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Consumers at the Mercy of Faulty Bank Policy

April 20, 2002

Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer and Assembly members Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) and Ellen Corbett (D-San Leandro) should be complimented on their bill to protect consumers from unapproved charges (April 16). The problem is not the sale of information to marketeers by the banks but the banks' payment of unauthorized charges. When you complain to the bank that there is no contract or signed debit slip, they call it a "non-sweep transaction." They tell you that only the vendor can cancel the charge. You are then forced into their own tedious appeals process.

The banks are more loyal to vendors who bring in lots of business than to the clients to whom they have a fiduciary responsibility. The law should be changed to force banks to cancel charges at the request of the client when no contract can be proven by the vendor. A few losses by the banks would curtail the process.

William S. Pirone

Sherman Oaks

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