As many of you know, FCNB is a rip-off company. They constantly claim that payments arrive one day later than the due date so they can charge us all another $35.00 late charge. They also give everyone the illusion that there is a minimum payment amount that will be sufficient to pay, but which, in reality, isn't enough to avoid an over-the-linmit fee if you were near the limit previously. Their outrageous finance charges will send your amount just slightly over the limit and they will then tack on another $35.00 charge. This is a total scam!
A few months ago I decide to get rid of this pain-in-the-a*s ripoff company and pay them off completely. I called them for the payoff amount (whcih was just over $5,000) and paid them in full. I verified the balance online and it showed zero balance. Two weeks later they attempted to tack on a late charge from the previous month, indicating that my payment the previous month was received one day late. This was too much! I contacted their office in Beaverton and was able to get a female employee to call back. I told her about the situation and politely asked that they perform a goodwill adjustment and close the account. The woman stated to me that they weren't allowing any more adjustments and that their late charges and over-the-limit fees were allowed under their Terms & Agreement in the credit card contract. I disagreed and then looked up the contact information for the president of the company.
I wrote a letter to the president, Greg Aube, stating the facts of the situation and the fact that they were violating the Consumers Legal Remedies Act in the California State Civil Codes and could be subject to a lawsuit. I requested the adjustment and closure of the account. What I received in return was a letter from one of their lackeys -- a Brian Cooksey -- stating that they were sticking to their policy and that they would not allow any adjustments.
I wrote again and offered a compromise, sending a check and stating that if they cashed the check that this would consitute acceptance of the compromise, but I informed them that I would file suit if they refused. The same lackey wrote back and arrogantly stated that they were depositing the check, refusing my compromise, and basically telling me to get lost.
War has now been declared! I state to all of you out there who have been ripped off by these arrogant bastards -- fight back! I feel the way to do this is to file small claims actions against them in your local courts, especially in California or any state that has good consumer protection laws. This is the way I am approaching this and I feel this will be effective. I AM NOT A LAWYER AND AM NOT OFFERING LEGAL ADVICE. THIS IS ONLY MY OPINION FROM EXPERIENCES AGAINST BAD CORPORATIONS.
It is my belief that FCNB is now subject to claims for unfair business practices and other violations of the CLRA, and if anyone files in small claims court, FCNB will have to appear in your local court to defend themselves. They are not allowed to use lawyers and will have to send an employee or officer of the corporation to the court. Based on the nearly 400 complaints to the Oregon State Attorney General and any complainst filed with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency in San Francisco (who is the watchdog for the Federal Reserve banking in the western USA), it seems likely that the local judges will seriously consider the cases filed by consumers.
I do not believe that a class action suit will be as effective as a barrage of small claims actions against FCNB streaming in from across the USA. In California, the filing fee for Small Claims Court is $22.00, plus $8.00 for service of affidavit by certified mail. In California, the maximum judgment allowed in small claims is $5,000. However, for violations of any of the CLRA, the MINIMUM fine is $1,000. If a judge feels that the consumer has been wronged, he or she can award judgment to the consumer up to $5,0000! Can you imagine if hundreds to thousands of these lawsuits were filed against this rip-off company? It could seriously bring this company to its knees!
FCNB may try to wriggle out of cases by claiming that they have a clause in their contract that requires all lawsuits to be brought to court in their local district in Oregon. Well, surprise, surprise! I found out that the State of California codes WAIVE all forum selection clauses against the consumer and in favor of the corporation in any cases in which ANY of the CLRA codes are violated. That means that if you specifically state (in the case of California consumers) that FCNB violated any of the CLRA codes, then they cannot claim forum selection in Oregon. They must appear in California. You should check your state civil codes and see if your state has good consumer protection laws.
Class action suits are not always that effective and may not result in the remedy that consumers are seeking. Many consumers may lose out completely. Hundreds to thousands of small claims actions will make a big corporation take notice and may cause them to fix the problems they have created. It will definitely hurt them.
I will be constructing a website soon regarding the fight against FCNB. I will post the website address when it is ready.
U.S.A. Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on First Consumers National Bank FCNB