• Report: #46533

Complaint Review: First National Bank Of Marin

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  • Submitted: Sat, February 22, 2003
  • Updated: Mon, February 24, 2003

  • Reported By:Beaverton Oregon
First National Bank Of Marin
PO Box 98872 Las Vegas, Nevada U.S.A.

First National Bank Of Marin Intent to defraud customers rip-off SCAM Las Vegas Nevada

*Consumer Comment: I understand your frustration

*Author of original report: Letter to State of Nevada Office of the Attorney General

*Author of original report: Letter to Visa about FNBM using their name for racketeering

*Author of original report: Two more addresses for FNB Marin

*Author of original report: Visa Does Not Care!!!!

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SHORT STORY:
First National Bank of Marin is RIPPING OFF consumers by offering a Platinum credit card for a $39 application fee, then when the card arrives, and you call the 800-797-6534 number to activate it, they ask you to accept the terms of the Billing Rights document, then give you FRAUDULENT TERMS that were never in the original marketing or legal documents.

They claim the $400 fee, plus a bunch of other fees, were in the original marketing material. When I disputed this, she said, "Well, it was on the application form you submitted." NO IT WAS NOT! I would have made a front-and-back copy of the form if it had anything on it.

So basically, they are fraudulently taking advantage of people who are ready to activate their new Platinum Visa card. Someone not listening carefully as she rattles off the false charges, would inadvertantly accept the terms, as I did (until I asked her to read them back to me).

The bottom line is there was only about $28 credit available, and you would be on the hook for all the fees, plus process fees, plus interest, plus late fees, and ON, and ON, and ON!

I am reporting this to VISA as well. I don't know that Nevada even has an Attorneys General's office.

LONG STORY:
I was made an offer for an unsecured Platinum Visa from the First National Bank of Marin. (PO Box 98872, Las Vegas, NV 89193 tel. 877-825-3242).

The application had an intro letter and short application form, along with a "Billing Rights" statement of fees, etc. They asked for a $39 application fee, and would bill a $90 yearly fee in 12 month increments of $7.50 to your card. Not a bad deal, considering my credit got screwed up.

I got the card in the mail today, went to activate it, and rather than an automated system, a live person comes on and starts explaining all the fees, along with a $400 yearly fee and many other fees and disclosures.

She claimed these were outlined on the application material and form. I informed her that my app had no policies on the front or back(otherwise I would have made a copy of it before sending).

I told her I did not want the card. She said she would simply not activate it, and I would have to wait 14 days for the activation to expire and my account would be closed. I asked her about my original fee, and she said they would send it over 30 days after the 14 day period. She would not tell me when.

The $39 is one thing, but these people are commiting fraud against applicants. The fees are WELL over any credit limit they would give. She gave me two different stories on what my credit limit would be (the worst was $28, and the best was $47).

What a SCAM! Can you inform people of this? I think any bank or financial institution has an obligation for truthful disclosure BEFORE a card is applied for.

Mike
Beaverton, Oregon
U.S.A.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 02/22/2003 05:03 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/First-National-Bank-Of-Marin/Las-Vegas-Nevada-89193-8872/First-National-Bank-Of-Marin-Intent-to-defraud-customers-rip-off-SCAM-Las-Vegas-Nevada-46533. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report.

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Updates & Rebuttals

#1 Consumer Comment

I understand your frustration

AUTHOR: Anon - (U.S.A.)

Hi Mike--

I don't think Visa cared because it sounds like the bank is not violating their charter with Visa. It does sound like predatory lending, but they are also disclosing the charges to you before they activate the card, so even though it's gouging, the costs have been disclosed to you. If they were using the Visa name to defraud or in a way that violated their agreement with Visa, then Visa would care because it'd be the Visa reputation. Visa was receptive to a complaint I had about First USA a few years ago because they were abusing the terms of the charter agreement with Visa.

You might want to contact the banks regulating agency, such as the Office of Thrift Supervision or the Federal Reserve Board or the banking regulators in the state the card was issed as well as the state the account is based in.

You might also have them on Truth in Lending disclosures since they verbally informed you but didn't provide the full disclosures in writing--check on that one by researching "predatory lending" and "truth in lending" on the internet. They also collected a fee before giving you the full disclosures, so if they are not refunding that (remains to be seen), that would be a good point to bring up with the regulators.

Good luck with it and thanks for posting. It's always good to know who is ripping consumers off, so I can stay away!
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#2 Author of original report

Letter to State of Nevada Office of the Attorney General

AUTHOR: Mike - (U.S.A.)

AFFIDAVIT and COMPLAINT

February 24, 2003

State of Nevada
Office of the Attorney General
Bureau of Consumer Protection
555 East Washington Avenue, Suite 3900
Las Vegas, NV 89101

Dear Office of the Attorney General:

I, [...], of [...], Tigard, Oregon 97223, on February 24, 2003, do swear that the information in this affidavit is true and accurate to the best of my knowledge.

I am filing a complaint against the First National Bank of Marin, doing business in both Las Vegas and Henderson, Nevada. I believe their fraudulent business practices can be categorized as fraud, deception, and racketeering, perpetrated using false documents with and financial instruments.

First National Bank of Marin with the following addresses:
Address given in disclosure documents: PO Box 98872, Las Vegas, NV 89193-8872
Address given on credit application form: PO Box 95035, Henderson, NV 89009-5035
Address on application envelope: PO Box 95033, Henderson, NV 89009-9908
made an offer for a Platinum Visa card, via an unsolicited mailing I received.

The essence of the terms specified were a) a $39 processing fee, and b) a $90 yearly fee that would be split each month into a $7.50 fee on the balance of the Visa card with at least a $300 credit limit.

I sent the application and fee, via money order to FNBM Visa Processing Center in Henderson, NV. I received the card a couple of weeks later, and like other Visa cards, was asked to call an 800 number and activate it. Usually these systems simply run you through an automated phone system, but I was a little surprised that I had to wait on hold for a live operator.

The service person who answered, flashed through fee after fee, reading it off of a script, then saying, If you agree to these terms, I will go ahead and activate your new Visa card. I could not even understand her because the fees were being read so quickly, and she had a thick Hispanic accent.

At first I said, Yes, but heard something about a $400 yearly fee, and quickly said, Wait a minute, can you go through the fees again? She rattled off the fees again, so fast that I could not hear them all, but again, the $400 fee came up unexpectedly.

I told the representative that none of those fees were either on my original application information or in the information they sent me with the card. She was a little stunned that I was challenging herapparently most people just agree to the fees and activate their card.

She said the fees are outlined in section so-and-so, under some heading. I told her I had the original fee schedule in front of me, and that no such fees or headings were on the disclosure statement. I asked what the balance would be after all the fees. She said there would be $49 worth of credit on the card!

As I disputed her statements, she then scrambled to think of what to say next, then told me the fees were outlined on the back of the application form I signed. I told her there was no printing on the back of the application form, and that I had indeed commented to my friend, at the time I got the money order and mailed it, that there was no light-gray or blue schedules on the back. I did not make a copy of the form because there were no disclosures, and the only information on the form that I did not have was a processing address in Henderson, NV. Incredulous, I again asked how much credit would be available on the Visa card. This time, she told me $28!

I told her I didn't want to activate the card. She said the only way not to activate it is if she didn't put the card activation through, and just let the account close. I then instructed her that I did not agree to the terms and would not be opening or activating the account. She said the system would simply close the account if not activated in 14 days. I asked when I could expect to see my original application fee returned. She told me At least 30 days after the 14 days ran out. I asked how many days. Her answers became more and more vague. I am quite certain it will be a long time before they refund my application feeif ever.

Clearly First National Bank of Marin is using bait and switch marketing practices.

Clearly FNBM is attempting to defraud consumers!

Clearly FNBM is using racketeering practices to coerce money from consumers!

Clearly FNBM is using Visa card financial instruments to perpetrate these crimes!

I would greatly appreciate your investigation into these concerns. I am certain that many other consumers simply agree to these terms and get stuck with the problem later. I am also certain many others simply don't report the problem at all. To guage the scope of the problem, there are no less than 35 complaints logged against First National Bank of Marin on the website: http://www.badbusinessbureau.com.

Signed:


X__________________ Date: February 24, 2003
...
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#3 Author of original report

Letter to Visa about FNBM using their name for racketeering

AUTHOR: Mike - (U.S.A.)

February 24, 2003

VISA International
Customer Information Assistance
PO Box 649
Owings Mills, MD 21117

Dear Visa:

First of all, I am disappointed that you don't take correspondence via your website seriously enough to handle problems electronically.

Secondly, I am trying to warn you of a bank that is running a scam to intentionally defraud consumers.

First National Bank of Marin with a processing center at PO Box 98872, Las Vegas, NV 89193-8872, made an offer for a Platinum Visa card, via an unsolicited mailing I received.

The essence of the terms specified were a) a $39 processing fee, and b) a $90 yearly fee that would be split each month into a $7.50 fee on the balance of the Visa card.

I sent the application and fee, via money order to FNBM Visa Processing Center in Henderson, NV. I received the card a couple of weeks later, and like other Visa cards, was asked to call an 800 number and activate it. Usually these systems simply run you through an automated phone system, but I was a little surprised that I had to wait on hold for a live operator.

The service person who answered, flashed through fee after fee, reading it off of a script, then saying, If you agree to these terms, I will go ahead and activate your new Visa card. I could not even understand her because the fees were being read so quickly, and she had a thick Hispanic accent.

At first I said, Yes, but heard something about a $400 yearly fee, and quickly said, Wait a minute, can you go through the fees again? She rattled off the fees again, so fast that I could not hear them all, but again, the $400 fee came up unexpectedly.

I told the representative that none of those fees were either on my original application information or in the information they sent me with the card. She was a little stunned that I was challenging herapparently most people just agree to the fees and activate their card.

She said the fees are outlined in section so-and-so, under some heading. I told her I had the original fee schedule in front of me, and that no such fees or headings were on the disclosure statement. I asked what the balance would be after all the fees. She said there would be $49 worth of credit on the card!

As I disputed her statements, she then scrambled to think of what to say next, then told me the fees were outlined on the back of the application form I signed. I told her there was no printing on the back of the application form, and that I had indeed commented to my friend, at the time I got the money order and mailed it, that there was no light-gray or blue schedules on the back. I did not make a copy of the form because there were no disclosures, and the only information on the form that I did not have was a processing address in Henderson, NV. Incredulous, I again asked how much credit would be available on the Visa card. This time, she told me $28!

I told her I didn't want to activate the card. She said the only way not to activate it is if she didn't put the card activation through, and just let the account close. I then instructed her that I did not agree to the terms and would not be opening or activating the account. She said the system would simply close the account if not activated in 14 days. I asked when I could expect to see my original application fee returned. She told me At least 30 days after the 14 days ran out. I asked how many days. Her answers became more and more vague. I am quite certain it will be a long time before they refund my application feeif ever.

Clearly First National Bank of Marin is using bait and switch marketing practices!

Clearly FNBM is attempting to defraud consumers!

Clearly FNBM is using racketeering practices to coerce money from consumers!

Clearly FNBM is using your Visa card financial instruments to perpetrate these crimes!

My question is this: Visa touts security and protection after the card is issued, how do you protect consumers from corrupt Visa card issuers before the Visa card is activated, and what measures will you take to prevent this from continuing to happen to consumers. My assumption that it is a recurring problem is based on the numerous reports at http://www.badbusinessbureau.com where no less than 35 reports have been filed against FNBM over fraudulent Visa card issues.

I realize that FNBM has a large Visa card portfolio. I greatly appreciate your concern for this matter, and hope you will stop the fraud, using your Visa card products, from happening to so many consumers. I'm certain that many other consumers simply agree to these terms and get stuck with the problem later. I'm sure many others simply don't report the problem.

Best regards,
...
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#4 Author of original report

Two more addresses for FNB Marin

AUTHOR: Mike - (U.S.A.)

Normally I would make a copy of my application form, but there were no additional terms or information not already in the First National Bank of Marin agreement document that accompanied the marketing piece. However, I did write down the two addresses they had me send my $39 to, just because they were the only pieces of info I did not have on anything else they sent me:

Address on the application:
FNBM Visa Processing Center
P.O. Box 95035
Henderson, NV 89009-5035

Address on the application envelope:
FNBM Visa Processing Center
P.O. Box 95033
Henderson, NV 89009-9908

Only the PO Box number and last four digits of zip are different.
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#5 Author of original report

Visa Does Not Care!!!!

AUTHOR: Mike - (U.S.A.)

Amazingly, I wrote Visa to complain about this bank, and THEY DON'T CARE!!!!

Here's my email to Visa consumer affairs:
I am deeply concerned about the business practices of First National Bank of Marin. They intentionally tried to deceive and
mislead me in applying for one of their cards. They sent an agreement, asked for a processing fee and were paid, then when the card came and I called to activate it, they gave me a bunch of phony fees never disclosed before the card approval.

The fees were hundreds of dollars, and when I was able to dispute the information with the service rep, she kept changing the story, including telling me two different account balances I would have after verbally agreeing to their terms. One time she told me I would have only a $28 credit limit, another time a $49 limit. NONE of this was disclosed ahead of time.

Apparently this fraud is perpetrated regularly as seen on http://badbusinessbureau.com. These people are tarnishing your reputation, at the same time they are committing fraud. They were quite vague about when, if ever, they would return my application fee. Thank you. MikeG


Here's the email they sent me:
Thank you for contacting us with your concerns about your Visa card issuer. Visa has no access to, or jurisdiction over your account. Accounts are confidential and proprietary information between you and your card issuing financial institution.

However, if you send a brief note to the address below, your concerns will be forwarded to the appropriate person at the bank. It is not necessary to forward supporting documentation. However, please include your name and the name of the bank involved. Please send this to:

VISA International
Customer Information Assistance
PO Box 649
Owings Mills, MD 21117

So while we have no direct access to accounts to resolve this matter, we can take further steps towards a resolution. You will receive a confirmation letter from the Consumer affairs area once they have forwarded your concerns to the bank.

Customer service and satisfaction are important to Visa. We hope this information proves helpful.

Thank you for writing.

VISA Webmaster
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