December 29, 2000
The Minnesota Attorney General has sued FleetBoston Financial, charging that its mortgage group has illegally given information about mortgage holders to telemarketers. Attorney General Michael Hatch called the practice "sleazy" and "over the line," according to The Wall Street Journal.
The suit charges that Fleet not only divulged confidential information about its customers but also allowed the telemarketers to bill charges to the customer's mortgage account without the customer's consent.
Fleet denied the charges and said it would "vigorously" defend itself.
One of the alleged victims is a Minnesota state representative, Loren Jennings of Rush City, MN. He said that when a telemarketer called him in 1999 selling insurance coverage for household appliances, he told the caller repeatedly that he did not want the service.
But later Jennings said he found a $20 per month charge on his Fleet mortgage bill.
The Fleet case follows a similar action against U.S. Bancorp. Last year the Minnesota Attorney General alleged that U.S. Bancorp had illegally disclosed customers' financial data. Additional states joined the action and the company eventually settled for $7.5 million.
Fleet also faces a consumer class action filed in October, accusing it of offering fixed-rate credit cards, then raising the rate without notice.