2005-06-03 / Community

Weiner: Stop Fees For Recipients Of Bad Checks

Representative Anthony Weiner recently offered a bill to prohibit banks from imposing a high fee on faultless recipients of bad checks

Imposing fees on people who write bad checks makes sense. It allows banks to cover the cost of processing what turn out to be worthless pieces of paper.

But under the current system, banks can charge a high fee to the recipient of a bad check, even though it’s not the customer’s fault.

Banks have turned bounced checks into a profit machine by charging fees - from $5 to $30 - to people, who through no fault of their own, receive bad checks. Called deposit items returned (DIR) fees, they are charged by 75% of all commercial banks and put consumers at risk every time they take a check. If the check bounces not only will the recipient lose the money they were owed but they will also be responsible for a high bank fee.

Weiner’s bill, the Innocent Check Depositor Protection Act , would stop banks from unfairly profiting at the public’s expense by prohibiting them from charging DIR fees.

“Every time a New Yorker receives a check, he or she is faced with a real monetary risk,” said Rep. Weiner. “You may lose the money you were counting on and then the bank piles on a high fee, even though it’s not your fault.

It’s time banks stop cashing in on their customer’s misfortune.”

In 2003, Weiner released a survey that found that banks throughout New York City charge consumers more than twice the national average DIR fee.

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