Cuomo brings about end of monthly credit card fees

Keith Loria Apr. 1, 2009, 9:55am

NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) - New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has secured an agreement with Chase Bank to end monthly credit card fees on more than 184,000 accounts nationwide.

Under terms of the agreement, Chase Bank USA, N.A., J.P. Morgan Chase & Company's credit card-issuing bank subsidiary, will stop charging a $10 per month service charge that it added to these accounts.

Chase had been offering cardholders very attractive promotional rates for balance transfers or other loan amounts put onto their Chase credit card accounts.

The offers made clear that a one-time transaction fee, usually 3 percent, would be charged for this very low promotional rate, but that was it.

In November of 2008, Chase changed this policy and the new fee put in place. That alarmed consumers and the attorney general's office.

"My office will not sit back and allow banks to promise one thing in its solicitations and agreements with consumers, and then when times get tough, change the deal, leaving consumers holding the bag," Cuomo said. "Truth-in-lending laws prohibit this very conduct. I am glad that Chase has now reconsidered its ill-advised decision and will now live up to the terms it originally offered and agreed to."

Earlier this year the Attorney Generals Office contacted Chase and requested a meeting with representatives to address these concerns and on March 26, they reached the agreement.

Thanks to the Democratic attorney general's actions, Chase has refunded or will refund approximately $4.4 million to those consumers it had charged under a unilateral change in terms imposed in January.

The investigation and agreement were handled by Special Counsel Carolyn Fast and Assistant Attorney General Melvin Goldberg with and under the supervision of Bureau Chief Joy Feigenbaum of the Bureau of Consumer Frauds and Protection.

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