S.D.N.Y. Dismisses Putative TILA Class Action Based On Credit Card Billing Practices

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On October 18, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York dismissed a putative TILA class action alleging that a bank made improper interest rate disclosures on credit card bills and assessed incorrect late fees and interest. Schwartz v. HSBC Bank USA, N.A., No. 13-cv-00769, 2013 WL 5677059 (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 18, 2013). The card holder asserted that despite his timely payments the bank assessed him late fees and incorrectly disclosed the annual interest rate and balances on his monthly statements. The court first rejected the card holder’s disclosure claim, characterizing the alleged violations as “hypertechnical” disclosure defects that did not provide a basis for plaintiff to recover. The court held that, while the applicable TILA rule mandates the disclosure of the applicable rate, the balance to which the rate applied, and the nominal APR, the card holder did not properly allege how his statements lacked or misstated any of these required disclosures. The court also held that dismissal was warranted because the bank had refunded the alleged improper late fees before plaintiff commenced the lawsuit, and therefore plaintiff sustained no actual damages.