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Denying Dispute for Not Taking Care of Cards

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A customer has claimed $700+ in ATM withdrawals are unauthorized following her loaning her vehicle, in which she left her purse and debit card, to a "down and out" acquaintance who she admitted may have previously had the opportunity to shoulder-surf her PIN. Seems cut and dry that customer has a bona fide dispute but bank has previously provided final credit of over $700 to same cardholder following unauthorized debits after she took in a homeless teen, put her purse with debit card on the kitchen counter, then left for a few hours to run errands, which suggests that customer is using the bank to reimburse her "philanthropy." Do we have a leg to stand on in saying customer is not taking reasonable care of her cards to the extent that her dispute can be denied?

No, you cannot deny the dispute based on consumer negligence. The commentary to 1005.6 is very clear that we cannot increase a consumer's liability based on these facts. If the cardholder admits to granting authority to the acquaintance to use the card and they exceeded the authority given, then your customer would be liable. We also do not have to issue a replacement card to this customer.

Consumer negligence. Negligence by the consumer cannot be used as the basis for imposing greater liability than is permissible under Regulation E. Thus, consumer behavior that may constitute negligence under state law, such as writing the PIN on a debit card or on a piece of paper kept with the card, does not affect the consumer's liability for unauthorized transfers. (However, refer to comment 2(m)-2 regarding termination of the authority of given by the consumer to another person.)

First published on 09/16/2018

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