A class action lawsuit has been filed against United Community Bank, a regional bank headquartered in Georgia with locations in three additional states, including Tennessee.
United Community Bank has offices in Cleveland, Tn., and Murphy, N.C., as well as Blue Ridge, Summerville, Trion and Blairsville, Ga.
The suit was filed Wednesday in Federal Court in Knoxville.
Plaintiff Dennis A.
Jones, on behalf of himself and others similarly situated throughout the U.S., filed the suit "seeking redress for UCB’s alleged routine practice of assessing overdraft fees on debit card transactions that did not overdraw checking account available balances, along with multiple insufficient funds fees on a single transaction."
The lawsuit was filed by Branstetter, Stranch & Jennings, PLLC (BS&J) of Nashville and Cohen & Malad, LLP (C&M) of Indianapolis.
Gerard Stranch, managing partner of BS&J, said, “United Community Bank’s improper debit card fee practices are costing Dennis Jones, and many others like him, exorbitant sums and taking away a substantial percentage of income. Their practice of conducting authorized-positive, settled-negative transactions is deceptive and bears potential impact on all of UCB’s clients. UCB’s customers should be aware of the bank’s practices and the frequency with which they result in significant, unforeseen, personal cost to customers.”
The lawsuit alleges that:
- UCB breached the terms of its account documents by charging overdraft fees on transactions that were authorized into a sufficient available balance, but whose balances were allegedly insufficient at the time the transactions were settled;
- UCB breached the terms of its account documents by charging multiple insufficient funds fees on a single transaction;
- UCB breached the covenant of good faith and fair dealing through its overdraft policies and procedures; and
- UCB engaged in deceptive acts or practices relating to the imposition of overdraft fees on consumers in violation of the Georgia Fair Business Practices Act.
Lynn Toops, a partner at C&M, said, “It is our hope that Mr. Jones, representing the class on behalf of which this lawsuit was filed, can put a stop to UCB’s unfair and improper fee practices. UCB’s customers put their trust in the bank to comply with its own promises. Those customers who have been victimized by UCB’s improper practices, in direct violation of the bank’s promises, have suffered considerable financial losses. It is our goal to not only be granted restoration of these improper fees, but to hold UCB accountable for their wrongful actions.”
The plaintiff and fellow class members demand a jury trial and judgments that include:
- Declaring UCB’s overdraft fee policies and practices to be wrongful;
- Ordering UCB to cease its conduct regarding overdraft fees;
- Restitution of all overdraft fees paid to UCB by the plaintiff and classes as a result of the alleged wrongful practices; and
- Actual and punitive damages.