ND Court Upholds $12k Overdraft Fee

By Jason Beahm on September 24, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

What would you call a $12,000 overdraft fee?

The North Dakota Supreme Court called it "reasonable."

You might call it: "outrageous, atrocious, barbaric, contemptible, corrupt, criminal, disgraceful, egregious, flagitious, flagrant, heinous, horrendous, horrible, ignoble, inhuman, malevolent, monstrous, odious, opprobrious, scandalous, scurrilous, shameless, shocking, sinful, unbearable, ungodly, unspeakable, villainous, wanton or wicked."

But did I mention that the bad-check writer had amassed 842 bad checks over the course of four years? Of course not. If I told you everything right up front, would you keep reading? It's called a hook, people.

Continuing on, the court ruled unanimously that the Quality Bank of Fingal did not break the law when it charged Lynette Cavett the $12k overdraft fee. The court found that the bank properly disclosed its fees and that Cavett paid the fees from time to time. Cavett did not challenge the fees until the bank sued in her 2008 for $78,457, which she allegedly owed on her overdrawn account, The San Francisco Examiner reports. Cavett argued that the fees were "unconscionable." Ooops, I left that one off the list.

Cavett's arguments were based upon the fact that consumers have seen rising overdraft fees recently as banks seek for new ways to make a profit. Banks have been sued regarding the overdraft fees and the legislature has sought to regulate the practice of administrating overdraft fees.

Nevertheless, the court soundly rejected her arguments, which were based on the idea that the fees should be considered interest payments and that the charges were therefore much too high. So what's the lesson in all this? Don't overdraw you account, and if you do, you'll have to pay the overdraft fees? I apologize, that's not an interesting nor exciting lesson. I'll try to do better next time.

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