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Reg E and Tier Three Timely Notification

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Question: 
Regarding Reg E and tier three timely notification: if a cardholder submits a dispute stating fraud occurred 5/1/20, our institution would apply the tier three timely notification and deny items beyond that statement + 60 days. If that same cardholder comes back after this dispute processes, and claims additional fraud on the same card dating back to 1/1/20, are we allowed under Reg E to re-evaluate that tier three application? Additionally, if the cardholder makes separate claims on two different days (consecutive days for example) is it correct that we may treat that as a single claim?
Answer: 

Several questions here:
1) A claim is placed. It is "stale dated" and the statement+60 day liability tier is used in part for liability. The claim is finalized. Then another claim is made and it goes back even further. Does that allow the bank to re-evaluate the first claim and perhaps use this older date to increase liability to a consumer?
- No. When the first claim is finalized, it is over and done with. It is closed. There is no authority in Reg E for a bank to re-open a claim and take back funds.

2) Can a claim be made on day one, and day two, and treated as one claim?
- If they appear related, certainly.

In both of these questions one thing the bank must do with the customer is get a complete picture of the problem at the onset of the claim. This requires reviewing statements, or ensuring that the customer has reviewed them, and all suspicious transfers are included in the claim. You want to avoid recurring claims for an account as that takes more time and costs the bank more money. Get one investigation done for them all.

That said, if a claim is finalized, the bank can refuse to reinvestigate it. Many time's a bank will reinvestigate as a courtesy to the customer, especially if there is some new evidence. But Reg E has a provision so that a customer cannot come back time after time with the same claim such that the bank might as well pay the claim rather than go to the expense of investigating it all over again with the expectation that the result will be the same. Now, let's assume the customer comes back after a claim has been finalized and wants to add yet another transaction. If the bank had known about this when it investigated the claim, would this have been in the "stale dated" amount and denied because of the date of the transaction, or would it have been in the paid column?

The Reg doesn't require the bank to reinvestigate but because Reg E is all about consumer protection, I would opine that the amount should be paid or rejected accordingly as if it were inserted into the claim when it was completed. There is no reinvestigation required, but based on the facts of the transaction, where would it have fallen, or would a new investigation be required for some reason? If it is a completely different transaction, it may be deemed a new claim, if it cannot be appended to the one closed. Again, urging a thorough review by the consumer seems the safest procedure at the outset. If this last amount is a separate claim, it would have its own liability calculation, and not be a part of the liability the customer has already had included in an older claim.

First published on 01/24/2021

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