Tag Archives | Credit Cards

Russian Man Outwits Credit Card Company Using Its Own Tactics

TinkoffGenius. Via MSN:

Unhappy with the terms of an unsolicited credit card offer he received from online bank Tinkoff Credit Systems, Dmitry Agarkov scanned the document, wrote in his own terms and sent it through. The bank approved the contract without reading the amended fine print, unwittingly agreeing to a 0 percent interest rate, unlimited credit and no fees, as well as a stipulation that the bank pay steep fines for changing or canceling the contract.

Agarkov used the card for two years, but the bank ultimately canceled it and sued Agarkov for $1,363 in charges, interest and late-payment fees. A court ruled that, because of Agarkov’s no-fee, no-interest stipulation, he owed only his unpaid $575 balance. Now Agarkov is suing the bank for $727,000 for not honoring the contract’s terms, and the bank is hollering fraud.

“They signed the documents without looking. They said what usually their borrowers say in court: ‘We have not read it,’” Agarkov’s lawyer said.

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Discover Ordered To Repay $200 Million It Stole From Cardholders

Kudos to Obama’s newly formed Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for cracking down on this. In short, Discover’s telemarketers offered customers unnecessary “add-on services” which were implied to be free, and then charged customers’ accounts for said services. In July, Capital One was forced to pay $210 million over the same practice. The Los Angeles Times reports:

More than 3.5 million Discover credit card customers will share $200 million in refunds in the wake of a federal investigation that determined the bank tricked people into signing up for payment protection plans and other add-on services. Regulators said scripts for Discover’s telemarketers “contained misleading language likely to deceive consumers about whether they were actually purchasing a product.”

Consumer advocates said the enforcement actions show that the new consumer bureau is on the job. “Banks have been doing this for years, but we never had a regulator who protected consumers before,” said Ed Mierzwinski, director of the consumer program for the U.S.

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Banks Falsify Credit Card Lawsuits in Ninety Percent of Cases?

Philip Taylor (CC)

We hear every week about the massive LIBOR interest rate fixing, or the shady practices by which banks drain money from local municipalities, or the false promises given to homeowners across the country by the finance industry, or as much as 90% of foreclosed homes remaining off the market but still shuttered in and out of dispassionate algorithms, or that San Francisco’s assessor discovered ‘errors’ in 84% of home mortgage foreclosures (read: scams). It’s not a big leap of the imagination then to consider that almost all credit card lawsuits brought by banks are fraudulent. Lenders are still continuing the dubious fraud that caused such a scandal last year with robo-signing.

via Russia Today:

US credit card companies have been churning out lawsuits and improperly collecting debt from consumers 90 percent of the time, at least according to a New York judge who deals with these cases.

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WikiLeaks Wins Case Against VISA In Iceland

The Icelandic courts have ruled that the major global credit card companies cannot block donations to WikiLeaks. Any hope that the United States and other developed nations will see the light? Russia Today reports:

The Reykjavík District Court has ruled that Valitor, formerly known as VISA Iceland, violated contract laws by blocking credit card donations to Wikileaks, according to a press release posted on the whistleblowers’ Twitter account. The court also ordered that the donation gateway should be reopened within 14 days otherwise Valitor will be forced to pay a fine of $6,200 daily.

In June, Datacell, the Iceland-based company that processed donations for WikiLeaks, filed a case against Valitor, the company behind VISA and MasterCard, for “unlawfully suspending financial services”.

The blockade stripped away over 95% of donations from supporters of WikiLeaks, costing the organization in excess of $20 million. Datacell’s director Olafur Sigurvinsson told reporters he was amazed at the double stadards: “I can support Al-Qaeda, the Ku Klux Klan, buy weapons and drugs and all kinds of porn with my Visa card.

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Karl Marx-Themed Mastercards Are A Hit In Germany

The ultimate indignity for the great critiquer of capitalism? Or a subtle expression of mass dissatisfaction with the current financial paradigm? Via Reuters:

Two decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall, some eastern Germans are once again carrying round images of Karl Marx – if only in their pockets. More than a third of customers at Sparkasse bank in Chemnitz opted for the picture of a bronze bust of the bearded 19th century German-born philosopher, bank spokesman Roger Wirtz said. Marx’s stern face is depicted gazing towards the logo of Mastercard.

The east has witnessed a wave of nostalgia in recent years for aspects of the old East Germany, or DDR, where citizens had few freedoms but were guaranteed jobs and social welfare. The trend is not limited to the region. A 2008 survey found 52 percent of eastern Germans believed the free market economy was “unsuitable” and 43 percent said they wanted socialism back.

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Identity Thieves Scamming U.S. Government With Fake Tax Refund Claims

identity theftIngeniously devious and glaringly simple. Lizette Alvarez reports on the latest ID theft scam for the New York Times:

Besieged by identity theft, Florida now faces a fast-spreading form of fraud so simple and lucrative that some violent criminals have traded their guns for laptops. And the target is the United States Treasury.

With nothing more than ledgers of stolen identity information — Social Security numbers and their corresponding names and birth dates — criminals have electronically filed thousands of false tax returns with made-up incomes and withholding information and have received hundreds of millions of dollars in wrongful refunds, law enforcement officials say.

The criminals, some of them former drug dealers, outwit the Internal Revenue Service by filing a return before the legitimate taxpayer files. Then the criminals receive the refund, sometimes by check but more often though a convenient but hard-to-trace prepaid debit card.

The government-approved cards, intended to help people who have no bank accounts, are widely available in many places, including tax preparation companies.

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Atheist Symbol Rejected By Capital One, But Jesus Is Preapproved

AtheistChris Morran writes on the Consumerist:
Consumerist reader Mike has a Capital One credit card. He'd hoped to get one of the bank's customizable "Image Cards" printed with a big red "A" for atheism. His initial upload was rejected by Capital One, which sent him a long list of possible reasons. And when he called to appeal, things just more bizarre. The first person Mike spoke with said they had no idea why it was rejected and submitted his appeal. Then the image was rejected a second time. "I spoke to someone after the second rejection that someone there said that there was a note in my file regarding the fact that they do not allow religious or anti-religious images," Mike tells Consumerist. And yes, far down that list of possible reasons for rejecting a card, CapOne does list "Controversial subject matter such as political or religious statements and/or images."
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FBI Urges Coffee Shops To Report Cash-Paying Customers To Authorities

cofeeUse of paper money is a terrorist trait — if you don't want to be considered suspect, the government commands you to use corporate-issued debit and credit cards, rather than its own currency. Via Boing Boing:
According to a set of guidelines sent out by the FBI as part of its Communities Against Terror program, ordinary citizens need to be on the lookout for suspicious characters who follow patterns of behavior of a covert operative. The latest revelation from the FBI files? Paying in cash for coffee. The most recent update asks coffee shop owners, baristas and other customer-service specialists to lookout for the enemy who walks among us...Using cash for small purchases like a cup of coffee, gum and other items is a good indication that a person is trying to pass for normal without leaving the kind of paper trail created using a debit or credit card for small purchases.
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This 28-Year-Old Wants to Kill Credit Card Use

DwollaAlyson Shontell reports in Business Insider:
There's a tiny 12-person startup churning out of Des Moines, Iowa. Dwolla was founded by 28-year-old Ben Milne; it's an innovative online payment system that sidesteps credit cards completely. Milne has no finance background, yet his little operation is moving between $30 and $50 million per month; it's on track to move more than $350 million in the next year. Unlike PayPal, Dwolla doesn't take a percentage of the transaction. It only asks for $0.25 whether it's moving $1 or $1,000. We interviewed Milne about how he is building a credit card killer and Square rival from the middle of the nation where VCs and press are scarce.
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