MEMPHIS, Tenn. – A federal court yesterday certified a suit for class action status that claims that Hope Community CU violated provisions of the Electronic Funds Transfer Act requiring ATM owners to disclose to customers on-site what fees will be charged for using the cash machine.

According to the suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, as many as 1,000 members of the credit union who used one of the credit union’s three Tennessee ATMs during a delineated period may be eligible for damages under the EFTA. But in an unusual ruling, the court said it will establish three subclasses, representing users of the credit union’s three separate Memphis ATMs.

The certification of a class action ratchets up the potential costs of settlement for the credit union, which is based in Jackson, Miss.

The court’s action comes as Congress is scheduled to vote a bill that would eliminate the on-site disclosure requirement of the EFTA because of the presence of on-screen disclosures.

The suit is among a growing number of consumer class actions targeting credit unions over the EFTA, the Americans With Disabilities Act and overdraft practices.

The court ruled that the class is sufficiently numerous so that individual filings would be impractical; that the plaintiff has raised a number of common legal and factual issues that go to the credit union’s compliance with the EFTA, and that the plaintiff, Vicki Campbell, asserts that her claims are typical of those of the class members. “Plaintiff claims that she was charged an improper ATM fee and that the claim(s) of each class member are identical,” ruled the court. “Finally, Plaintiff contends that she will adequately represent the interests of the class. Like the class she seeks to represent, Plaintiff has suffered damages as a result of Defendant's alleged violations of the EFTA.”


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