We recently had a problem with Bank of America (BOA). BOA originally refused to credit my father's savings account for unauthorized transfers because they occurred more than 60 days prior to his claim. My father didn't receive a bank statement for over four months because he lives in Venezuela and the mail system there is so slow. When he finally received the statement it revealed that money had been withdrawn from his account without his authorization. The unauthorized transfers occurred in October but he did not receive the statement until February, at which point he immediately notified the bank. The bank official that he spoke with said that he could go to the police but there was nothing that the bank would do since the claim was older than 60 days. They also said that he could go ahead and send a claim in anyway, but that it essentially would do no good. He filed a claim but within 10 days he received notice that since it was more than 60 days old, nothing more would be done. My father contacted BOA several more times, read bank officials the applicable law, and approximately 45 days after the claim was filed, he finally got all of his money back!!! We found all of the laws confusing, as well as the bank officials misleading, and so we have compiled some links and tips with the hope that someone in a similar situation can benefit from our experiences.
Tips for getting your money back if the claim is older than 60 days:
1.) Don't give up! Don't get discouraged if the back of the bank statement says you must report claims within 60 days, or if bank officials tell you that your claim is no good because it is older than 60 days, because according to the law (Regulation E (Title 12 Part 205 of the Code of Federal Regulations), the bank is liable for some unauthorized transfers that are more than 60 days old. This is based on CFR 205.6 (3):
CFR 205.6 (3) Periodic statement; timely notice not given. A consumer must report an unauthorized electronic fund transfer that appears on a periodic statement within 60 days of the financial institution's transmittal of the statement to avoid liability for subsequent transfers. If the consumer fails to do so, the consumer's liability shall not exceed the amount of the unauthorized transfers that occur after the close of the 60 days and before notice to the institution, and that the institution establishes would not have occurred had the consumer notified the institution within the 60-day period. When an access device is involved in the unauthorized transfer, the consumer may be liable for other amounts set forth in paragraphs (b) (1) or (b) (2) of this section, as applicable.
So, according to the law, the only way to ensure that you are not liable for any unauthorized transfer is to report all such transfers within 60 days, but that does not mean that you are completely out of luck if your claim is older than 60 days.in my fathers case, all of the unauthorized transactions occurred in October but he did not notify the bank until February. He was liable for none of the unauthorized transactions because no unauthorized transfers were made 60 days after the statement was issued and before he notified BOA. So, to put it another way, his liability was 0, and he got all of his money back, because the unauthorized transfers that occurred after the close of 60 days (that would have been December) and before notice to the institution (that was February) was equal to 0. However, if there would have been unauthorized transfers in December or January he could have potentially been held liable for those transactions, but he still would not have been liable for the unauthorized transfers in October or November. Fortunately, even if you find yourself in that tricky situation, there might still be hope. One possible argument could be that even if you would have reported the unauthorized transfers in the 60 days after the statement was sent, they still would have occurred. This might be the case if you were the unlucky victim of fraud in two unrelated events. The second argument that you could make is based on CFR 205.6 (4) which states:
205.6 (4)"Extension of time limits. If the consumer's delay in notifying the financial institution was due to extenuating circumstances, the institution shall extend the times specified above to a reasonable period.
I am not sure whether my fathers extenuating circumstances would have been enough (a slow mail system in Venezuela) to qualify for an extension of the time limits, but it would have been worth a try. One slam dunk reason would be a coma, but maybe some other good reasons could be a grave illness or an extended trip abroad. If you find yourself in one of these gray areas, your best bet might be to consult with an attorney.
2.) Talk to the person with the most authority at your local branch and read them the law. Regulation E is the place to start and consists of more material than what I have included here, however, the included passages might be the most persuasive.in all of the conversations that my father had with bank officials they never admitted that they were liable but ultimately of course his account was credited the full amount due.
3.) Let the bank know that you will not give up and that you will contact the media if you need to. Be prepared to follow through with this if necessary.
4.) If the bank does not give your money back, file a claim with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). The OCC regulates Bank of America but if your bank is regulated by another agency, the OCC could steer you to them. (1-800-613-6743 http://www.occ. Treas. Gov/). Also, to be better prepared for this possible step, it is a good idea to write down the names of all bank officials that you speak with, as well as the dates and details of the conversations.
5.) In some cases you might not be able to get through this on your own and an attorney might be able to help. You could also call the OCC or your state attorney general if you have some basic legal questions.
Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC): http://www.occ. Treas. Gov/
Code of Federal Regulations: http://ecfr. Gpoaccess. Gov
Regulation E (CFR 205) in particular: http://ecfr. Gpoaccess. Gov/cgi/t/text/text-idx? C=ecfr&sid=057a3b2ad09b2858541ed1bb2c6ce6c8&rgn=div5&view=text&node=12:22.214.171.124. 5&idno=12
Justice for all