A 95-year-old retired school teacher in North Carolina paid $16,000 in fees to Chase Bank for a program that was supposed to make sure she left behind only minimal credit card debt when she died. The Payment Protection plan was supposed to cancel up to $25,000 in debts.
Now the nation’s largest bank with assets of almost $2.5 trillion is essentially telling Dorothy Cross, “Just kidding!” Chase canceled their entire Payment Protection program, double-crossing Cross and potentially millions of other customers.
Her son Emory Cross, who is 70, says this isn’t a case of his family trying to welch on legitimate debts. Canceling the debt is exactly what the Payment Protection plan is supposed to do — that’s what the bank advertised and that’s what his mother paid for.
“She’s been paying these fees in good faith for many years,” Emory Cross told the Los Angeles Times. “And now it’s being jerked out from under her.”
The plan is good until May 31 of next year. Cross’s only chance of getting her family out from under the $38,000 she owes on three Chase cards is to die before that date rolls around.
“She would have not used the cards if she had known she would not have the plan,” Emory said.
In fact, the bank was once so enthusiastic about its Payment Protection service that it enrolled thousands of customers in the plan and charged them monthly fees without even telling them. In 2011, the bank settled a class action lawsuit over the sneaky enrollments for $20 million — without admitting wrongdoing.
Two years later, Chase has announced that it’s scrapping the plan. The bank says it is has every right to stick the financial knife into people like Dorothy Cross. It’s all right there in the fine print.
“When either party decides to end the policy, there are no benefits or refunds,” bank spokesperson Paul Hartwick stated.
In other words, not only will Cross or her family have to pay off the whole balance of her credit cards, she won’t see a penny back from the $16,000 she already paid Chase for the service, getting nothing in return.
“She’s just scared to death she will pass away after May 31,” said Emory Cross. “She’s certainly in that mindset at the moment. She’s not doing well at all.”
Sources: Los Angeles Times, ABC News, National Information Center, Top Class Actions