San Francisco’s City Attorney Wins Fight With Bank Of America

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A sign outside a Bank of America branch in San Francisco. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

A sign outside a Bank of America branch in San Francisco. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

DougSovern20100908_KCBS_0208r Doug Sovern
Doug began his career as a copy boy at the New York Times, and then...
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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)—San Francisco’s City Attorney has won a fight with the credit card division of the nation’s largest bank, which means millions of dollars for the city and tough new consumer protections for customers of Bank of America.

If you have a Bank of America card, you may have noticed the fine print that says you agree to go to binding arbitration if there’s a dispute. San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera said that sounds fair, but it wasn’t. Now he’s won a $5 million settlement from Bank of America credit card subsidiary FIA Card Services.

KCBS’ Doug Sovern Reports:

“Essentially the binding arbitration they were getting was rigged against them,” he said.

Herrera added that out of about 30,000 arbitrations, only 30 found in favor of the consumer.

NAF is the National Arbitration Forum, which FIA will no longer use. Cardholders will be allowed to go to court to make their cases instead. The city is still suing NAF separately. Herrera says the arbitration system was a sham with customers charged outrageous attorneys’ fees and almost always losing in the end.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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