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California and the West

JPMorgan's Chase Bank settles claims of deceptive marketing

December 12, 2006|From the Associated Press

Two companies will pay a combined $14.5 million to settle allegations they tricked residents of California and 16 other states into paying for programs that claimed to offer discounts on automotive service and home repair, Pennsylvania Atty. Gen. Tom Corbett said Monday.

Chase Bank USA, a unit of New York-based JPMorgan Chase & Co., and Trilegiant Corp. allegedly offered free memberships to discount programs without alerting consumers they would be charged fees of as much as $99 if they did not cancel within a specified time.

Consumers enrolled in the programs by cashing checks worth as much as $10.

The mailings were sent by Norwalk, Conn.-based Trilegiant, which used Chase's customer lists.

Under separate agreements, Trilegiant must pay more than $8 million in restitution to consumers in Alaska, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Vermont and Washington, Corbett said.

Separately, Trilegiant and Chase Bank must pay more than $6 million for civil penalties, legal costs and fees, Corbett said. That settlement involves the same states except Louisiana and Ohio.

Neither company acknowledged wrongdoing.

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