Hawaii AG hires outside counsel to sue credit card companies

Bryan Cohen Apr. 16, 2012, 7:43am


HONOLULU (Legal Newsline) - Hawaii Attorney General David Louie filed lawsuits on Thursday against seven major credit card companies that allegedly charged Hawaii customers improperly for products that weren't requested or that didn't provide the benefits claimed.

The companies named as defendants include HSBC, Discovery, Citi, Chase, Capital One, Barclays, Bank of America and their subsidiaries. The lawsuits were filed in First Circuit Court and the state will be represented by Rick Fried, a local attorney, in association with the mainland firms of Baron & Budd of Dallas and Golomb & Honik of Philadelphia.

The allegedly improper charges occur when a credit card company bills a consumer for payment protection or a similar service, supposedly paying the cardholder's required minimum monthly payments in particular circumstances. The consumer is not informed of multiple restrictions that allegedly cause the consumer to not qualify for the product in the first place.

Solicitations for products of this kind are allegedly made through predatory telemarketing calls that sign the customers up for services they don't want or qualify for. Unlike other telemarketers, the companies already have the credit card information of their customers, which gives them the ability to charge their customers for products without their consent or knowledge.

The state requests injunctive relief, full restitution and penalties of up to $10,000 per violation. If the restitution is awarded, the funds would go directly to consumers while penalties would go to the general fund of the state.

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