Attorney General Hardy Myers today cautioned Oregon consumers to carefully read credit card offers before applying for them and filed a settlement agreement in Marion County Circuit Court against a Texas catalog merchant that mislead customers with its "Gold Card" promotion. Named in an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance is Credicorp, Inc. of Dallas, Texas. The assurance admits no law violation.
"Oregonians daily are bombarded with credit card offers that vary greatly in the range of services actually provided, interest rates charged and additional fees required," Myers said. "Consumers must choose carefully from among these offers or they could end up joining the 389 Oregonians that filed complaints last year against credit card companies."
Department of Justice investigators believe thousands of Oregonians may have been solicited by Credicorp with a misleading offer for what they thought was a "major-use" credit card. In fact, the offer was for a merchant card with a line of credit to purchase such items as clothing, jewelry and electronics from Credicorp's catalog and "shopping service."
Investigators found that in order for customers to use the company's shopping service, they were required to call a toll number in Texas to inquire about items not included in the catalog. In certain limited circumstances, the company is supposedly able to purchase and sell non-catalog items to cardholders. The company has complete discretion as to the availability of the service.
Under the agreement, Credicorp can not represent that it is offering a general credit card when, in fact, the use of the card is substantially limited. Credicorp must refund the $29.95 initial annual fee paid by any Oregon consumer prior to April 5, 2001. Consumers have eight months in which to request refunds by writing Credicorp and either returning the membership packet or affirming in writing that the membership packet has been discarded or destroyed. Credicorp must pay all refunds within 14 days of receiving the request.
Credicorp paid $7,000 to the Department of Justice consumer protection and education fund.
Refund requests should be addressed to Attn: Oregon Refund Request, Credicorp, Inc., 9158 King James Drive, Suite 502, Dallas, Texas 75247.
Oregonians wanting information about credit card offers and consumers' rights under state and federal laws may call the Attorney General's consumer hotline at (503) 378-4320 (Salem area only), (503) 229-5576 (Portland area only) or toll-free at 1-877-877-9392. The Department of Justice is online at www.doj.state.or.us.
Jan Margosian, (503) 947-4333 (media line only) firstname.lastname@example.org