3 On Your Side

Senior citizen nabbed for $3.6K in bank overdraft fees

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Overdraft fees are a bank's bread and butter. In fact, banks took in nearly $33 billion in overdraft fees last year and one Valley senior citizen contributed to those fees to the tune of $3,600. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Overdraft fees are a bank's bread and butter. In fact, banks took in nearly $33 billion in overdraft fees last year and one Valley senior citizen contributed to those fees to the tune of $3,600. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
While going through her uncle's paperwork, Pam Martinez and her husband discovered a disturbing trend. Uncle Les had apparently written dozens of checks ranging between $10 to $200 and many of the checks were written to charities. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) While going through her uncle's paperwork, Pam Martinez and her husband discovered a disturbing trend. Uncle Les had apparently written dozens of checks ranging between $10 to $200 and many of the checks were written to charities. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(3 ON YOUR SIDE) -

Overdraft fees are a bank's bread and butter. In fact, banks took in nearly $33 billion in overdraft fees last year and one Valley senior citizen contributed to those fees to the tune of $3,600.

Pam Martinez has quite a bit of paperwork to go through.

That's because her Uncle Les is having difficulties keeping up with his financial affairs and needed Martinez to step in and help.

"He has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and he does take medication for that."

3 On Your Side verified her uncle's condition when we asked him who the president of the United States is.

"(laughs a little) Mr. Sharpe, harp, oh what's his name?"

And, while going through her uncle's paperwork, Martinez and her husband discovered a disturbing trend. Uncle Les had apparently written dozens of checks ranging between $10 to $200 and many of the checks were written to charities.

The problem though, is that Uncle Les didn't have enough money to actually cover his generous giving. 

"It was a foolish mistake. I did it and I'm sorry that I did it."

You see, every time Uncle Les made a charitable donation, Bank of America would charge his account an overdraft fee, and at $35 per transaction, that's not cheap. In fact, Uncle Les racked up $3,600 in non-sufficient funds and overdraft fees over the last four months.

"I would like Bank of America to reimburse the entire amount," Martinez added.

However, Martinez says Bank of America denied her request. That is until 3 On Your Side got involved.

We asked Bank of America to revisit the issue considering Uncle Les' condition. They did and decided to return all $3,600 back to Uncle Les' bank account.

Martinez says they are thrilled with Bank of America's change of heart and owe it all to 3 On Your Side.                                          

"You guys are amazing. Like I said, I got a response within three or four hours. You met me for an interview just a few days later and again got the results within two days of your interview, so you guys are fantastic."

Bank of America had every right to keep that money. They didn't have to return it, but they did and we certainly appreciate that.

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Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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Gary HarperGary Harper is the senior consumer and investigative reporter for 3 On Your Side at KTVK-TV.

Click to learn more about Gary.

Gary Harper
3 On Your Side

With more than 20 years of television experience, Gary has established himself as a leader in the industry when it comes to assisting viewers and resolving their consumer-related issues. His passion and enthusiasm have helped him earn an Emmy for Best Consumer Reporter from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He’s also garnered several Emmy nominations

He has negotiated resolutions with companies of all sizes, including some of the biggest corporations in the nation.

Gary has successfully recouped more than $1 million for viewers around the state, making 3 On Your Side one of the most popular segments on KTVK and the station's Web site.

He's best known for investigating and confronting unscrupulous contractors. In fact, many of his news reports have led to police investigations and jail time for those who were caught. Viewers, as well as the companies and people he investigates, regard him as consistently being thorough and fair.

Gary has been with KTVK-TV since 1997. Prior to his arrival in Phoenix, he worked for WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he was as an anchor and reporter.

Gary is from Chicago, but launched his television career in Lubbock, Texas, after earning a broadcast journalism degree from Texas Tech University. Following his graduation, he was quickly hired by KLBK-TV in Lubbock, where he enterprised and broke numerous exclusive reports. His aggressive reporting in Texas helped garner him Best Reporter by the Associated Press.

Gary has been married since 1994 and is the proud father of two sons. When he's not helping viewers, Gary is busy catching up on his favorite college and professional football teams as well as cheering on his beloved Texas Tech Red Raiders.

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