PHILADELPHIA (CN) - A federal RICO class action claims Discover Bank told all its collection attorneys nationwide to use bogus credit-card "agreements" that "are all dated ... [and] issued after the date of issuance of the subject credit cards."
Lead plaintiff Diana Elinich says she got a Discover credit card in 1999, but when the bank sued her for an alleged credit-card default, it tried to use a "cardmember agreement" dated 2011, claiming that that was her contract.
"The 2011 cardmember agreement is not an amendment or a modification, but an original customer agreement," the complaint states.
"It is clearly impossible for a contract dated after the date of the credit card issuance to act as the governing agreement between the parties."
But that didn't stop Discover from ordering "all of their collection attorneys throughout the United States of America to use the false contracts as the governing contracts for credit card holder[s] who are the subject of collection efforts," according to the complaint.
Elinich claims Discover conspired with its collectors to attach false or "otherwise irrelevant documentation as exhibits" to collection suits, to intimidate unsophisticated consumers who assume that an alleged creditor is presenting them with proper paperwork.
The "after-dated" agreements do not govern the credit cards at issue, but were appended to the collection efforts because they were "convenient," Elinich says.
She claims Discover is trying "to foist upon the victims the imprimatur of substantiating documentary evidence" when, in fact, the so-called credit-card agreements don't substantiate much at all.
Elinich seeks class damages for RICO violations, violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, deceptive trade, and state consumer-protection law.
She sued Discover Bank, DB Servicing Corporation and Discover's Cleveland-based collection firm, Weltman, Weinberg & Reis.
She is represented by Stuart Eisenberg with McCullough Eisenberg of Warminster, Pa.
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