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Way To Prevent ACH Debits From Checking Acct?  
User currently offlinelincoln From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 3887 posts, RR: 8
Posted (4 years 7 months 1 week 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 17334 times:

Ok... I'm pissed.

Some idiots called Northern Leasing decided (presumably due to their inability to type the correct account number) to make a debit against my checking account on the 18th for a bit north of $2000, in the form of an ACH Debit (refrenced as "POTS SPOT RESATURANT LEASE").

Now I've never heard of Northern Leasing before, and as a matter of fact don't have any leases (my last and only lease was my apartment -- 2.5 years ago, and there were no outstandind obligations of that lease).

So I've called Bank Of America, who were less than helpful but faxed me an affidavit to sign so they could "investigate" and said that this type of claim usually takes 3-10 days to resolve. Based on the number of attorneys I have for neighbors I'm seriously contemplating using any and every legal means to make life miserable for the scumbags (to reach into some random person's bank acount and pull money you have no claim to is just plain wreckless theft)

But I'm ranting:

This transaction came as the form of an ACH Debit. I have never authorized any ACH Debits to my account, and don't intend to do so -- businesses are paid via billpay, individuals (about 6 times a year) are paid via check. Do I have any way to demand my bank not honor any ACH Debits?

Lincoln
(It's just a damned good thing that I have more than the $2000 in my checking account.)


CO Is My Airline of Choice || Baggage Claim is an airline's last chance to disappoint a customer || Next flts in profile
11 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineGatorFan From United States of America, joined Oct 2009, 331 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (4 years 7 months 1 week 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 17295 times:

their is a mechanism called an ACH block that can be placed on bank accounts preventing any ACH transactions.

We recently had a conversation the Treasury Mgt people at BoA about this at my company. Due to a technicality in the banking rules and the laws governing fraud protection, you're most likely to be the victim of ACH fraud on a handful of days which are traditional days off but not banking holidays. The day after Thanksgiving is the most common day. An ACH transaction can be reversed by dispute within 24 hours if it is reported within that window. After that 24 hours, it's up to the bank's fraud policies to determine when or if to reverse it.


User currently offlinelincoln From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 3887 posts, RR: 8
Reply 2, posted (4 years 7 months 1 week 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 17269 times:

Interesting... The transaction posted on 2/18 and I noticed it and called to dispute it on 2/19 (Friday) but they said nothing about a 24 hour window... Instead they told me that unless they received my signed affidavit by the 59th day after posting they wouldn't be able to "investigate"... Which I faxed over to them at 11:00 this morning....

I guess I'll be calling About the ACH block first thing Monday morning. Assholes (both bofa and northern leasing)



CO Is My Airline of Choice || Baggage Claim is an airline's last chance to disappoint a customer || Next flts in profile
User currently offlineLAXintl From United States of America, joined May 2000, 25524 posts, RR: 50
Reply 3, posted (4 years 7 months 1 week 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 17239 times:

I'm not sure you can block Automated Clearing House access to personal accounts -- but then again why would you want to, just based on one fubar?

ACH transactions which are ever growing in our economy provide lots of convenience from automatically paying things such as repetitive bills like insurance, loans, utilities(often at slight discounts even), buying stuff such as eBay, tax payments or refunds, transfers of money between institutions, payroll direct deposit etc.

Unless I wanted to get back in the business of writing endless checks, I'm not sure I could live without the electronic payment network which ACH is.

I don’t know what BofA does, but as a small business owner also, I know some banks offer what is called a 'lockbox' service which amongst various things is a firewall or basically another account between you and 3rd parties. Your inbound and outbound transactions are made from this lockbox and not your primary account. You fund the lockbox as needed, and can transfer money in from the lockbox as you wish. So in essence 3rd parties only know your lockbox details, and not your true account details.



From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
User currently offlineken777 From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 8299 posts, RR: 8
Reply 4, posted (4 years 7 months 1 week 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 17229 times:

The first question is how did Northern Leasing get your information. Did a Google on them and "scam" and "Lawsuit" were relatively prominent.

Check it out - one of your legal neighbors might well want to hep you out.

Or maybe see about filing criminal charges. $2,000 is a felony level crime.


User currently offlinelincoln From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 3887 posts, RR: 8
Reply 5, posted (4 years 7 months 1 week 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 17205 times:

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 3):
but then again why would you want to, just based on one fubar?

Because thus far I've avoided giving anyone my account details (yes, I know they're printed on my checks) because I was afraid of this type of thing happening. This incident highlighted the fact that it could still happen without my knowledge, consent, or any action what soever.

With the exception of my employer (a monthly ACH Credit) no one except Bank of America themselves or someone presenting a paper check with my signature should have any access to my account whatsoever.

I've written fewer than 100 checks in the nealy 10 years I've had this account. All of my bills are paid with BofA's billpay service (where they either do an EFT or cut the payee a paper check drawn on one of _their_ accounts (which, oddly, is at JP Morgan Chase Bank) and transfer the money out of my account by some mysterious means other than ACH).

Even then the only bill I allow payment to be made automatically on is my mortgage... discount or not, I don't want anyone touching my money unless I specifically authorize each and every transaction.

Lincoln



CO Is My Airline of Choice || Baggage Claim is an airline's last chance to disappoint a customer || Next flts in profile
User currently offlineGatorFan From United States of America, joined Oct 2009, 331 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (4 years 7 months 1 week 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 17154 times:

Quoting lincoln (Reply 2):
Interesting... The transaction posted on 2/18 and I noticed it and called to dispute it on 2/19 (Friday) but they said nothing about a 24 hour window... Instead they told me that unless they received my signed affidavit by the 59th day after posting they wouldn't be able to "investigate"... Which I faxed over to them at 11:00 this morning....

The 59 day thing sounds right. In most cases a charge not disputed within 60 days is considered waived by terms of the agreement between the bank and the customer.

There's a lesson here about communications - ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS confirm important oral communications in writing. Whenever I speak with someone I demand a fax number where I can send a fax. I then copy the fax transmission confirmation and send a certified letter to the institution.

If you read the fine print in most of these type contracts, the burden ends up being on the consumer to establish that the required notice was provided by the required time. Without written proof, it comes down to you trying to prove that you gave "someone"(who probably didn't give you their real name) notice and the bank simply saying "our records don't show that."


User currently offlinelincoln From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 3887 posts, RR: 8
Reply 7, posted (4 years 7 months 1 week 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 17125 times:

Quoting ken777 (Reply 4):
Or maybe see about filing criminal charges. $2,000 is a felony level crime.

Yeah, but can you file felony theft charges against a corporate entity or do you have to find an individual peon within the entity?

I filed the police report with the local PD this morning, including the contact info for Northern Leasing, Northern Leasing's bank, and the Trace #. I have slightly more faith in Bank of America than I have in them actually doing anything (other than stamping it "Received and Filed") based on the fact Northern Leasing doesn't have any contact with the jurisdication, but hey... one more bit that I don't have to worry about not having done if it escalates to the point of court.

I'm in Ohio, Northern Leasing is in New York (132 W. 31st St., 14th floor, NY, NY 10001 to be specific), the account [as far as I can tell] is officially tied to a branch in California, though the bank is headquartered in CLT... Anyone happen to know if the fact that it crosses state lines affects things?

Quoting GatorFan (Reply 6):
There's a lesson here about communications - ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS confirm important oral communications in writing. Whenever I speak with someone I demand a fax number where I can send a fax. I then copy the fax transmission confirmation and send a certified letter to the institution.

Yep... first thing I did after faxing the afidavit back to them was print the "Activity Report" from the fax machine. Once I get their little love letter in the mail I'm mailing it back to them as well.

I think I've decided to started recording the calls as well (Ohio is a one-party consent state, and, hey, what's good for the goose is good for the gander, right?; my PBX makes it quite easy)



CO Is My Airline of Choice || Baggage Claim is an airline's last chance to disappoint a customer || Next flts in profile
User currently offlineLAXintl From United States of America, joined May 2000, 25524 posts, RR: 50
Reply 8, posted (4 years 7 months 1 week 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 17109 times:

Sounds like you want to live like a hermit, which I am not sure is quite possible in today’s world.
As long as you have a bank account, credit card, phone, email, ID you are subject to some form of accidental access, if not malicious spoofing.

But hey, don’t think its all bad with ACH. I know two people that have gotten money. One a girl got a $800 credit, and actually checked with her bank and was told that unless the credit was disputed within X days by the sender it was hers to keep, while another was about 10-years ago when a laid-off aerospace worker here in LA got his severance pay majorly messed up with an extra zero added. It took the company a few weeks to find out and by the time they did the money was no longer in his account to pull back out which they are legally allowed to do. At the end they had to settle for a repayment program where he would take years to return the money to them, while he fully paid off his car loan, and went shopping for some stuff including a home entertainment system.

While I'm sure your experience is not pleasant for you, I would chalk it up as a the price of life, and sooner or later will strike everyone to some degree.



From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
User currently offlinelincoln From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 3887 posts, RR: 8
Reply 9, posted (4 years 7 months 1 week 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 17087 times:

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 8):
Sounds like you want to live like a hermit, which I am not sure is quite possible in today’s world.
As long as you have a bank account, credit card, phone, email, ID you are subject to some form of accidental access, if not malicious spoofing.

Not at all... all of the other forms of access you mentioned have built-in protections: Credit card, for example, there's both a federal cap on liability of $50, and my finiancial institution has gaurnteed "$0 liability" for unauthorized charges.Not to mention that if it comes down to it, if every other option is ehausted, I can refuse to pay and force them to make a move.

Email, cell phone - someone can call or email me, but they dont get their hands on my money unless I've done something proactive.

ACH Debit... as far as I can tell there's no liabilty limitation and the whole dispute thing is very unclear, and by the time you even know something has happened your money is no longer in your account.

That's my problem.

To me it's like leaving my front door unlocked 24x7, whether I'm home or not, just in case I might want to let someone through. I'd much rather they knock and announce before coming in.

Lincoln



CO Is My Airline of Choice || Baggage Claim is an airline's last chance to disappoint a customer || Next flts in profile
User currently offlinesyncmaster From United States of America, joined Jul 2002, 2037 posts, RR: 10
Reply 10, posted (4 years 7 months 1 week 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 17055 times:
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Northern Leasing should return the money because at the very least you could consider them to be negligent or having willful misconduct. You have 60 days from the date of notification (i.e. receiving a statement) to file a complaint under the Electronic Funds Transfer Act, and Northern Leasing has 60 days from the date of settlement to return an unauthorized debit. B of A has the responsibility now that you have filed a complaint to verify the authorization that Northern Leasing is legally obligated to obtain before conducting an ACH transaction. Should Northern Leasing not be able to provide the correct authorization then they are obligated to return the funds, should B of A not conduct their investigation in a timely manner and get a response outside of the 60 day settlement window for Northern Leasing the funds must be returned to your account by B of A at their loss.

While it is certainly no excuse, it sounds as though someone incorrectly entered an account number which happened to be yours, or a customer of Northern Leasing either willfully or mistakenly provided the wrong account number. With that said, Northern Leasing also has a pending class action lawsuit against them in the state of New York for breach of contract.

Hope that helps,

Charlie


User currently offlinelincoln From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 3887 posts, RR: 8
Reply 11, posted (4 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 16990 times:

Thanks to everyone who replied... Just as a status update

* I filed a police report on Sunday

* I called Northern Leasing and was told that the debit had been initiated by their "Legal Department" and therefore, I'd have to fax them re: the debit (which I did, and thanks to Syncmaster's pointer to the EFTA, added some don't F---- with me heft)

* I called BofA Electronic Claims this morning to check on the status of the claim and was told that it had been resolved in my favor and I would see the credit at close of business today (6:20 Eastern, no credit yet, but since the account is in CA, I'll wait until 8 before loosing it)

* I emailed BofA about an ACH block, and received some cryptic response about ACH payments being part of my contractual obligation and that I should contact the business with whom I authorized the payments if I wanted them to stop (completely missing the part where I indicated that no ACH debit had ever been or would ever be authorized on my account).

* I emailed BofA again about an ACH block, received a "sorry for the misunderstanding, we can't help you. Call customer service"

* When I got home from work, I called BofA customer service, and got quit possibly the only truly happy-to-help-sounding rep I've ever talked to, Emma, explained what had happened, and what I was trying to do, and specifically asked for an ACH Block for all debits. "Of course we can do that...let me just pull up the form." two security questions later "Ok, I've gone ahead and blocked all ACH withdrawls from this account, is there anything else I can help you with today?"

I don't intend to test this (I'm not even sure how I would test this) but I will certainly rest easier, knowing that my front door is locked, if you will.

Thanks again for the pointers to EFTA and the keyword "ACH Block".

Lincoln



CO Is My Airline of Choice || Baggage Claim is an airline's last chance to disappoint a customer || Next flts in profile
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