Woman sues bank for $3 fee; settles for $1,000


For those people fed up over bank fees, you might be pleased to hear about some news that quietly came out in The Chicago Sun-Times right before the Fourth of July holiday. Sheryl Stone, a Chicagoan, used the ATM of Marquette Bank and was apparently pretty irked by a $3 fee.

She wasn't a customer of Marquette Bank, but the ATM didn't mention that there would be a fee, and even if she had guessed there might be one, Stone presumably didn't think it would be $3.

But it was, and she sued, claiming that the bank had violated the federal Electronic Funds Transfer Act.

Why? Under federal law, the ATM screen has to reveal any fees, and there also needs to be a sign on the ATM. Without either, that's breaking the law.

Stone went to the Consumer Advocacy Center, P.C., which took her case. The bank decided not to fight the suit, and agreed to pay $90,000 to settle the case, pending approval by a federal magistrate judge in September. But if all goes the way it should, Stone will receive $1,000, (the law firm gets $27,000) and the rest of the money will be reserved for other Marquette customers who presumably can prove that they used the ATM from between November 6, 2007 to September 6, 2008.

Meanwhile, if you're irked, check and make sure the ATM you're using, if it's not part of your network, has its sign and screen message warning you for your impending charge. After all, getting $1,000 would pay for a lot of ATM bank fees.