Consumer Payment Card News

Privacy Invasion

“You Can’t Do That!” says the Minnesota Attorney General. Yesterday a lawsuit was filed against Minnesota-based U.S. Bank for allegedly releasing customers’ private banking information to a telemarketing company in exchange for a fee of $4 million plus a 22% commission on each sale. The suit also alleges that some of commissions were generated through bogus, unauthorized charges by Connecticut-based MemberWorks, the telemarketing company involved. Minnesota says U.S. Bank violated the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act and engaged in consumer fraud and deceptive advertising by providing the telemarketing vendor with such private information as: social security numbers, account balances, transaction history, credit limits, credit insurance status, year to date finance charges, automated transactions authorized, credit card type/brand, number of credit cards, cash advance amount, behavior score, bankruptcy score, date of last payment, amount of last payment, date of last statement, and statement balance. The lawsuit also accuses U.S. Bank of approving telemarketing scripts that contained deceptive information. For example, if a customer asked a telemarketer if U.S. Bank had given the customer’s credit card or checking account number to the telemarketer, the script instructed the telemarketer to answer “No, I personally do not have your account number.” The MN AG’s office is asking that the court to prohibit the bank’s exchange of customers’ personal information and order the bank to pay civil penalties to consumers. They are also calling upon Congress to enact legislation to protect consumers’ rights to financial privacy. For more information visit CardFlash Online (www.cardflash.com) [subscription fee required].

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