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Judge rules overdraft class action suit against Digital FCU can proceed

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A federal judge in Massachusetts has rejected a request to dismiss a class action suit regarding overdraft fees at $8.5 billion-asset Digital Federal Credit Union.

The Marlborough, Mass.-based institution is charged in a June 15 complaint with assessing improper overdraft fees, one of several recent credit unions to be hit with such lawsuits. The plaintiff, named in court paperwork as Brandi Salls, alleges that she was charged a $30 overdraft fee for a Dec. 2014 Amazon purchase in the amount of $37.18 when her account held a positive balance of $311.15. She further alleges that DFCU charged her another $30 fee on a $27.97 purchase that same month when her account balance was $253.58.

Salls is joined by 100 other unnamed defendants seeking monetary damages, restitution and injunctive relief.

The plaintiffs claim DFCU “failed to describe its actual overdraft service in its Opt-In Contract” and alleges the credit union charges unusual and unfairly high overdraft fees.

Of the six counts in the complaint, the court dismissed charges of unjust enrichment, though four counts remain, including alleged breach of contract, breach of implied duty of good faith and fair dealing, and violation of the Electronic Funds Transfers Act.

The Digital FCU suit follows similar instances at Apple FCU and Envision CU and calls from potential 2020 Democratic presidential candidates Cory Booker and Sherrod Brown for lawmakers to crack down on overdraft fees.

A 2015 study conducted by Moebs $ervices found that the median overdraft fee charged by credit unions was not statistically significantly less than the median overdraft fees charged by banks.

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