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Tucsonan's lawsuit claims years of unauthorized credit card charges


Here's a cautionary tale for those who don't check their bank statements every month: Juan M. Restrepo of Tucson noticed in April that there was $10.99 charged to his Chase MasterCard account for something labeled "TLG*GREATFN."

To his shock, Restrepo found that the first deduction came in May 2007 for $9.99 and that every month in between had $10.99 charged for something he claims he never authorized.

Last week, Restrepo filed a class-action lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Tucson, claiming Trilegiant Corporation Inc., its parent company Affinion and Chase Bank USA conspired to defraud him and numerous others with membership club and product loyalty services.

"The charges were virtually unnoticeable because it was embedded in all other ordinary charges that normally escape close scrutiny of the ordinary consumer," according to the lawsuit.

This isn't the first time Trilegiant has been accused of such practices. Restrepo's lawsuit cites the company's "history of preying upon unsuspecting consumers in conjunction with third parties, including Chase" after states from coast to coast reached multi-million-dollar settlements with the company.

The lawsuit accuses the companies of racketeering, violating electronic communications privacy laws, violating unfair trade laws and unjustly enriching themselves. Restrepo is seeking unspecified damages and court costs.

A spokesman for Chase declined to comment, saying the company had yet to see the lawsuit. Calls to Trilegiant and Affinion were not returned.

A.J. Flick is an experienced criminal justice reporter, author of a book to be published next year on notorious Arizona crimes and a member of the steering committee for the Coalition of Arizonans to Abolish the Death Penalty.

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