First Tennessee bank could pay $16.75 million in overdraft settlement

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Memphis' biggest bank could shell out nearly $17 million to settle a lawsuit over overdraft fees.

There’s a chance you could be eligible for payment in the class action settlement.

There are 54 pages court documents for the case that has been going on for more than five years.

You swipe your debit card and you might expect the order you used your card to make purchases throughout the day to be the same order money is taken out of your account.

However, according to court paper work filed in 2011 in Shelby County, that wasn’t happening to customers at First Tennessee.

An attorney for the class action lawsuit hypothetically explained it like this:

A customer has $100 in their account. That morning they get a $5 coffee. A little later in the day they spend $50 on gas. Then that evening they go out for a family dinner at $200. The customer knows they will have an overdraft fee but they’re willing to endure the 30 to $35 fine.

However, instead what was happening is the $200 was being withdrawn first.

"When they do it this way where it’s highest to lowest the money comes out a lot faster so you end up overdrafting more times than you would if they’d taken it out in the order you thought it was coming out," explained Attorney Jeffrey Ostrow.

According to a legal notice, First Tennessee maintains there was nothing wrong with the posting process it used or disclosures made, and it complied at all times with laws and regulations. Ultimately though there could be a $16.75 million settlement. Customers from September 2005 to February 2013 could be eligible for a portion of the money, the amount varying per person.

Ostrow is an attorney out of Florida who worked on the case. He said it’s a reminder of the importance of customers asking questions.

"If you think something is not fair or something is inappropriate whether it’s a fee or any other type of conduct that some company is doing, then reach out to a lawyer that handles class action and ask them, 'Hey, what do you think?'”

The case will go before a judge in April for a final approval hearing.

The judge will have the final say if the settlement is a go.

WREG reached out to First Tennessee for a comment but have not heard back.

Ostrow said people eligible to be involved in the case have been notified.

However, if you think you might be part of the case too but have not been contacted you can visit



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