Of all people in a society, prisoner releasees are among those in greatest need of support as they re-acclimate themselves to living in civilian society. This class action lawsuit claims Bank of America exploited this group of people in Arizona with a deceptive, fraudulent, and illegal scheme that forces former inmates to accept a “consumer relationship” with Bank of America.
When the inmates are released from prison, they naturally want their money to get back on their feet. This is important in particular because they likely do not yet have a job or a place to live. As a result of the forced “consumer relationship,” the releasees are issued a debit card called the Bank of America CashPay Debit Card that comes with exorbitant and unusual fees. The fees and structure of this card dissuades and disincentivizes Arizona releasees from accessing their own money and penalizes them when they do. Some of the fees include a $15 fee per transaction at a bank teller window, a $2.50 fee to speak with a customer service agent over the telephone, and a $1.50 fee each time a Bank of America ATM is used.
The terms and conditions regarding the fees are not fully or adequately disclosed to Arizona releasees and in many situations, the CashPay Debit Card online FAQ often contradicts these fees. In one example, the FAQ states that cardholders may use their CashPay cards “everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted . . . and at ATMs for any portion of your available balance as often as you like.” Bank of America did not mention that both in-network and out-of-network ATM withdrawals will incur a fee for Arizona releasees, unlike other customers. These and other terms and conditions that are publically available are not the same as the ones that govern the CashPay Debit Cards.
One plaintiff, Angela Morales, was released from an Arizona corrections facility in July 2016. When she was released. Morales was given a CashPay Debit Card loaded with her money that she possessed or accrued while she was incarcerated. She was not told the balance of her card. When she first went to a Bank of America branch location to withdraw some money and learn her balance, the window teller could not tell her what the balance was on her card. She had to make a second trip to withdraw more money and learn her balance. This time she was able to learn her balance. Both times she was charged the $15.00, just to gain access to her money and learn her balance.
Angela Morales, other plaintiffs, and other Arizona releasees were deprived from their own money to which they are rightfully entitled in order to enrich Bank of America.
Based on the facts of the case, the plaintiffs allege that Bank of America was unjustly enriched at the expense of Arizona releasees and violated the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act.Article Type: Lawsuit