CLEVELAND (CN) – AmTrust Financial Corp. suspended customers’ home equity credit lines but continues to charge $50 annual fees for the accounts, a class action claims in Cuyahoga County Court. The class claims AmTrust cited the “continued decline of home values throughout the country,” but did not appraise individual homes, and forces customers to pay for an appraisal if they want their credit line reinstated. But whether they do this or not, the class claims, AmTrust charges them for services it unilaterally suspended.
The class claims “AmTrust’s assumptions about the decline in market value of any given home bore no reasonable relationship to any change in home value on an individual basis, because AmTrust failed to conduct appraisals of each customer’s home.
“In order to reinstate an existing account after suspension, AmTrust demanded that an individual appraisal be performed, at the customer’s expense, in order to establish that the property value had not declined.”
And, the class claims, “Despite wrongfully suspending the privileges of its customers’ HELOC [Home Equity Lines Of Credit] accounts … AmTrust continued to charge the Annual Membership Fee and failed to refund or pro-rate back these and other fees assessed to its customers to open and maintain their HELOC accounts, unjustly reaping the benefit of charges for the product and for services AmTrust suspended.”
The class demands punitive damages. It is represented by Jack Landskroner.