Automatic monthly charges, such as utilities, car payments, and even Netflix can add up quickly. If you’re not careful with your timing and cashflow, you can end up with a negative balance even if you feel like you’re financially well off. These non-sufficient funds (NSF) fees usually average around $35 per transaction; add enough of these, and you’ll soon be looking at a three-digit amount in penalty charges.
But, is there any way in which you might be able to get this money refunded? Under certain circumstances, you just might. Here’s how.
Gather Some Basic Information
The best chance you have of getting those NSF refunded is by contacting your bank directly. After all, the bank is the one who charged you for the insufficient funds in the first place. For the conversation to be effective and productive, you will want to have some information at hand. In addition to your name and address, you should also know your Social Security and bank account numbers.
These are things that the bank associate will need to find your account and look at the charges. Besides this information, it might also help to gather the amount of NSF fees you’re looking to get refunded, and the dates on which they were charged to your account. While this last piece of information is something that the bank associate can find on their own, having the information ready for them can help speed the process up a little.
Prepare Your Pitch
It’s not enough for you to simply ask that the NSF fees be refunded. You’ll need to give the person on the other side of the phone a little bit of background, maybe how the funds got low in the first place. Did you forget about a subscription? Was an expected deposit delayed? Did you mix up your dates somehow? A good (honest) explanation could be the difference between “I’m sorry, there’s nothing I can do” and “Let me see what I can do.”
Banks have rules, but they might also be able to make exceptions—and sometimes it all depends on the specific person that’s helping you. So, if during your first try you don’t have much luck getting those fees refunded, don’t be discouraged and try again.
The chances are that the second time you call, you’ll get a different associate who might be more willing to listen and help.
Always Be Kind
This is a “last but not least” type of situation. Bank associates deal with hundreds of customers on a daily basis, and just like everyone else, they don’t enjoy dealing with rude people. Always remember that the bank associate simply works there; they are not the ones who make the rules. However, they might be more willing to make an exception for you if you are nice.
What About a Lawsuit?
It is not unheard of that some customers decide to file a joint lawsuit against banks for NSF or overdraft fees. While this is undoubtedly an option, it’s important to know that lawsuits are a lengthy and sometimes expensive process. And, there’s always a chance that they won’t go through at all. So, if what you’re looking for is to get your money refunded in a simple and quick manner, a lawsuit won’t be of much help.