A class-action lawsuit has been filed against Bank of America for its role in the widespread fraud involving California Employment Development Department (EDD) debit cards provided by the bank to people getting unemployment benefits. According to a CBS San Francisco news report, the lawsuit lists a number of failings by Bank of America saying that the suit is a wakeup call for the bank, and that the problems could have been foreseen.
Lawsuit Alleges Several Violations
The lawsuit alleges that Bank of America violated the California Consumer Privacy Act, the Unfair Competition Law, parts of the Electronic Funds Transfer Act and breach of contract with the EDD. According to the complaint, the bank was required to provide secure accounts for unemployment payments, but failed to provide basic security measures such as industry-standard chip technology to protect these EDD debit cards. As a result thousands lost valuable financial help during a pandemic because of fraudulent transactions and hacked accounts.
Nearly 1.4 million accounts have been frozen to investigate possible fraud. KPIX 5, which initially exposed this issue, has spoken to dozens of people who say not only are they victims of fraud, but they have also had no luck trying to get help from the bank or from the EDD. One victim said she doesn’t believe Bank of America was taking this issue seriously and said she felt like she was being treated like a second-class citizen. Another customer said she and other had to hold for two to three hours to speak to someone at the bank and even then, no one would respond.
Advantage of a Class Action Lawsuit
It is indeed tragic that so many Bank of America customers did not have access to what might have been their only lifeline in a time of a crisis and a global pandemic. Financial institutions have a legal obligation to protect their customers’ assets and provide security measures so their information is not hacked into and their funds are not stolen.
Class action lawsuits are more or less the last resort of sorts for consumers who are victimized in this manner. While their individual damages may not rise to the level of filing a separate lawsuit, they do have the right under the law to band together and file a class-action lawsuit against a large corporation. Therefore, the common man has the ability to hold a large corporation accountable by putting people and resources together.