In 2014, Florida joined a multi state investigation into past debt collection practices by Chase Bank. The investigation resulted in a $136 million joint state-federal settlement with Attorney General Pam Bondi, 47 other Attorneys General, the District of Columbia, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The settlement requires Chase Bank USA N.A. and Chase Bankcard Services, Inc. to reform its unlawful credit card debt collection practices in areas of declarations, collections litigation, debt sales and debt buying. Debt buying involves the sale of debt by creditors or other debt owners, often for pennies on the dollar, to buyers who then attempt to collect the debt at full value or sell it. The agreement also requires new safeguards to help ensure debt information is accurate and inaccurate data is corrected, provides additional information to consumers who owe debts, and bars Chase’s debt buyers from reselling consumer debts to other purchasers.
For collections litigation that was pending between Jan. 1, 2009 and June 30, 2014, Chase is also ceasing collection activity on judgments held by Chase and seeking to withdraw, dismiss or terminate any pending litigation matters and will request that credit reporting agencies not report these judgments against borrowers. Chase is required to send notice to affected borrowers that it is ceasing these collection efforts.
Florida will receive the largest remedial payment of any state in the settlement. As part of the agreement, more than 5,000 Chase customers in Florida will receive more than $4.6 million in restitution with an additional $1.6 million going to the state’s general revenue fund. In addition, $15.3 million will go to 47 non-profit organizations across the state to be used for legal services, financial literacy, and other programs related to assisting Floridians with managing debt.