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Cardholder says American Express wrongfully charged late fees on holidays

By Kyla Asbury | Sep 25, 2014

NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) - An American Express cardholder has filed a class action complaint after she claims the company charged customers late fees on credit card payments due to holidays.

Marcy Zevon claims American Express Bank unlawfully treated certain payments from its credit card customers as late, which violated the Truth in Lending Act, according to a complaint filed Sept. 3 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

American Express and its affiliates failed to properly treat certain payments as timely, as mandated by the statutory provisions of TILA and by the corresponding federal regulations governing payments, according to the suit.

"More specifically, the bank failed to treat as timely those payments that were due on a date falling on a weekend day or a holiday that it did not receive mailed payments, but which the bank did receive by mail on the next day that it was receiving payments," the complaint states.

Zevon claims TILA's purpose is to assure meaningful disclosure of credit terms in order to allow consumers to compare more readily the various credit terms available, enable consumers to avoid the uninformed use of credit and protect consumers against inaccurate and unfair billing practices.

Under the private enforcement provisions of TILA, the plaintiff and the proposed class seek the recovery of statutory damages of up to $1 million and actual damages, included but not limited to restitution of late fees, according to the suit.

"Zevon is the holder of a card account issued by the bank generally intended for the purchase of goods or services or the procurement of cash advances," the complaint states. "Upon information and belief, Zevon received on or about August 8, 2013 a periodic billing statement from the Bank that informed her that a minimum payment on the account was due on September 2, 2013, a federal holiday."

Zevon claims she mailed a payment conforming with the bank's payment instructions on or about Aug. 30, 2013.

The bank furnished Zevon with a periodic billing statement on or about Sept. 7,2013, and the bank credited Zevon's payment as received on Sept. 3, 2013, according to the suit.

"The September 2013 statement indicated that Zevon had been charged a late fee," the complaint states. "Upon information and belief, the bank did not accept or receive mailed payments on September 2,2013."

Zevon claims all class members in the lawsuit mailed payments in advance of a due date falling on a date which the bank did not accept or receive mailed payments, which the bank credited as arriving on the next business day it was accepting payments, and which the bank treated as late.

The proposed class consists of all consumers holding a credit account with the bank who, since Aug. 22, 2009, sent or caused to send to the bank by mail a payment that was due on a weekend day, holiday or other date on which the bank did not accept or receive mailed payments, was recorded as received on the first day following such a due date that the bank did accept mailed payments, was treated as a late payment by the bank and would have satisfied the minimum payment due requirement, had it been received and credited on or by the due date, according to the suit.

"Specifically excluded from this class are the bank, any entity in which the bank has a controlling interest and the officers, directors, affiliates, legal representatives, heirs, successors, subsidiaries or assigns of any such individual or entity," the complaint states.

Zevon claims American Express violated TILA and breached its contract with the class members.

Zevon is seeking class certification and statutory damages. She is represented by Brian L. Bromberg and Jonathan R. Miller of Bromberg Law Office PC; and Harley J. Schnall of the Law Office of Harley J. Schnall.

The case is assigned to District Judge Gregory J. Woods.

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York case number: 1:14-cv-07112

From Legal Newsline: Kyla Asbury can be reached at

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