Some consumers fall prey to credit card offers that sound too good to be true. Even though the consumer may have little or no credit, they are offered a low-interest, high-limit credit card.
There's only one catch. They have to pay a big upfront fee.
"With tough economic times, the last thing consumers need is to pay for help they don't receive," said North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper.
Cooper's office has just won a court order to stop an Arizona company from offering advance fee cards in the Tar Heel State. Premier Nationwide Corporation, Inc. and its president Eric C. Synstad of Scottsdale, Arizona, have been ordered to stop contacting or taking money from North Carolina consumers while the suit against them goes forward.
The company does business as Premier Savings and Premier Savings Consultant. Cooper is also asking the court to order Premier Savings to pay refunds to consumers and fines to the state for deceptive practices and illegal telemarketing calls.
In asking for the temporary restraining order, Cooper contended that Premier Savings deceived consumers across North Carolina with its marketing of credit cards and debt consolidation services. He said the company also violated state law by making unsolicited telemarketing calls to North Carolinians who had placed their telephone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry.
As alleged in the complaint, Premier Savings contacted consumers through mailings and telemarketing calls to offer pre-approved credit cards with credit lines as high as $50,000 and debt consolidation services for an upfront fee. In reality, very few consumers were able to get credit cards through Premier Savings.
Consumers who got unsolicited telephone calls from the company were asked to provide a debit or credit card number to pay a processing fee of approximately $379.
Once people paid the fee they were told to contact a bank to get their credit card. But the bank told consumers to fill out a credit card application and in most cases the consumers' applications were denied.
According to consumers who complained to Cooper's office, Premier Savings would not provide refunds for the processing fee. People who asked for a refund because they couldn't get a credit card were usually told to obtain a denial letter from the bank and then referred to another bank where they were also denied credit.