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State Sues Credit Card Companies Over Services

April 12, 2012, 5:40 PM HST
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The state filed a lawsuit Thursday alleging that seven major credit card companies have assessed Hawaii customers improper charges.

The lawsuit was filed in First Circuit Court by Hawaii Attorney General David M. Louie. It alleges that the companies have improperly billed customers for such services as “payment protection” which supposedly pays the cardholder’s minimum monthly payments under certain circumstances.

The customer is not told of numerous restrictions, and often doesn’t qualify for the service in the first place, Louie said in a statement.

“Solicitations for these products are often telemarketing calls using predatory tactics to sign up customers for services they either don’t want or don’t qualify for,” he said.

According to similar lawsuits filed in other states, one of the services would supposedly pay minimum payments in case the customer loses a job but yet is sold to retirees or the unemployed who would not qualify for the service or be able to receive benefits.

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The companies being sued are Bank of America, Barclays, Capital One, Chase, Citi, Discover, HSBC. Their subsidiaries are also named as defendants, the statement said.

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The lawsuit notes that unlike other telemarketers, the credit card companies already have their customers’ credit card information and are able to bill them without their knowledge or consent.

The state is seeking an injunction to stop the alleged illegal practices and full restitution for affected customers. It is also seeking penalties that could subject the companies to up to $10,000 per violation. Any restitution would go to the customers and penalties would go into the state’s general fund.

The state is being assisted by local attorney Rick Fried in association with two mainland law firms, Golomb & Honik of Philadelphia and Baron & Budd of Dallas.

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Persons who believe they have been the victim of such conduct are encouraged to contact Fried at 808-524-1433 and mention that the call relates to possible payment protection fraud.

 

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