AG candidate warns against credit card request
Great Falls Tribune
July 30, 2019
A candidate for attorney general is telling Montanans who have a Chase credit card they have until Aug. 7 to reject terms proposed by the international bank that he said would make it harder for people to enforce their rights.
Raph Graybill, a Democrat, said Chase has proposed “forced arbitration clauses” in its credit card agreements. The clauses prevent cardholders from enforcing their rights in court, even if the bank defrauds, abuses, or breaches its contract with the cardholder. The clauses also prevent cardholders from joining class action lawsuits against the bank for major abuses.
A candidate for attorney general warns against a request being made by a credit card company.
Customers must send the bank a written letter at a specific address rejecting the change, Graybill said. The bank will not accept emails or phone calls. A form letter consumers can use to reject the agreement may be downloaded at:
Attempts to reach Chase for comment were unsuccessful.
The clauses prevent cardholders from enforcing their rights in court, even if the bank defrauds, abuses, or breaches its contract with the cardholder. The clauses also prevent cardholders from joining class action lawsuits against the bank for major abuses, he said.
Graybill, a self-described “law geek,” said he was reading the email Chase had sent him when he came across this.
“I thought ‘this is a big deal,’” he said.
Arbitration agreements help banks keep hundreds of millions of dollars which would otherwise go back to harmed consumers, Graybill said. According to a study by the federal government, more than 6.8 million Americans got compensation from class-action lawsuits against banks who they said harmed them, he said. During the same period, 16 people received the same relief under forced arbitration agreements.
“No one is talking about this, and that’s exactly what the bank wants,” Graybill said. “Banks use fine print like this because it flies under the radar until it’s time for the consumer to enforce their rights. By then, it’s often too late.”
Graybill is running for attorney general. So far, he faces fellow Democrat Kimberly Dudik and Republicans Jon Bennion and Austin Knudsen. The attorney general does oversee an office of consumer protection.
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