1.5 years ago, I applied for a secured credit card with a major bank. I went into a branch was very intentional about ensuring that the terms of the agreement made sense. We agreed that if payments were made satisfactorily for a year, the 5K security deposit would be returned and the card would be converted to an unsecured card. The branch person printed off the terms at the time. All payments have been made on time for 1.5 years now. When I call their customer service dept, I am told that I have to apply for a new card, that conversion is not automatic. I went back to the branch and the same person is there and agreed that was her recollection as well. When she calls her credit card department, they are not telling her the same thing. She said she would escalate through her branch manager but nothing has been done. I checked the terms and conditions on their website and there is no reference to any of this. The website does say to call a number for updated terms and conditions which tells me that, for them, verbal commitments are as good as valid as traditionally written ones. I am thinking of going into the bank to today to tape the discussion with the bank employee confirming our discussion 1.5 years ago in case I need to go to court over this. They have had the 5K for the entire time and if I thought they weren't going to fulfill their part of this agreement, I would have gone elsewhere. I had some financial difficulties a few years ago but I have a well paying stable job and don't intend to sit back and allow them to unilaterally change the terms of our agreement without my consent nor being notified. While for me this is about getting an unsecured card and or my 5K back (without having to wait 90 days...'incase additional transactions come in'....no transaction in the 1. 5 years I have had the card has taken more then a week to appear on the card), there is a larger issue at stake here of the bank not honouring its agreements. Do I have a case here? Thanks.
First, to tape her - you would have to get her consent prior to such or you can't.
Second, oral agreements are valid - so that original agreement is still valid.
Third, have you ever gotten notice from them as to a change of your situation or anything to do with the card at all?
I understand your dilemma.
That usually secured or unsecured open accounts (credit card accounts) can be changed at the whim of the company. That they must pay you interest on your secured monies is mandatory - although they don't have to pay much.
I hate to say it - but if you don't have a written agreement from back then - I don't think you have a case against them because it's a matter of them now wanting to change loan terms into the future - nothing as to a loan already given.
We can all thank our legislature by giving into the lobbyists and credit card companies for this credit card debacle. Years ago the credit card companies would have been considered loan sharking and their activities illegal. Today - they are just performing banking services.
Please click on the ACCEPT button for my answer so that I receive credit for assisting you. You may continue to ask follow-up questions after accepting. If the information is helpful, I would very much appreciate positive feedback. Bonuses are also appreciated.
You had mentioned that verbal agreements are valid. If the bank representative is acknowledging our original discussion (i.e. loan terms already given), does that not help? If she were to be called to testify, should would be required to confirm in court what she already confirmed (in front of another bank employee) with me...our original agreement. Would this not take care of your comment about not having a case due to it not being in writing? Thanks.
Yes, oral agreements are valid. For there to be a breach of contract action against them you need the following:
Damages - this is then your issue - what are your economic damges here?
Not having an unsecured card is affecting my credit score which affects the financial terms for purchasing a house, car etc.. Them running an application to tell me I am denied which is what drove this in the first place affected my credit score. If they won't give me an unsecured card, I they are holding my money which, if invested, would generate a greater term..granted..not much on that one. But I am thinking more in terms of punitive damages as they are likely doing this to tens or perhaps hundreds of thousands of people and creating consequences for them as well.
I appreciate the time you have spent and will add a bonus amount when we are done but I do want to close the loop on this discussion. Thanks.
Punitive damages although theoretically recoverable wouldn't be applicable here.
Punitive damages are damages intended to reform or deter the defendant and others from engaging in conduct similar to that which formed the basis of the lawsuit. Although the purpose of punitive damages is not to compensate the plaintiff, the plaintiff will in fact receive all or some portion of the punitive damage award.
Punitive damages are often awarded where compensatory damages are deemed an inadequate remedy. The court may impose them to prevent under-compensation of plaintiffs, to allow redress for undetectable torts and taking some strain away from the criminal justice system. However, punitive damages awarded under court systems that recognize them may be difficult to enforce in jurisdictions that do not recognize them.
Because they usually compensate the plaintiff in excess of the plaintiff's provable injuries, punitive damages are awarded only in special cases, usually under tort law, where the defendant's conduct was egregiously insidious. Punitive damages cannot generally be awarded in contract disputes. The main exception is in insurance bad faith cases in the United States, where the insurer's breach of contract is alleged to be so egregious as to amount to a breach of the "implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing," and is therefore considered to be a tort cause of action eligible for punitive damages (in excess of the value of the insurance policy).
I just don't think you have damages as that would be foreseeable by a judge.
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).