Monday, February 16, 2009

Credit Card Agreements May be Implied under Certain Circumstances

In a recent case out of a Dallas, the Court found that a credit card agreement may be implied under certain circumstances. In this case, Bank X issued a credit card to the debtor. Bank X then merged with another bank, Bank Y. Bank Y sued the debtor to collect the balance on the credit card. The debtor argued that Bank Y had not produced an agreement between the debtor and Bank Y, that the debtor had not made an agreement with Bank Y, and that the debtor was, therefore, not liable.

Even though there was no written agreement, the Court found that the debtor and Bank Y had an implied agreement. An “implied contract” can arise from the acts and conduct of the parties.

The Court noted conduct of the parties evidencing an implied agreement. The initial interest rate on the account was set forth on the first billing statement, and the financial terms in effect each time the card was issued were set out on each monthly statement. One of the monthly statements informed debtor of merger and stated that words “we, us and our” as used in cardmember agreement now referred to bank Y. Even after debtor was given notice of the merger, new charges were made on account almost every month and late fees and “over the limit” fees were periodically assessed which the debtor did not object to or dispute. The Court determined that based on the series of transactions reflected on the account statements, it was reasonable to infer that the debtor agreed to the full amount shown on the statements and impliedly promised to pay the indebtedness.


Edward said...

I was unaware that Texas law allowed a Bank or CC company to sue someone who chooses not to pay on a credit card. When did the law change? As seen on CBS news, some banks ( I won't mention who) have chosen to raise interest rates on their customers credit cards. In some cases doubling their monthly amount due. This has happened to me. I was paying 4.9 percent and they raised it to 16.99 percent. My payment for the card went from around $130.00 to over $350.00. All because I missed ONE payment in the 6 years I have had the card. Any help?

Marc said...

I would write your Congresspersons...there is some debate currently in Congress about restricting consumer credit card companies from raising rates so rapidly and/or adjusting credit limits downward forcing principal payments...but for now, your credit card agreement controls and they are often very easy for the card companies to change the terms unilaterally so long as you are still using the card for monthly purchases.

Other option is to transfer the balance to a competitor.