Merchant Account Underwriting Tools

And now I are one……

Do we love them or hate them? Mostly hate them. Lawyers, that is. And, with a never used law degree, I still love the language of the law. Quoting an old saying, “Two months ago I didn’t know what a lawyer was, and now I are one.”

I regain my appreciation for the language of the law, and for the lawyers who get their start in government service, reading filings such as below. Even more for those who make it a career.

You can see something of the “good lawyer” skills in the complaint behind the press release here:

“Matthew Patterson, Mark Benning, Jason Strober, and Swish Marketing, Inc., operated websites advertising short-term, or “payday,” loan matching services. The websites included an online loan application form that allegedly tricked consumers into unknowingly ordering a debit card when they applied for a loan online. On many sites, clicking the button for submitting loan applications led to four product offers unrelated to the loan, each with tiny “Yes” and “No” buttons. “No” was pre-clicked for three of them; “Yes” was pre-clicked for a debit card, with fine-print disclosures asserting the consumers’ consent to have their bank account debited. Consumers who simply clicked a prominent “Finish matching me with a payday loan provider!” button were charged for the debit card. Other websites touted the card as a “bonus” and disclosed the fee only in fine print below the submit button. As a result, the FTC alleged that consumers were improperly charged up to $54.95 each.

Patterson and Benning will be barred from:

* misrepresenting material facts about any product or service, such as the cost or the method for charging consumers;
* misrepresenting that a product or service is free or a “bonus” without disclosing all material terms and conditions;
* charging consumers without first disclosing what billing information will be used, the amount to be paid, how and on whose account the payment will be assessed, and all material terms and conditions; and
* failing to monitor their marketing affiliates to ensure that they are in compliance with the order.

The settlement order against Patterson also bans him from selling or advertising any product with a “negative-option” program, in which a consumer’s silence or failure to reject a product is treated as an agreement to make a purchase, and from maintaining any affiliation with Swish Marketing. He will also be required to obtain consumers’ informed consent before he can use their personal information collected for a particular purpose for any other purpose, such as generating sales leads.”

This post, as all of those here, is for the edification of merchant account underwriters.

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