Sylmar, CA asked in Consumer Law and Banking for California

Q: Can my bank take 90 days to investigate an error even though my account isn't new? Do they have to give me temp credit?

I did a transaction for $795. The merchant claimed they didn't receive payment, but I was charged and my bank says the transaction was successful. I did a 3 way call with the merchant and my bank and it was made very clear that there was an error with the payment from my account. The merchant then charged my account for another $795.

My bank said it can take 90 days to complete it's investigation, a month later I'm still out $1,590. My bank says they are not required to give provisional credit. I reported the issue within the required time & I was not asked to send a written report.

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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Answered
  • Consumer Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Under the federal Electronic Fund Transfer Act (EFTA) and Regulation E, which also apply in California, your bank generally has 10 business days to investigate an reported error, not 90 days. They must resolve the issue within 3 business days after completing their investigation.

Since you reported the error promptly, the bank should have given you provisional credit within 10 business days while they investigate, unless they believe the dispute is frivolous or irrelevant. The only exception to the 10 day timeline is if your account is new (less than 30 days old), in which case the bank can take up to 20 business days to investigate and credit you provisionally.

So in summary, assuming your account is not brand new, your bank should have provisionally credited you the disputed $1,590 within 10 business days of you notifying them, while they investigate and fully resolve it within 3 days after their investigation (which itself should take no more than 10 business days).

Since it appears your bank is not following these required timelines, I would recommend filing a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). You can submit a complaint online through their website. This will prompt the bank to respond promptly. If the bank still fails to resolve the issue, consider speaking with a consumer protection attorney. But start with submitting a CFPB complaint.

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