I Need A Bit of Help


Hey all - I've got a spot if trouble, and I suspect someone reading this can help.

My bank removed around $2000 from one of my accounts to cover an overdraft that someone I had a joint account had made on an account I had nothing to do with. To be clear, I have a savings account with my wife. I also had an old joint checking account with Person X. X in turn had a joint account with Person Y. The bank drew from my joint account with my wife to cover an overdraft on the account held by X and Y - an account I am not and never have been on.

Despite the fact that I had nothing to do with the account that was overdrafted, Bank of America refuses to return my money, saying that because I had a joint account with X I was liable for any of their accounts, even ones I wasn't on and had no knowledge of.

This does not seem right.

If anyone can provide some pro bono legal advice on what I might be able to do to get what is, for me, a massive amount of money refunded, I would be grateful.

To make parsing advice easier, I would politely request that armchair lawyers not chime in. I need authoritative advice from people who know what they're talking about, not a massive list of guesses and possibilities.

Help in comments or via email to snowspinner at gmail is appreciated. Thanks.


Unknown 6 years, 6 months ago

Cont'd if you agreed to cover for xs liabiltiy, then your joint account might have been used to cover that ammount in a sort of domino effect. By reputation, b of a is just the slimy sort of corporation that mighht pull some nonsense like that.

However, thats not to say you have no recourse, again i cant say for sure that you are entitled to recover without doing extensive review of the contracts, but what i would do if i were in your circumstances is open a complaint with your state attorney generals consumer protection division. A lot of times they are able to mediate settlements where you are unable to get one yourself because the company doesnt want to raise the attention of a state ag. That may be particularly true of bank of america right now since they just settled their fraud case with the justice department. I hopemthat helps.

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Isaac 6 years, 6 months ago

Unfortunately, attorneys are held to strict rules of professional responsibility. Among these is a rule that provides that when an attorney offers legal advice, they are accepting responsibility of an attorney client relationship and are thus subject to potential legal malpractice claims for any and all advice they may give. As such, most attorneys will be unwilling to offer pro bono advice in an informal forum such as this.

However, attorneys can freely provide legal information without establishing an attorney client relationship. This is how sites like LegalZoom are able to function as they ostensibly offer only information and not advice.

That being said, I would love to provide some information that may be helpful but this is not my area of practice. It may be worth looking into pro bono services in your area that might be able to help. Many large law firms have pro bono programs the public can utilize.

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Spacewarp 6 years, 6 months ago

I've emailed you but hell, I'll post it here too, just in case...

My wife has worked for Lloyds Bank for the past 30 years. I ran this by her. As I understand from your explanation: Phil and Mrs Phil own a joint savings account. Phil has a joint check account with X. X has a joint check account with Y. The XY account is overdrawn. The bank follows the chain to Mr and Mrs Phil's account and takes the money.

In her opinion, yes the bank is totally in the wrong to do this, providing what you have said is correct, you do not have responsibility for the account that was overdrawn (and you have not neglected to tell us something else). Her suggestion is twofold:

1. Get your name taken off the Joint account with X immediately.
2. Complain straight to the bank. They should conclude this was an error and refund you immediately. If they do not, get them to explain in writing their legal basis for doing this. Then take that to a lawyer.

Here in the UK we would go to the Small Claims Court. I believe you have something similar in the US.

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Ed Azad 6 years, 5 months ago

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Ed Azad 6 years, 5 months ago

An overdraft ought to be small potatoes. The fact that they're giving you trouble is more evidence that American banks aren't worth the both. (Try Santander or HSBC)

You can consult Legal Aid if you want representation. In my experience, banks won't listen unless it's a lawyer talking. I've used Legal Aid twice in two states and have been pleased.

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