Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson filed a lawsuit against Discover Financial Services in Hennepin County for its involvement in “aggressive, deceptive, and misleading” telemarketing activities.
Discover Financial Services’ credit card programs through its telemarketing activities include payment protection plans for individuals with disabilities or those that are unemployed. The company’s telemarketing activities also promote identity theft protection or credit card security.
The Minnesota Attorney General said that Discover Financial Services used their deceptive telemarketing strategies in the face of new credit card rules and regulations. Swanson said that credit card holders have been misled to avail of the financial products and services of Discover without having been informed of the full costs of engaging these products or services. She adds that this was a particular step taken by the company to recoup revenue losses.
Credit card holders who raised their complaints at the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office said that they were deceived into enrolling in one of the four different programs at Discover. They further said that the full costs of the services and financial products at the company were not disclosed upon the signing of contract. The complainants say that the telemarketing activities started with Discover representatives first making “courtesy calls” and then later endorsing financial products, services, and programs at Discover at unusually low costs.
The Minnesota Attorney General also said that the credit card holders were led to believe that the Discover credit card benefits were already inclusive of the financial products which the telemarketers were presenting. With investigations ongoing, the Minnesota Attorney General says that Discover has received the largest number of complaints this year. Also, the court documents show that Discover Financial Services gained a total amount of 295 million dollars from the fees collected through telemarketing their financial products, services, and programs.
Refusing to comment on the lawsuit, Discover Financial Services opted to reiterate that it had never been their practice to deceive people into availing of their financial products, services, and programs. The company also said that should their customers’ avail of what they offer it is because the customers find the offers important.
The lawsuit asks the court to take action against Discover’s deceptive telemarketing. It also states that the company must finally disengage from their illegal practices and give back the card holders’ money lost due to concealed charges.
Discover Financial Services, a credit card issuer and payment processing network based in Riverwoods, Illinois is also asked to pay civil penalties.