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Michael Day’s Answers

16 total

  • Can I start a lawsuit?

    I opened a Toys R Us Rewards and Credit Card. The Policy states when opening a credit card you may choose between 15% off and promotional financing. I chose 15% off and have the receipt that shows this. I made a large purchase and found that promo...

    Michael’s Answer

    I was an attorney in the credit card industry for a long time, and I'm still in the financial services industry. This sort of thing is pretty common. Banks make mistakes. If you get to the right person and point our their mistake nicely, they are generally quite good at fixing them.

    Before filing a law suit or taking this to arbitration, I would try to address this with the card issuer. Write to Synchrony Bank, the issuer of the card (Synchrony is a division of GE Capital). I would write directly to Jonathan Mothner, the General Counsel of the Bank. He won't look at it, but an attorney in their legal department will.

    Be concise. Just tell them what happened and what resolution you would like. Don't go off on tangents. Above all, adopt a courteous and pleasant (though businesslike) tone. Don't come off as angry or threatening.

    I would guess that if things are as you state, the Bank will be willing to reinstate your account, provide you with the discount you didn't get, and give you any rewards points you missed out on. They'll probably throw in a $25 statement credit for your trouble.

    If they tell you to go jump in the lake, then you should probably write your state Attorney General, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (Synchrony Bank's regulator) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Both have addresses for complaints. Again, be concise, courteous, and pleasant. The regulatory agencies will help you resolve this.

    Yes, you could file a law suit or take your case to arbitration (the Cardholder Agreement might require all claims to go to arbitration rather than being heard in court), but it's not worth it. No attorney is going to take this case for the small amount of money involved. Even if you do it yourself, you will likely end up spending more than you recover (not to mention all the time you'll have to expend). Your state AG and the federal regulators are better equipped to resolve this if the Bank won't.

    But I'm betting they do.

    Good luck,

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  • Wife used debit card without permission..

    I am currently out of our house due to a pending PFA attemp by my wife, after being gone for 3 weeks i noticed that she had used my debit card to pay her cell phone bill, she is not on my account and not authorized to use it beside the fact that t...

    Michael’s Answer

    If your wife is not authorized to use your account, then technically, her use of your debit card is fraudulent. But no one is going to prosecute your wife for using your debit card to pay her cell phone bill while you were still married. PA is not a community property state, but the assets are marital assets subject to equitable division (the same with the debts).

    If you don't want her using your account, have the bank issue you a new card and shut down the old one.

    Also, hire a good divorce attorney.

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  • Is Visa/bank responsible for refunding money removed from my checking account with a debit card via a western union transfer?

    Unauthorized fraudulent transfer. Police report filed. Bank is refusing to refund the money. Does the Electronic Funds Transfer Act apply in this case, and are the limits of my financial loss $500?

    Michael’s Answer

    You haven't provided a lot of detail. Most likely the EFTA and Regulation E does apply. The limitation on your liability depends on how soon you reported the loss and whether or not you had any responsibility for it (i.e., whether you were negligent).

    Assuming your negligence played no role, Reg. E (Section 1005.6) provides:

    Limitations on amount of liability. A consumer's liability for an unauthorized electronic fund transfer or a series of related unauthorized transfers shall be determined as follows:

    (1) Timely notice given. If the consumer notifies the financial institution within two business days after learning of the loss or theft of the access device, the consumer's liability shall not exceed the lesser of $50 or the amount of unauthorized transfers that occur before notice to the financial institution.

    (2) Timely notice not given. If the consumer fails to notify the financial institution within two business days after learning of the loss or theft of the access device, the consumer's liability shall not exceed the lesser of $500 or the sum of:

    (i) $50 or the amount of unauthorized transfers that occur within the two business days, whichever is less; and

    (ii) The amount of unauthorized transfers that occur after the close of two business days and before notice to the institution, provided the institution establishes that these transfers would not have occurred had the consumer notified the institution within that two-day period.

    (3) Periodic statement; timely notice not given. A consumer must report an unauthorized electronic fund transfer that appears on a periodic statement within 60 days of the financial institution's transmittal of the statement to avoid liability for subsequent transfers. If the consumer fails to do so, the consumer's liability shall not exceed the amount of the unauthorized transfers that occur after the close of the 60 days and before notice to the institution, and that the institution establishes would not have occurred had the consumer notified the institution within the 60-day period. When an access device is involved in the unauthorized transfer, the consumer may be liable for other amounts set forth in paragraphs (b)(1) or (b)(2) of this section, as applicable.

    You can view the entire Section at:

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  • Who can get bank account activity information?

    My parents were legally still married when my father died. Can she request the account history and status from the bank?

    Michael’s Answer

    That depends on how the account was set up. If it was a joint account (both your parents were account owners), then yes, of course, your mom can get information. If the account was only in your father's name, then the bank isn't going to give your mother any information unless she was listed in the account records as an authorized user, authorized signer, or similar designation. Of course, you mother can still sign in using your father's username and password, provided she knows them.

    Assuming the account was in your father's name only and your mother wasn't listed as an authorized user or signer, the bank will only deal with the executor of your father's estate. If that's your mom, then she will need your dad's death certificate and a letter of appointment as executor from the probate court. With those two documents, the bank will deal with her as the person responsible for the account.

    Best of luck, and sorry for your loss.

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  • Is this card could for my credit or not?

    I've had this credit card since 2002 (wow 10 years now). Recently, I don't know why, but I had a high balance of $2,200 on a credit limit of $2,000. Does this adversly affect my credit score?

    Michael’s Answer

    Believe it or not, it's not just going overlimit that can lower your score. Line utilization is one of the factors Fair Isaac (the company that developed the credit scoring model used by all the major credit bureaus -- that's why it's called FICO -- Fair Isacc Company) uses to compute your credit score.. If your balance is over 50% of your credit line, that impacts your score negatively (slightly). As your line utilization increases, the negative hit to your score increases. It's not a huge factor, but it does count.

    Thus, if you have, say, four credit cards with a $2,000 line each, you're better off charging $500 to each of them than $2,000 just to one.

    Hope that helped.


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  • If I am a credit card holder of the bank and no checking or saving account with them, they refused honor my paycheck to pay

    their credit card balance, and used the languages like "if your check no good", does that make a case? because even I am not a checking account customer but still a credit card customer, when you assume my check will bounce, is that mean a insult ...

    Michael’s Answer

    What you are asking the bank to do is to cash your check and then use the proceeds to pay off all or part of your credit card account. The risk to the bank, as you point out, is simple: what happens if the check bounces? The bank wouldn't be able to add the amount back to your card account, because you would not have paid the card account with a check; you would have paid in cash. They would be stuck having to present the check back through the system and trying to get your employer to pay. That can be messy, time-consuming, and expensive for banks, so they generally just refuse to cash so-called "third party checks."

    There are two ways for you to get around this problem. The best way is simply to establish a checking account at a bank or credit union into which you can deposit your paycheck. Then you can pay the credit card account from your checking account (you don't even have to write a paper check to do this; the card issuer will offer a website payment application where all you have to do is put in the account number of your checking account). If you won't have a big enough balance each month to avoid the fees that most banks charge, visit a local credit union instead. Most credit unions have "Free Checking" accounts, where you don't have to pay any monthly service fees, per-check fees, or the like.

    If you don't want to establish a checking account (you really should), then the second way to get around this is to cash your check and take the cash to your bank. Labor laws in most states require employers to give all employees a way to cash their paychecks without a fee (even if they don't have a deposit account anywhere). Ask your employer what methods they offer.

    In this vein, you could visit a branch of the bank on which your paycheck is drawn (in other words, the bank at which your employer keeps the account from which you are paid). Bring at least two forms of identification with you, including your driver license. Then you can present the check for cashing "over the counter" for cashing. The trouble is that the employer's bank is likely to charge you a fee for this service. Check-cashing services charge an even higher fee. To avoid these fees, ask the employer how to cash your paycheck at no charge.

    Hope that helps.

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  • Can a credit card company sue you for fraud if you agree to make a payment then people tell you to close your acount cause

    To close the account

    Michael’s Answer

    Your question isn't entirely clear, so I'll try to give you some general advice.

    Even if you close a credit card account, you still must pay the balance due under the terms of the account when you close it. Thus, interest will continue to accrue as before, and the same late fee provisions and the like will still apply.

    If you agree to a payment arrangement or "workout plan" (generally in return for a lower interest rate) and fail to adhere to the terms of the arrangement, the issuer generally can rescind the plan and return your rates to their pre-plan levels.

    If you don't pay what you owe, the card issuer will try to collect. If you only owe a small amount, it's doubtful the issuer will pursue you in court if you don't pay, but your credit rating could be severely damaged by a "charged off" account. If you owe a large amount, the card issuer might well sue you in court. And whether the amount you owe is large or small, the card issuer might sell your delinquent account to a debt buyer, who might then pursue additional collection efforts, including a law suit.

    You won't be sued for fraud, because the issuer (or the debt buyer) would need to show, among other things, that you knowingly and intentionally lied when you agreed to make the payment. That would be hard to do. Instead, if they pursue a collection action against you, the issuer or debt buyer will simply sue for breach of contract (the credit card agreement where you agree to pay the principal and interest according to the terms set forth).

    I hope that helps.

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  • The owners of the house are no longer making house payments to the bank. As tenants, do we have to keep paying rent?

    We've been receiving certified mail notification from the post office from the bank. One of the realtors that are showing the house said the house is in a short sale. The owners did admit that they are not able to make the mortgage payments anymo...

    Michael’s Answer

    Yes, you must still pay the rent according to your agreement with the landlord. It's his house until he sells it or until a judgment of foreclosure is entered.

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  • Advice on resolving a fraudulent use of Credit Card

    While I was traveling over the holidays on the east coast, someone evidently used my credit card to purchase almost $2600 of merhandise online. My card company called me to make me aware of suspicious activity and told me that in addition to this ...

    Michael’s Answer

    Hi there:

    If the facts are as you described, then your credit card company didn't treat you fairly. When you assert a billing error (which you did with your affadavit), the company is required to conduct a reasonable investigaton. Merely determining that the merchant has your address and phone number is NOT a reasonable investigation. If someone stole your card or card information, they have your name. If they know where your live, it's pretty easy to find your address and phone number (especially if you are listed in the local phone directory). What I suspect happened is that the fraudster had the iterms purchased in your name delievered to a PO Box and then picked them up himself. This is pretty common tactic.

    The Thompson Group sells watches and clocks. I can't understand why they are reluctant to tell you whether or not the items were delievered to your home address. If their records show a different delivery address, then you have proof for your card issuer that you didn't receive them. But if The Thompson Group persists in their stubbornness, then I would do the following three things.

    First, contact your card issuer and be firm but very pleasant. Insist (nicely) on speaking to someone in the "Executive Office" (that's what card issuers call the department that handles escalated complaints). The idea is to get the highest-level supervisor on the phone that you can. Tell them what happened and see if they will help you. Generally, the Executive Office is more sensitive to customer complaints than the fraud unit.

    If that doesn't work, write to your card issuer's regulator. If your card issuer is a national bank, that's the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, 1301 McKinney St., Suite 3450, Houston, TX 77010. If your issuer is a federal thrift, that's the Office of Thrift Supervision, Consumer Affairs Division, 1700 G St. NW, Washington DC, 20552. Explain to them what happened and complain that your issuer did not conduct a "reasonable investigation" as required by the Fair Credit Billing Act and Section 226.13 of Regulation Z. The regulator will then contact the issuer and ask them to explain themselves. Generally, issuers give heightened attention to regulatory complaints.

    If your issuer persists in its claim, then your last option is to file a law suit. I'd file in small claims court. I don't really like to recommend this, because I don't like litigation, but if neither the merchant nor your issuer will help you here, then filing a suit in small claims court could be your best bet. It will let you subpoena the records of the merchant (so that you can see what was ordered and where it was sent) and the issuer (so that you can see what sort of investigation was made). It also will result in your case being escalated to the issuer's legal department. If the facts are as you have stated, there is no way the issuer will try to fight you in court.

    Good luck.

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  • Am i liable for wifes credit cards i did not authorize. they are in her name only

    am i liable for wifes credit cards i did not authorize. they are in her name only. If I purchase a new house, is that a problem since i presently have a good credit score. will not paying her cards be a problem for me. we are still married but i...

    Michael’s Answer

    You asked several questions. I'll address them one at a time.

    Are you responsible for your wife's credti card debt: if the cards are only in your wife's name, then you are not liable for payment. Your wife is. But keep in mind two things. First, if you and your wfe divorce, the debts are marital debts and will likely be apportioned equally unless your wife committed some sort of financial misconduct (thus, although the debt will remain with your wife, she will get compensating assets). Second, if you live in a community property state, creditors can look to all marital assets (including your income) to satisfy a debt.

    How will the debts affect your credit score: They won't, unless you are an authorized user on the card. If you are, then the debts will show up on your credit report. Unless your wife is delinquent on the accounts, however, your credit score probably won't be affected too much.

    How will these debts affect a house purchase: That depends on where you live and in what name you get a mortgage. If you get a mortgage in both of your names, then these debts could have a slight negative impact if they are significant. If your wife's credit score is poor, that could hurt more. If you only get a mortgage in your name, then your wife's credit is not likely to matter unless you live in a community property state.

    Can you shut off her cards: If they are in her name, no.

    I hope that helped.

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