AmEx & Travelocity Collude, Class Claims

(CN) – American Express and colluded to charge users of AmEx prepaid gift cards more than for the same services than they charge other customers, a class action claims in Manhattan Federal Court.

     Named plaintiff Morris Wilner said he received a $200 American Express prepaid gift car for signing up with Verizon for telecommunications services. He said he discovered the pricing scheme when he tried to use the card to pay for a trip.
     Wilner said he visited American Express’s Web site, and was directed to Travelocity’s Awards site, where, using the gift card, he paid $35 more for airline tickets than he would have had he paid through other means.
     Wilner claims he went to Avis Rent-A-Car’s Web site and found that renting a standard or full-size car would cost about $70 more per week using the AmEx gift card.
     Wilner claims the price discrepancy led him to believe that based on the need to coordinate the gift card codes on prepaid cards with the merchants, defendants American Express Prepaid Card Management Corp. and American Express Related Services Company “agreed to and authorized the higher prices for gods and services paid for by the gift card.”
     He claims that not only colluded to charge higher prices, but agreed not to inform users of the gift cards that they were paying more for goods and services than people who paid by other means.
     Wilner seeks compensatory and statutory class damages for breach of contract, interference with contract and economic advantage, and deceptive trade. He claims that at least 20,000 of the gift cards have been distributed.
     He is represented by Abraham Kleinman, of Uniondale, N.Y., and Daniel Edelman and Cathleen Combs, with Edelman, Combs, Latturner & Goodwin, of Chicago.

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