Your CARES Act stimulus check could be seized by the bank to pay off a balance. Fenters Ward is challenging this practice in court.
Today Fenters Ward received the first call from a Pittsburgh resident because a bank seized his stimulus check.
The customer received a call from a local branch of a national bank, where he no longer has an open account. He previously closed the account because of an ongoing dispute with the bank over fraudulent debit charges. There was a negative balance which he denied owing.
When the local branch realized the government was attempting to deposit the CARES Act Stimulus Check into the account, they called our client and told him they reopened the account without his knowledge, accepted the money, and applied the stimulus check to the negative balance. The bank only notified him after the fact.
Like a predator, the bank saw an opportunity and they took it! This man was given no warning, and no day in court to resolve the dispute.
After taking the money the bank offered him a small check if he would sign a release of claims, forfeiting his right to sue. He did not sign.
CARES Act Stimulus Check is Supposed to Help
These payments are supposed to help individuals and families put food on the table during this crisis, not enrich debt collectors and banks. How can we let this happen when it is clearly not our lawmaker’s intention?
National media outlets, including Forbes, reported on this issue yesterday, calling this practice “Beyond Predatory”.
There is nothing in the CARES Act that stops a bank from seizing a persons payment and using it to pay off the individuals debts.
However, there are existing state and federal laws that may prohibit this practice. It is up to law firms like ours to challenge this behavior in court, and ensure residents get their CARES Act Stimulus Check for its intended purpose.
Our law firm is one of the largest private attorney general firms in Pennsylvania, which means we enforce consumer protection laws. We are known nationally for taking on large banks and debt buyers. We recovered over half a million dollars for consumers last year.
We intend to file a claim under the Fair Credit Extension Uniformity Act, and the Unfair Trade Practices Act, which prohibits “unfair” or “unconscionable” means to collect a debt. Unconscionable business practices are defined as those that are so unfair that it shocks the conscience.
Lawsuits like these remind us why it is important to have the necessary expertise to defend consumers against predatory businesses. The banks are counting on the fact that they can outsmart their customers. At our law firm we specialize in enforcing federal and state consumer protection laws on behalf of people like you. If we are successful in these cases, the consumer gets the money back, and the bank pays our attorney fees. That’s our state law. There no is no fee unless we are successful.
Unfortunately, this will happen to many Pennsylvanians. You or someone you know may need an attorney to fight the bank.
Know your rights. Call our law firm at 412-545-3016, or fill out a form on this website. Let us win your next fight.