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Posted: 12:00 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2010

Stop unauthorized auto drafts from your account

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Over the years, Clark has received dozens upon dozens of complaint calls from people who have problematic auto drafts of their account. Now he finally has a solution to help out those callers.


Auto drafts are a favorite way of utility companies, cable companies, health clubs, burglar alarm companies and even mortgage lenders to get their money from you each month. But problems can arise when you're no longer a customer and they keep taking money from your account every month!

In the past, Clark had told people there's not much they could do to stop unauthorized monthly drafts. That's because that's what the banks told him when he asked. But it turns out they were either wrong or they were intentionally telling a lie.

The Federal Reserve's rules governing pre-authorized transfers (part of Regulation E) states the following: "Once a financial institution has been notified that the customer's authorization is no longer valid, it must block all future payments for the particular debit transmitted by the designated payee-originator."

That means if you notify your bank in writing, they must block all future payments to the party or parties who are wrongly dinging your account. (See a sample letter that you can send to your bank.) Furthermore, the bank has 10 business days to give you your money back or to give you a provisional credit.

This is huge news. It offers protection for people who are getting their accounts dinged every month by a business that they used to be a customer of, or even by an illegal operation that's trying to dip into your account regularly.

The banks become liable for refunding your money. They may not want to do their job, but now you have the form letter to hold their feet to the fire!

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