Accidents happen. We have all forgotten a latte we purchased, a $20 ATM withdrawal or to make an account transfer. Unfortunately, sometimes these oversights lead to costly returned-check fees. But it doesn't have to be the end of the world; there are times when fees can be avoided or the money can be returned.
Act quickly! As soon as you have the "uh-oh" moment, you see the returned-check fee charge on your online account or you receive the notice in the mail, call your bank or go into a local branch and explain the situation. Acting promptly shows that you are a conscientious customer who made an accounting error.
Remind the bank you are a good customer. If this is your first time overdrawing on you account, or the first in a long time, many banks will reverse the fee. Many banks allow a certain amount of overdrafts for their customers whose accounts are otherwise in good standing. The number varies between one and five transactions per year, depending on the bank.
Keep your cool! Unless it was a bank error, you are asking the bank for a favor. When asking for a fee reversal, be polite and calm. Most bank managers have the authority to reverse charges, and if you are nice when you explain your situation, they very well could comply with your request. Bursting through the bank's front doors and demanding to speak to the manager is not likely to get you the help you seek.
Tips & Warnings
- When you call or go into the local branch, have a copy of your most recent bank statement.
- If there is a chance that the returned-check fee was because of a banking procedure, point this out to the bank.
- The return of the fee is at the discretion of the bank. Be prepared for the bank to refuse to reverse the charges.
- If the bank does reverse the fee, make sure you do not make a habit of overdrawing on your account. The bank may not be as accommodating the next time.
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