PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Almost everyone uses a credit card and now it’s the hidden fees that are prompting legal action.
“I was looking at my Discover bill and happened to notice a charge that I hadn’t ever noticed before,” says Jill Amundson, a Discover card user.
Calling her at home, telemarketers got to Amundson to offer special services for a fee. She declined, which she double-checked with a phone call to a tape-recorded call to Discover.
[Amundson]: “I want to verify that I’ll fill out paperwork if I want to enroll. You don’t automatically enroll me.”
[Discover representative]: “We just want you to review some of the benefits in the privacy of your own home so you can make final decisions there.”
But Discover enrolled her anyway in a payment protection plan and she found $180 charged against her credit card.
“Discover played ‘gotcha’ with consumers, instead of playing fair,” says Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson.
Swanson has filed suit, demanding Discover to stop misleading consumers and to refund fees to customers who were charged for unwanted payment protection, identity theft protection, wallet protection and credit score protection.
“If they’re going to sell these optional financial products, they should do so through a square deal, do it fairly, not through fraud.”
Attorney General Tom Corbett’s office is monitoring the situation closely here in Pennsylvania, but says so far they have not heard many consumer complaints about Discover.
But complaints come as credit card companies look to boost their profits.
“All of the financial service services institutions are looking for extremely creative ways to increase fees. We’re in the midst of a fee frenzy,” says Adam Levin, chairman of Credit.com.
And Amundson has some good advice for all when checking those bills.
“Sometimes you scan it, but you might not look at it line item by line item, and I think you really need to make sure you’re not missing anything.”
One out of four households has a Discover credit card.
The company made over $300 million last year on these financial products.
Attorney General Corbett’s office says that if anyone has a complaint against Discover — or any of the credit card companies — they want to hear about it.
To file a consumer complaint, visit AttorneyGeneral.gov.