Cuomo halts Citibank's fees plan

By John O'Brien | Feb 1, 2010


NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) - New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and Citibank have reached an agreement that will prevent the company from charging fees on free checking accounts.

Citibank had planned to begin charging monthly maintenance fees or per-check charges Monday on consumers who signed up for free checking accounts in 2009. The per-check fees will be charged next year.

"This has been a very difficult year for consumers in New York and across the country who are trying to make ends meet, in many cases without a regular paycheck," Cuomo said.

"Adding unexpected fees to consumers' checking accounts can hit families very hard in these times. Citibank is doing the right thing for their customers through this agreement."

The monthly maintenance fees would have cost customers $7.50 or $9.50, and the check charges would have been $1 after the first 10 checks.

Fees would have been avoided to customers who used direct deposit or made two monthly online bill payments.

Cuomo said the free checking advertisements did not disclose that the service could be terminated at the company's discretion. In November, the company decided account holders would be charged the fees if their combined balances fell below $1,500.

Cuomo says the company failed to adequately notify consumers about the change.

From Legal Newsline: Reach John O'Brien by e-mail at jobrienwv@gmail.com.

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