DCU Non-Sufficient Funds and Overdraft Fees Investigation

An auto-pay bill comes due in your bank account and your bank refuses the transaction because you don’t have enough money. How many non-sufficient funds (NSF) fees should you be charged for this? Should you be charged an NSF fee now and an overdraft (OD) fee later? If your bank is Digital Federal Credit Union (DCU), you might find yourself paying more than you thought, as the bank decides, on its own and without notice to you, to retry the transaction.

This is the way it works: You set up an auto-payment in your account for a regularly-occurring bill—for your auto loan or your Internet service, for example. The auto-payment date comes, the transaction is tried, and the bank rejects it. You might say, “OK, I’ll wait until I have more money in my account before I try to make this payment.” But DCU may not wait. It will decide, without any request from you, or notice to you, to retry the transaction on its own. And if the transaction fails to go through again, well, you owe another NSF fee.

Is this fair? We’re investigating to see if a class action is needed.

Some banks, in fact, permit themselves to do this. They put it in the fine print in their deposit agreements, fee schedules, or other documents. 

DCU’s Account Agreement is vague. It says, “We may charge you more than one fee, including an Automatic Transfer from Savings fee and an Overdraft Item Paid or Returned Nonsufficient Funds fee, for a single transaction…” Elsewhere, it says, “We may charge a Returned Nonsufficient Funds fee and/or Overdraft Item Paid fee each time a merchant presents a single transaction for payment, even if that same transaction is presented for payment multiple times.”

Does this permit it to charge multiple NSF fees even when the merchant (or you) doesn’t request the transaction again? Some legal experts believe that an item like “December car loan payment” is only one item and that multiple fees should not be applied. And if DCU allows itself to charge both an NSF fee and an OD fee for a retry by the merchant, why not just charge the OD fee the first time? 

DCU was opened in 1979 for the benefit of employees of the Digital Equipment Corporation. It is now the largest credit union with its headquarters in New England, with over 800,000 members and $8 billion in assets. Its branches include eighteen full-service locations in Massachusetts and four in New Hampshire.

If you have a DCU account in the US and you’ve been charged multiple NSF fees, or an NSF fee and an OD fee, on a single item, we’d like to hear from you. Fill out the form on this page and let us know what your experience was.

TD Bank Multiple Non-Sufficient Funds Fees Investigation

An auto-pay bill comes due in your account, and the bank refuses the transaction because you don’t have enough money to pay it. How many non-sufficient funds (NSF) fees should you be charged for this? One should be enough, right? But if your bank is TD Bank, you might find yourself charged two or three such fees in the coming days for the same auto-payment item.

But if your bank is TD Bank, you might find yourself charged two or three such fees in the coming days for the same auto-payment item.

You can set up an auto-payments in your account for regularly-occurring bills—for your auto loan or your Internet service, for example. When the auto-payment date comes, if your account doesn’t have enough to pay the bill, the bank rejects it. Naturally, you’ll want to wait until you have more money in the account before trying to pay that bill again. But TD Bank doesn’t wait. It may decide, without any request from you or notice to you, to retry the transaction on its own. And if the transaction fails to go through again, then you owe another NSF fee.

Is this fair? We’re investigating to see if a class action is needed.

Some banks, in fact, permit themselves to do this. They put it in the fine print in their deposit agreements, fee schedules, or other documents. 

TD Bank does not appear to mention NSF fees in its Personal Deposit Account Agreement. Its Fee Schedule lists “Overdraft – return (NSF)/Overdraft – paid (per item)” at $35.00. The “per item” notation is important. Some legal experts believe that an item is, for example, “December Auto Payment.” If that’s true, they contend, then a single item remains the same item, no matter how many times the bank submits it for payment. The fee schedule does not list a “Fee Per Try” or “Retry Fee” or similar charge. 

Is TD Bank charging more than its agreements permit?

TD Bank, NA was founded as the Portland Savings Bank, in Maine in 1852, and later became Banknorth. When it acquired Commerce Bank, it renamed itself TD Bank. It is a national bank and a subsidiary of the Canadian Toronto-Dominion Bank. Although it operates primarily along the East Coast, it is the eighth-largest bank in the US in total assets.

It has been involved in a few public controversies. These include a data breach in 2012, when it allegedly misplaced unencrypted backup tapes; a class action claiming the bank had violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act; a lawsuit claiming its coin-counting machines were not accurate; and a 2017 report that it had blocked customer purchases of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. 

If you have a Santander account in the US and you’ve been charged multiple NSF fees on a single item, we’d like to hear from you. Fill out the form on this page and let us know what your experience was.

Santander Multiple Non-Sufficient Funds Fees Investigation

An auto-pay bill comes due in your bank account and your bank refuses the transaction because you don’t have enough money in the account. How many non-sufficient funds (NSF) fees should you be charged for this? One should be enough, right? But if your bank is Santander Bank, NA, you might find yourself charged two or even more in the coming days.

This is the way it works: You set up an auto-payment in your account for a regularly-occurring bill—for your auto loan or your Internet service, for example. The auto-payment date comes, the transaction is tried, and the bank rejects it. You might say, “OK, I’ll wait until I have more money in my account before I try to make this payment.” But Santander won’t wait. It will decide, without any request from you, or notice to you, to retry the transaction on its own. And if the transaction fails to go through again, well, you owe another NSF fee.

Is this fair? We’re investigating to see if a class action is needed.

Some banks, in fact, permit themselves to do this. They put it in the fine print in their deposit agreements, fee schedules, or other documents. But Santander’s Personal Deposit Account Agreement doesn’t warn you that it will do this. It doesn’t seem to say anything at all about NSF fees. 

Its Personal Deposit Account Fee Schedule does contain a fee for “Insufficient or Unavailable Funds—Item Returned,” which is $35. A note says, “A maximum of six (6) item returned fees may be charged per business day.” “Item Returned” is singular, which some legal experts believe means that there can only be one such charge per item, with an item being something like “December car loan payment.” Using this understanding, the item remains the same item, no matter how many times the bank decides to try it. The fee schedule does not list a “Fee Per Try” or “Retry Fee” or similar charge. 

Is Santander violating its own agreements? 

Santander Bank, NA was formerly known as the Sovereign Bank. During the savings and loan crisis of the 1980s and 1990s, it expanded by acquiring numerous other banks. 

Sovereign did not fare well during the 2008 economic crash, suffering from losses related to its auto loans and stock it owned in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The Spanish entity Santander Group already owned a substantial percentage of its shares, and in late 2008 it purchased the remainder of Sovereign, to which it gave its name in 2011.

Today, Santander Bank, NA operates primarily in the northeastern US, with 650 offices and more than $57 billion in deposits. It is not a small organization. 

If you have a Santander account in the US and you’ve been charged multiple NSF fees on a single item, we’d like to hear from you. Fill out the form on this page and let us know what your experience was.

Flagstar Multiple Non-Sufficient Funds Fees Investigation

What happens when an auto-pay bill comes due in your Flagstar Bank account—say, your auto loan payment or Internet service bill—and there’s not enough money to cover the transaction? If Flagstar refuses the transaction, it will charge you a non-sufficient funds (NSF) fee. So far, so good.

But what if, in the following days, you’re charged another such fee, and maybe a third one? And you haven’t put more money in your account or requested that the transaction be tried again? 

That is, even though you might want to wait before trying the transaction again, Flagstar may decide, on its own, to retry it. And if the transaction fails to go through again, you’ll owe another NSF fee.

Is this fair? We’re investigating to see if a class action is needed.

Some banks, in fact, permit themselves to do this. They put this in the fine print in their deposit agreements, fee schedules, and other documents. Flagstar does mention NSF fees in its Disclosure Guide. 

For example, it says, “[W]e may return (i.e., not honor or reject) any Item that would cause your account to become overdrawn, or further overdraw your account. If we do not honor such an Item, the transaction will be considered a non-sufficient funds transaction and we may assess a Non-Sufficient Funds Charge against your account.” 

It also says, “We may assess … more than one Non-Sufficient Funds Charge to your account each day, depending on the number of checks and other Items presented on your account that day…”

The Fee Schedule lists an NSF charge of $36, described as “[a] charge for a returned, unpaid Item…”

Some legal experts believe that this means that the NSF charge is assessed per item. If an item is considered to be, say, “December Auto Loan Payment,” they say, the item remains the same item, even if it’s tried more than once. Flagstar’s fee schedule does not list a “Fee Per Try” or “Retry Fee” or similar charge.

Is Flagstar violating its own agreements? 

Flagstar is one of the largest residential mortgage servicing companies and one of the largest banks in the US.

Flagstar was founded in 1987 as First Security Savings Bank. Its parent company, Flagstar Bancorp, Inc., is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

Flagstar had difficulties during the 2007-2008 financial crash. It took part in TARP, the federal bailout. In 2012, the Justice Department filed a complaint against it for improper approvals of mortgage loans for government insurance. It eventually reached settlements concerning its residential mortgage-backed securities with Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. 

If you have a Flagstar account in the US and you’ve been charged multiple NSF fees on a single item, we’d like to hear from you. Fill out the form on this page and let us know what your experience was.

Citizens Bank Multiple Non-Sufficient Funds Fees Investigation

Many banks these days charge non-sufficient funds (NSF) fees if you don’t have enough money in your account for an auto-pay item when it comes due. Citizens Bank also does this. But how many fees can they charge on that item? Only one? 

Or will you be surprised in the coming days to find two or even three NSF fees assessed to your Citizens Bank account for the same item? 

Here’s how it works: You set up an auto-payment in your account for a regularly-occurring bill—for your auto loan or your Internet service, for example. The auto-payment date comes, your account doesn’t have sufficient funds, and the bank rejects it. You might say, “OK, I’ll wait until I have more money in my account before I try this payment again.” But Citizens doesn’t wait. It may decide, without any request from you, or notice to you, to retry the transaction on its own. And if the transaction fails to go through again, then you owe another NSF fee.

Is this fair? We’re investigating to see if a class action is needed.

Some banks permit themselves to do this. They put it in the fine print in their deposit agreements, fee schedules, or other documents. 

However, Citizens Bank documents say very little about NSF fees. The Citizens Bank Overdraft Privilege Disclosure says “You will be notified by mail of any non-sufficient funds items paid or returned that you may have; however, we have no obligation to notify you before we pay or return any item. The amount of any overdraft plus our standard Non-Sufficient Fund fee of $32.75 that you owe us shall be due and payable upon demand.”

Some legal experts believe that the use of the term “item” means something like “December Auto Loan Payment,” and that only one NSF fee can be charged per item. Citizens Bank does not mention a “Fee Per Try” or “Retry Fee” or anything similar.

Is Citizens Bank making charges that are not specified in its own agreements? 

Citizens Bank is not small. Founded in 1828 in Rhode Island, it initially began expanding outside the state in the 1980s. It was owned between 1988 and 2014 by the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS). Citizens Bank is now a subsidiary of Citizens Financial Group, Inc.

It has been involved in two recent controversies. First, in 2008, it failed to acknowledge it was being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for its involvement in the sub-prime mortgage crisis that caused the economic crash. Second, in 2015, it was assessed substantial fines for failing to properly credit the full amounts of customer deposits. 

If you have a Citizens bank account in the US and you’ve been charged multiple NSF fees on a single item, we’d like to hear from you. Fill out the form on this page and let us know what your experience was.

FOCO Coconut Water Investigation

FOCO is at some pains to present its coconut water as a good, healthy, natural product. The product page displays some of its promises: “All Natural,” “Never From Concentrate,” “Single Source,” No Preservatives,” “No Sugar Added,” “Cholesterol & Fat Free.”

This seems like just the thing for today’s consumers: A drink associated with health and exercise, coming from sunny, warm places where people eat and drink what grows naturally. It’s got to be good for you—right? 

We’re not sure. Are companies that produce coconut water being entirely honest about the ingredients and the health benefits of this drink? We’re investigating their claims.

FOCO offers a variety of coconut water products: 

  • Original Coconut Water
  • Organic Coconut Water
  • Coconut Water with Mango
  • Coconut Water with Lychee
  • Coconut Water with Pink Guava
  • Coconut Water with Pineapple
  • Coconut Water with Pomegranate

The FOCO website says, “FOCO Coconut Water is a pure, natural isotonic beverage that replaces vital fluids and electrolytes lost during exercise, sports, vigorous physical work and everyday activities. On the front of most of the FOCO containers, right below the FOCO logo, are the words “100% Pure.” Farther down are the words, “Hydration by Nature.”

FOCO also promises that “FOCO Pure Coconut Water is harvested exclusively from dedicated plantations” in Vietnam and Thailand “that enable us to keep the taste, quality and supply consistent.”

Also, “we control the product from picking, processing and packaging right to delivery in the U.S.” Although coconut water can be sipped directly from the coconut shell, at FOCO, “[e]very batch undergoes a careful Ultra High Temperature (UHT) process to ensure freshness and shelf stability. We also pack our coconut water in a dedicated production facility … and we never overstock (so every batch retains maximum freshness).”

Coconut water has a reputation as a good rehydrating sports drink, since it contains a lot of potassium plus sodium and manganese. It contains no fat and normally contains less sugar and fewer calories than most fruit juices. However, some companies mix coconut water with fruit juices, fruit pulp, or other substances for flavoring. These added ingredients may negate some of the quick-hydration and other claims made for coconut water.

Many of the claims originally made for coconut water have been proved false or have not been verified. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned companies not to make disease-related claims for coconut water, such as that it is antiviral, regulates blood glucose levels, or can cure illnesses. Previous class actions have taken on some other excessive claims, such as that coconut water is “super-hydrating,” “nutrient-packed,” or “mega-electrolyte.”

Are the producers of coconut water telling the whole truth about ingredients, nutritional content, and health benefits of their products, whether straight-up or flavored? We’d like to find out.

Have you bought any of the FOCO coconut waters? If you’d like to hear about the results of this investigation, fill out the form on this page.

O Organics Coconut Water Investigation

O Organics has now become a billion-dollar brand. So says its owner, Albertsons Companies, the supermarket giant that includes Safeway, Vons, Randalls, Star Market, and Shaw’s. The company calls it “one of the nation’s largest brands of USDA-certified organic products.” It now offers coconut water, a popular drink because of its “natural” nature and its association with sports and rapid hydration. Coconut water comes from sunny, tropical places where people eat and drink what grows naturally. It’s a super-healthy drink—right?

We’re not sure. Are companies like O Organics that produce coconut water being entirely honest about the ingredients and the health benefits of this drink? We’re investigating their claims.

O Organics makes at least two varieties of coconut water, Original Organic Coconut Water and Pineapple Organic Coconut Water.

Coconut water should not be confused with coconut milk, the milky-white liquid that can be extracted from adult coconut pulp. Coconut water is the almost-clear liquid inside of young, green coconuts. In fact, it’s possible to make a hole in the young coconut rind, poke a straw through it, and drink the water straight from the coconut.

Coconut water in general has about nineteen calories per 100 milliliters and is about 95% water and 4% carbohydrates. 

Coconut water has a reputation as a good rehydrating sports drink, since it contains a lot of potassium plus sodium and manganese. It contains no fat, and normally contains less sugar and fewer calories than most fruit juices. An article on the Mayo Clinic website says, “Ounce for ounce, typical fruit juices have twice as many calories as unflavored coconut water.”

However, some companies mix coconut water with fruit juices, fruit pulp, or other substances for flavoring. These added ingredients may negate some of the quick-hydration and other claims made for coconut water.

Many of the claims originally made for coconut water have been proved false or have not been verified. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned companies not to make disease-related claims for coconut water, such as that it is antiviral, regulates blood glucose levels, or can cure illnesses. Previous class actions have taken on some other excessive claims, such as that coconut water is “super-hydrating,” “nutrient-packed,” or “mega-electrolyte.”

Are the producers of coconut water telling the whole truth about ingredients, nutritional content, and health benefits of their products, whether straight-up or flavored? We’d like to find out.

Have you bought either of the O Organic coconut waters? If you’d like to hear about the results of this investigation, fill out the form on this page.

Taste Nirvana Coconut Water Investigation

Taste Nirvana advertises its “premium” coconuts, “[g]rowing bigger and swe[e]ter than anywhere else in the world,” as well as the “authenticity” of a business run by multiple generations of a family in Thailand. The company’s website says, “Coconut water is very hydrating and contains low calories, no fat, high potassium, and tons of electrolytes.” 

Really? Tons?

We’re not entirely sure about the claims being made for coconut water. Are companies being completely honest about the ingredients and the health benefits of this drink? We’re investigating their claims.

Taste Nirvana makes a number of varieties of coconut water, in different containers and sizes, including these: 

  • Tetrapak Premium Coconut Water
  • Tall Can Premium Coconut Water
  • Small Can Premium Coconut Water
  • Glass Bottle Premium Coconut Water
  • Big Bottle Premium Coconut Water
  • Huge Bottle Premium Coconut Water
  • Coco Pulp with Tender Coconut Bits
  • Coco Pulp with Tender Coconut Bits
  • Coconut Water with Probiotic
  • HPP Cold Pressed Coconut Water
  • Cold Pressed Pasteurized Roasted Coconut Water
  • Roasted Coconut Water
  • Aloe Coco Can with Refreshing Aloe Vera
  • Aloe Coco Bottle with Refreshing Aloe Vera

The company says, “We use a process called ‘Steam Sterilization’ which is approved by the FDA. It is a combination of heat and pressure, which eliminates bacteria[] within the Coconut Water.”

Taste Nirvana touts its quality and social consciousness. The province in which it’s located, Nakhon Pathom, “is renown[ed] in Thailand for producing the most fragrantly sweet coconuts … and is agriculturally developed with more modern quality farming practices that ensure human workers are properly compensated for their work.” In particular, “Taste Nirvana & our province’s farming partners do not use monkeys or children to harvest coconuts.”

Coconut water has a reputation as a good rehydrating sports drink, since it contains a lot of potassium plus sodium and manganese. It contains no fat, and normally contains less sugar and fewer calories than most fruit juices. However, if coconut water is mixed with fruit juices, fruit pulp, or other substances, the added ingredients may negate some of the quick-hydration and other claims made for coconut water.

Many of the claims originally made for coconut water have been proved false or have not been verified. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned companies not to make disease-related claims for coconut water, such as that it is antiviral, regulates blood glucose levels, or can cure illnesses. Previous class actions have taken on some other excessive claims, such as that coconut water is “super-hydrating,” “nutrient-packed,” or “mega-electrolyte.”

Are the producers of coconut water telling the whole truth about ingredients, nutritional content, and health benefits of their products, whether straight-up or flavored? We’d like to find out.

Have you bought any of the Taste Nirvana coconut waters? If you’d like to hear about the results of this investigation, fill out the form on this page.

C2O Coconut Water Investigation

Like most coconut water producers, C2O touts its “natural” features and healthy qualities. Its website lists a number of promises: “Plant based,” “Essential Electrolytes,” “Non GMO,” “Never from Concentrate,” and “Single Sourced.” One of its varieties is even labeled “100% Pure.”

But are coconut water drinks as healthy and natural as their makers pretend? We’re not entirely sure. Are companies that produce coconut water being completely honest about the ingredients and the health benefits of this drink? We’re investigating their claims.

C2O makes a number of varieties of coconut water:

  • Coconut Water 100% Pure
  • Organic Pure Coconut Water
  • Coconut Water with Pulp 
  • Coconut Water with Matcha
  • Coconut Water with Pineapple
  • Coconut Water with Ginger, Lime, & Turmeric
  • Coconut Water with Mango
  • Coconut Water with Espresso
  • Coconut Water with Lemon and Lime
  • Sparking Coconut Water Berry Blast 
  • Sparking Coconut Water Cherry Bang
  • Sparking Coconut Water Citrus Zing
  • Sparking Coconut Water Grapefruit Fizz

Its website says, “Our 100% pure C2O is from young green coconuts,” and “From an especially fragrant & tasty variety that is unique to the inland soils of Thailand, our coconuts are a freshwater type that yields a more delightful taste than the salty flavor of more common coastal coconut[s].”

Coconut water has a reputation as a good rehydrating sports drink, since it contains a lot of potassium plus sodium and manganese. It contains no fat, and normally contains less sugar and fewer calories than most fruit juices. An article on the Mayo Clinic website says, “Ounce for ounce, typical fruit juices have twice as many calories as unflavored coconut water.”

However, when coconut water is mixed with fruit juices, fruit pulp, or other substances for flavoring, these added ingredients may negate some of the quick-hydration and other claims made for coconut water.

Many of the claims originally made for coconut water have been proved false or have not been verified. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned companies not to make disease-related claims for coconut water, such as that it is antiviral, regulates blood glucose levels, or can cure illnesses. Previous class actions have taken on some other excessive claims, such as that coconut water is “super-hydrating,” “nutrient-packed,” or “mega-electrolyte.”

Are the producers of coconut water telling the whole truth about ingredients, nutritional content, and health benefits of their products, whether straight-up or flavored? We’d like to find out.

Have you bought any of the C2O coconut waters? If you’d like to hear about the results of this investigation, fill out the form on this page.

Goya Coconut Water Promises Investigation

“Quench your thirst with naturally hydrating GOYA Coconut Water,” the company webpage invites. “[T]his delicious tropical drink is the clear liquid found when you crack open young coconuts. 100% natural, it’s cholesterol free and low in fat, carbohydrates, and sugar.”

Sounds like just what consumers want nowadays. Coming from sunny, tropical places where people eat and drink what grows naturally, it’s got to be good for you—right? 

We’re not entirely sure. Are companies like Goya that produce coconut water being entirely honest about the ingredients and the health benefits of this drink? We’re investigating their claims.

Goya sells food products from the Caribbean, Mexico, Spain, and Central and South America. Its website presents it as a socially conscious company, one that donates food during disasters, collaborated with Michelle Obama and the USDA on the My Plate/Mi Plato campaign, and is “one of the top corporate solar users in the U.S. food and beverage industry. 

Goya makes a number of varieties of coconut water:

  • Coconut Water
  • Coconut Water Juice Sweetened
  • Coconut Water with a Guava Twist
  • Coconut Water with a Lychee Twist
  • Coconut Water with a Mango Twist
  • Coconut Water with a Pomegranate Twist
  • Coconut Water with Chocolate
  • Coconut Water with Pulp
  • Organic Coconut Water
  • Pure Coconut Water
  • Roasted Coconut Juice

Coconut water should not be confused with coconut milk, the milky-white liquid that can be extracted from adult coconut pulp. Coconut water is the almost-clear liquid inside of young, green coconuts. In fact, it’s possible to make a hole in the young coconut rind, poke a straw through it, and drink the water straight from the coconut.

Coconut water in general has about nineteen calories per 100 milliliters and is about 95% water and 4% carbohydrates. 

Coconut water has a reputation as a good rehydrating sports drink, since it contains a lot of potassium plus sodium and manganese. It contains no fat, and normally contains less sugar and fewer calories than most fruit juices. An article on the Mayo Clinic website says, “Ounce for ounce, typical fruit juices have twice as many calories as unflavored coconut water.”

However, some companies mix coconut water with fruit juices, fruit pulp, or other substances for flavoring. These added ingredients may negate some of the     quick-hydration and other claims made for coconut water.

Many of the claims originally made for coconut water have been proved false or have not been verified. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned companies not to make disease-related claims for coconut water, such as that it is antiviral, regulates blood glucose levels, or can cure illnesses. Previous class actions have taken on some other excessive claims, such as that coconut water is “super-hydrating,” “nutrient-packed,” or “mega-electrolyte.”

Are the producers of coconut water telling the whole truth about ingredients, nutritional content, and health benefits of their products, whether straight-up or flavored? We’d like to find out.

Have you bought any of the Goya coconut waters? If you’d like to hear about the results of this investigation, fill out the form on this page.