Compliance Alliance Q&A 8/6/2019
If a consumer is disputing a POS transaction and it is not fraud (i.e. merchandise never received, service canceled, and company debited account or any other reason than a fraud transaction), are we required under Reg. E to give provisional credit while we complete our investigation?
As the customer has asserted that an error took place, you are required to conduct an investigation. Subject to certain limitations, if the investigation takes more than 10 days, you have to issue a provisional credit to the customer’s account. If your investigation reveals that the customer authorized the transaction in the amount transferred, then it would not be a Reg. E error. At that point, you need to provide a written explanation of the results of your investigation and debit any provisional credit.
The term “error” means:
(i) An unauthorized electronic fund transfer;
(ii) An incorrect electronic fund transfer to or from the consumer's account;
(iii) The omission of an electronic fund transfer from a periodic statement;
(iv) A computational or bookkeeping error made by the financial institution relating to an electronic fund transfer;
(v) The consumer's receipt of an incorrect amount of money from an electronic terminal;
(vi) An electronic fund transfer not identified in accordance with § 1005.9 or § 1005.10(a); or
vii) The consumer's request for documentation required by § 1005.9 or § 1005.10(a) or for additional information or clarification concerning an electronic fund transfer, including a request the consumer makes to determine whether an error exists under paragraphs (a)(1)(i) through (vi) of this section.
In addition to following the procedures specified in paragraph (c) of this section, the financial institution shall follow the procedures set forth in this paragraph (d) if it determines that no error occurred or that an error occurred in a manner or amount different from that described by the consumer:
(1) Written explanation. The institution's report of the results of its investigation shall include a written explanation of the institution's findings and shall note the consumer's right to request the documents that the institution relied on in making its determination. Upon request, the institution shall promptly provide copies of the documents.
(2) Debiting provisional credit. Upon debiting a provisionally credited amount, the financial institution shall:
(i) Notify the consumer of the date and amount of the debiting;
(ii) Notify the consumer that the institution will honor checks, drafts, or similar instruments payable to third parties and preauthorized transfers from the consumer's account (without charge to the consumer as a result of an overdraft) for five business days after the notification. The institution shall honor items as specified in the notice, but need honor only items that it would have paid if the provisionally credited funds had not been debited.