Chase settles $136m lawsuit

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Chase Bank NSA and Chase Bankcard Services Inc. reached a $136 million agreement with Colorado and 46 other states to settle allegations that the company employed unlawful debt-collection practices, including “robot-signing” affidavits to collect $4.5 billion in credit card debt.

“Chase’s debt collection practices valued profits-from-volume at the expense of its consumers,” said Attorney General Cynthia Coffman. “Unfortunately for Chase, greed does not trump the rule of law.”

In addition to the robo-signing of affidavits, a joint state-federal investigation into Chase’s debt collection practices uncovered evidence of collections activity against individuals on accounts they did not own, inaccurate credit reporting and calculation errors by Chase regarding amounts actually owed by consumers.

The settlement requires Chase to significantly reform its credit card debt collection practices in areas of affidavit preparation, collections litigation, debt sales and debt buying.  As a part of the agreement, Chase will also cease collection on an estimated 528,000 defaulted credit card accounts, and will refund at least $50 million in restitution directly to consumers who were overcharged as a result of Chase’s practices.

Of the $136 million settlement payment, Colorado will receive just over $1.2 million, plus a payment for the reimbursement of the Colorado Attorney General’s fees and costs it incurred while working on an executive committee of states that investigated Chase’s conduct. Chase also will cease collections pending against more than 3,000 Coloradans, and pay refunds directly to Colorado consumers. Chase also will notify the affected consumers and will ask all three major credit reporting agencies to not report judgments obtained by Chase.

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