JPMorgan Chase is being sued in Manhattan federal court for allegedly charging surprise fees when it stopped allowing its customers to buy cryptocurrency with credit cards.
According to Reuters, when the company made the change in late January, it began treating the purchases as cash advances.
The suit, which was filed on Tuesday on behalf of a proposed nationwide class, alleges that Chase charged both extra fees and much higher interest rates on the cash advances than on the credit cards. The bank also refused to refund the charges after receiving customer complaints.
While Chase spokeswoman Mary Jane Rogers declined to comment on the suit, she did reveal that the bank stopped processing credit card purchases of crypto because of the credit risk involved. However, customers can still use their Chase debit cards to buy cryptocurrency without incurring cash advance charges, since the funds will be pulled directly from their checking accounts.
The lawsuit explains that the plaintiff, Idaho resident Brady Tucker, was charged $143.30 in fees and $20.61 in surprise interest charges by Chase for five cryptocurrency transactions he made between January 27 and February 2.
When Tucker called Chase’s customer service line to dispute the charges, the bank refused to remove them, the suit explained. And then, with no advance warning, Chase “stuck the plaintiff with the bill, after the fact of his transactions, and insisted that he pay it.”
A lawyer for Tucker could not be reached for comment, but the lawsuit alleges that hundreds or possibly thousands of other Chase customers were hit with these surprise charges.
The lawsuit specifically accuses Chase of violating the U.S. Truth in Lending Act, which requires credit card companies to notify their customers in writing of any significant change in charges or terms. The lawsuit is asking for actual damages and statutory damages of $1 million.