docs available here.

The settlement website says:

The lawsuit claims Bank of America made statements in its advertising, website, and customer agreements to encourage its customers to use Bank of America debit cards and increased the number of insufficient funds fees, overdraft fees, returned check fees, and similar fees...through the order in which such transactions were posted and the account balance information it provided. The lawsuit also claims that Bank of America authorizes debit card transactions that will result in overdraft fees; fails to warn customers that specific debit card transactions may result in overdrawn accounts; posts debit card and other transactions in high-to-low order; and provides account balance information to customers that is not current, accurate or as advertised.

Hope this info is helpful, and everyone is having a good day!

January 13, 2009

Maine Marriage Equality: "The Way Life Should Be"

Exciting news from Maine:

The drive to end marriage discrimination against same-sex couples shifted into high gear Tuesday as leaders from Maine’s civil rights community joined with several Maine families to outline plans for legislation to be introduced in this session of the Legislature.

The bill, to be sponsored by State Sen. Dennis Damon, would end the prohibition on qualified gay and lesbian couples from marrying in Maine.

Check out the new Maine Freedom to Marry Coalition website, this video about GLBT Mainers, who want to get married and thank Senator Damon for his good work!

If you're in Maine, volunteer to help EqualityMaine send postcards to legislators urging them to support the bill and sign up for email updates.