JPMorgan Chase Sued Over ‘Sky-High’ Cryptocurrency Fees

Crime, News | April 12, 2018 By:

JPMorgan Chase has been hit with a class-action lawsuit in Manhattan federal court for charging “sky-high” interest rates and fees to customers who used their credit cards to buy cryptocurrencies.

Brady Tucker, the plaintiff named in the April 10 complaint, alleges that Chase Bank charged additional layers of fees and much higher interest on the cash advances versus what they charge for credit card purchases, and refused to refund the charges when customers complained.

“Chase began treating all its customers’ crypto purchases not as ordinary credit card ‘purchases’ — as Chase had for years — but instead as ‘cash advances’ from Chase to the credit cardholder,” the complaint said. “When Chase implemented this change in late January 2018, Chase did so in total silence. Chase provided no prior notice to its cardholders that their crypto ‘purchases’ would be treated as ‘cash advances’ on a going-forward basis. All of this occurred unbeknownst to Chase’s cardholders.”

Tucker claimed that he was hit with $143.30 in fees and $20.61 in surprise interest charges by Chase for five cryptocurrency transactions between January 27 and February 2. Tucker said he contacted Chase’s customer service line to voice his concerns, but the bank refused to provide refunds.

“Had Chase notified its cardholders, as required by law, in advance of making these changes to their credit card terms, Plaintiff and the Class would not have incurred millions of dollars in cash advance fees and interest charges by taking out personal cash loans from Chase without their knowledge or consent,” the complaint said.

According to the lawsuit, there are “hundreds” and “possibly thousands” of other Chase customers who were similarly met with these unexpected fees in their accounts. The lawsuit accuses Chase of violating the US Truth in Lending Act, which requires credit card issuers to notify customers in writing of any significant change in charges or terms. Tucker is seeking class-action status for the suit and a refund of all related fees plus $1 million in damages.

A Chase spokesperson declined to comment on the lawsuit, but said the bank stopped processing credit card purchases of cryptocurrency on February 3 because of the credit risk involved. The spokesperson also pointed out that customers could still use their checking account-linked debit cards for purchases and bypass fees.