First, Chase baited its customers by offering this option: for an up-front fee, customers could transfer the balance of their car loan, home equity loan, or other credit card balance to their Chase credit card, getting a low fixed rate that applied until the loan was paid off. Once customers signed up for the “deal” though, Chase pulled a fast one. The minimum monthly payment jumped from 2% of the loan balance to 5%, and customers were also charged a $10 monthly fee. For example, a cardholder carrying a $20,000 balance on one of the long-term fixed-rate loans would see his minimum payment increase from $400 to $1,000. As a result of this deceptive action, consumers filed 14 separate class action lawsuits against Chase, alleging that the company violated the Truth in Lending Act and breached its contract with customers. Chase recently settled the case for $100 million.
Banks’ Unfair Businesses Practices
Chase reportedly pulled this scam on 100 million customers, and spent three years defending its actions. The final settlement works out to only $100 per customer, which accounts for about half of the up-front transaction fees customers originally paid. As far as Chase goes, the settlement barely put a dent in the company’s assets of $2.3 billion. In other words, Chase took advantage of customers already heavily strapped with debt at the depth of the economic crisis, in an attempt to squeeze more money out of consumers and make a profit.
Unfortunately, unfair business practices and consumer fraud are all-too-common occurrences today, as banks continually mistreat their customers in favor of making a quick profit. The Bank of Oklahoma NA, for example, was accused of improperly collecting overdraft fees from tens of thousands of customers, and just settled multidistrict litigation against the company for $19 million. JPMorgan Chase is still facing charges in a federal class action lawsuit for fraudulently faking documents in bankruptcy cases. The bank has been accused of defrauding not only consumers, but bankruptcy judges and trustees, creditors, the Office of the United States Trustee, and creditors’ and debtors’ attorneys as well.
Contact an OK Bankruptcy Attorney Today
Consumers in Oklahoma and across the United States are struggling with serious financial difficulties in the face of the economic crisis. Unfortunately, when deceptive companies like Chase take advantage of the vulnerability of debtors, consumers sometimes find themselves with even more debt instead of relief. If you have considerable debt and you are considering filing bankruptcy in Oklahoma, contact our experienced bankruptcy attorneys at Oklahoma Legal Center today. Our law firm is located in Oklahoma City, and our bankruptcy lawyers have extensive experience helping consumers relieve their debt and finally take control of their finances.