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Can they do this?


AmandaS
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My husband has a credit card with MBNA that he brought into the marriage, not in my name. I made a payment on his behalf while he was out of the country with my checking account over the phone. I was an "authorized user" previously but after he had a couple late payments it showed up on my credit report too so he asked that they remove me as a user and I disputed with the credit reporting agencies and it was promptly removed from each.

Currently, due to the impossibility of paying this bill last month it is past due. Today MBNA called me and said that they were going to be taking a payment out of my checking account that they have on file at the end of this month. I told them they are not authorized to do that and that my husband would be making that payment. They said they were doing it, they have it on file and I have until the end of the month to be sure the funds are there. They said they know our mortgage payments are being paid and wanted to know why they aren't being paid? I told her that was not my account and that my husband would be calling her back no later than Wednesday (he is out of the country again) and that they were not authorized to remove the money from my account. Again, they said they were doing it. I called my bank and they said they couldn't stop a payment prior to it coming in, I would have to dispute after the fact. What I will end up doing it closing my checking account this weekend so that MBNA will no longer have my info.

My questions are:

1) Is this legal since I am not an authorized user?

2) Is it legal to use a checking account they have on file to withdrawal payments?

3) What is my course of action if any?

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Sorry in advance that this reply is not going to be of use to you... but:

This is exactly why I hate to and refuse to provide my checking account info to anyone if I don't have to. Even debit cards that draw on my checking account are an issue for me and I limit that as much as possible.

I've been burned by creditors charging my account by mistake out of nowhere and screwing me financially. All they say is oops, we're sorry, we'll reverse it.

Ok -off my high horse and to your post now...

I, personally, would close the checking account and get a new one.

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It doesn't matter that they have your info from before, they do NOT have the legal right to just dip into your account whenever they feel like it !! Making one payment is NOT a blanket authorization and if your bank treats it as such I'd be looking for another bank.

I suspect that the fool at MBNA may be just trying to turn the screws, especially since you are no longer on your DH's account.

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Write a letter to your bank telling them that ACH withdrawls from MBNA are no longer authorized and that you have told MBNA the same. Tell your bank that MBNA has threatened to take funds in defiance of your telling them they are not authorized. Deliver certified mail. Once you do that, the Electronic Funds Transfer Act kicks in. If the bank allows the ACH from MBNA to go through, the bank must reverse the charges and any associated fees (like overdrafts) to your account. It's the law and the bank has no choice in the matter. Further, because of the nature of ACH withdrawls, the bank has to eat the cost because they cannot dip into MBNA's accounts to reverse it and get the money back.

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I've been burned by creditors charging my account by mistake out of nowhere and screwing me financially. All they say is oops, we're sorry, we'll reverse it.

See above. The EFTA also protects unauthorized charges you are not aware of beforehand. If it was a charge made in error, the bank must reverse the charges to your account and all associated fees upon notice from you that it was a mistake. Banks HATE this law so they will frequently try to deny their responsibilities under it. So have a copy ready to show them if they are difficult about refunding fees and reversing charges.

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I don't disagree with any of the advice already offered but were I you, I woud cancel the checking account they have the data for and NEVER give a collector that sort of information again.

I know it's inconvenient but when dealing with a CA (or in any adversairal situation), I would always use a money order or some other instrument that insulates your actual accounts when making a payment.

The ONLY way you can win with your money is to stay in control and you can't do that when a CA has your checking account information.

Ultimately the law is on your side on this...the problem is, if you actualy DO owe the money it's very difficult, IMHO, to agrue that the CA sholdn't take the money out of the account. :)

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Thank you all very much for taking the time to respond to my questions. I am going to write the letter to the bank as suggested with copy of the law!

Because I can't cancel my checking account prior to Friday (direct deposit already in process) I will do so immediately after. Even though the MBNA representative said the money would be withdrawn end of month I don't trust them!

Thanks again everyone, excellent advice, excellent board!

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I forgot to post the response from my bank regarding this issue. I told them I only authorized a one time payment to MBNA and asked them to not allow any further withdrawals from them. The payment was a check by phone.

In response to your e-mail regarding a debit transaction on your account, please allow me to assist you.

According to your account, the payment submitted to MBNA was presented as a paper check created to MBNA. Unfortunately, we are unable to prevent future debits presented in the same manner from clearing your account. It would be impossible to place a stop payment on any future checks because MBNA is creating the check and they could choose any check number.

Since you have contacted MBNA and instructed them not to debit your account again, if a debit is presented in the future, you may complete an Affidavit of Forgery, Endorsement or Alteration form. There is a section on this affidavit specifically for paper drafts. This form can be completed and notarized at any banking center that is most convenient to you.

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