I guess they feel that they can just proclaim whatever they want, and I
have to accept it. Screw that. I am incredibly angry, and would like
to send Discover straight to hell. Since that's not in my power, any
ideas on what to do next? Can I sue for damages? If so, what is the
name of the crime they committed that I can go after them for? Can I
sue in my state, or would I have to travel to wherever they're
incorporated, or what?
I would be glad to consider any other options.
> I guess they feel that they can just proclaim whatever they
> want, and I have to accept it. Screw that. I am incredibly
> angry, and would like to send Discover straight to hell.
> Since that's not in my power, any ideas on what to do next?
You could set fire to yourself in 'protest', outside Discover HO.
That'll learn em.
> Can I sue for damages?
More viable to use the small claims court.
> If so, what is the name of the crime they
> committed that I can go after them for?
You dont need to name it with the small claims court.
> Can I sue in my state,
> or would I have to travel to wherever they're incorporated,
> or what?
Not that either.
> I would be glad to consider any other options.
Even doing a McViegh at corp HO ? Bit over the top.
First, file a police report about the identity theft. Ultimately,
your ex-GF is the one that commited the crime. Once you have a copy
of the police report and case number, contact Discovercard again and
fax them a copy of the report.
Your ex-GF could end up in jail, but that would be a good thing,
I seriously doubt they can tell the difference between your ass and
the mascots of the Democratic *or* Republican Party in the USA.
>I'm responsible for the debt. I've asked for copies of the
>application, or ANY proof they think they have that I'm responsible.
>They tell me they don't keep copies of the applications. (i.e., "our
>dog ate it.") Which I figure means that they didn't require *any*
>proof of ID at all,
An application usually doesn't require any ID. It's kinda hard to
do that if it's mailed OR online. The closest thing to ID a mailed
application has is a signature. Mailed applications may also have
postmarks (if they are saved) and online applications have IP addresses
and timestamps of the client (if they are saved).
>and just don't want to admit there never was any
>application -- with the other companies she was apparently just able to
>sign up online, using info she knew about me.
If there was no application (online or otherwise), the account
doesn't exist, so there's no name attached to it, so there's no
reason to blame the debt on you any more than blaming it on
Osama bin Laden.
Can you get things like a copy of the signature on any of the
charges (or were they all online?)? Where was the merchandise
shipped? Are the charges even real?
You might try asking them for proof that George W. Bush *ISN'T*
responsible. The "my dog ate it" excuse works in their favor since
they can't prove it's not George's responsibility.
Gordon L. Burditt
And people act like they can't figure out why I have such an
aversion to "romantic" relationships.
Get Credit Where Credit Is Due
Credit Tools, Reference, and Forum
Of course you probably don't have a copy of the credit agreement. You
will find some resources online, including this 4th Circuit judgment:
Discover Bank v. Vaden, 396 F.3d 366 (4th Cir.
(You don't say what state you live in.)
Whether you can use Small Claims Court (despite the "arbitration
agreement" that you didn't sign but which you may be held to) depends
not only on the law of arbitration but on the jurisdiction of the small
claims court in your county.
You said that there is a police report. At the very least, you should
complain to the FTC, the consumer frauds division of your state
attorney general, the Better Business Bureau, the Comptroller of the
Currency and any other regulatory agencies you can think of. Sending
out carbon-copy letters is easy for you; each one has to be
individually responded to by Discover. If you are in contact with any
lawyers (or any person claiming to be or implying that s/he is a
lawyer) complain to the Bar of your state for harassment, Unlicensed
Practice of Law, etc.
You might (depending on your jurisdiction) be able to swear out a
misdemeanor criminal complaint against people at Discover and even the
firm itself. (In some cities like NYC this involves no more than going
down to the court and filling out a form which you then hand to the
defendant. You are entitled (in NYC) to have a policeman accompany
If you have household insurance, be sure to involve your insurance
company. They would be responsible for the Discover debt, which is
You may wish to contact the CEOs of Discover Bank and Morgan Stanley at
home to alert them of the fraudulent conduct of their employees and
your potential claims against them and against their firms.
You'll find a lot of information on Discover by doing a Web search.
Here's a Wikipedia summary:
> My ex-girlfriend committed identity theft against me. She took out a
> lot of credit cards in my name. When sent copies of the police
> report., etc, all the companies have been reasonable in releasing me
> from obligation resulting from this, except Discover. They claim,
> after a "thorough investigation" (thorough investigation my ass!) that
> I'm responsible for the debt.
. . .
Relax. You don't owe Discover anything. You didn't sign up for any credit
card and didn't authorize the girl friend to do so. You have no reason to
care what Discover thinks. Just ignore them. There is no reason for you to
call them, write to them, return any calls.
No, you cannot successfully sue Discover. They have done you no harm. They
haven't cost you any money or caused you to incur any expense. They have
committed no crime and no civil tort.
Someday, you might have a claim against Discover if their efforts to collect
the debt end up amounting to a violation of the Fair Debt Collection
Practices Act. It hasn't happened yet on the facts you provided. If it
ever does happen, you will sue them, win, collect a ton of money, and be
happy the whole think happened. Or, they might make an adverse report to a
credit reporting agency. If that happens, there are things you can do, but
it hasn't happened yet and probably won't. Relax.
You cannot be required to take any dispute to arbitration because you didn't
sign any contract that says so.
The FTC, the consumer frauds division of your state attorney general, the
Better Business Bureau, the Comptroller of the Currency and the state bar
have no reason to be concerned and there is no reason to contact them. They
can do nothing about this non-problem.
Even if there had been a misdemeanor committed by Discover, which there
hasn't, and even if you had any grounds to file a misdemeanor criminal
complaint against anyone at Discover, which you don't, there would be
nothing for you to hand to any defendant and no possibility whatsoever that
any officer would accompany you while you try to hand the defendant
Your household insurance won't cover contract liability or losses caused by
someone defrauding you, or losses caused by theft, none of which has
Don't contact the CEOs of Discover Bank or Morgan Stanley at home. You have
no right to bother them. You don't have any potential claims against them.
This answer must not be relied on as legal advice for the reasons posted
-- a bad credit rating that will prove difficult to fix; and in the
long term whatever voluntary statement you add to the file may (1) live
forever and (2) prove counterproductive.
-- an arbitration award against you that can and will be enforced by
the courts (even though you never agreed to arbitration in the first
place) because you failed to appear and contest the jurisdiction (or
the jurisdictional fact, and the fact of your [not] signing the
application for credit were found against you.
It is true that there is one (1) unreported (except on Westlaw) case
that found for the consumer: Maranto v. Citifinancial Retail Services,
Inc.. 2005 WL 3369948 (W.D.La.,2005). But at what expense? You can find
more cases enforcing arbitration agreements, some of them under
circumstances like yours. And many more that ride roughshod over
consumer complaints of the unfairness of the clause or their inability
to be heard on the merits. (A few states have passed consumer
protection laws on the subject; I don't know what state you're in.)
Mackey v. MBNA America Bank NA, 343 F. Supp. 2d 966
I don't propose to get into a debate with Mr McGyver, who may or may
not be an attorney. (I am, but retired). I can say that if you take his
advice you are asking for serious trouble along the lines of Beth
Plowman's as reported in the Washington Post on Feb. 24, 2005:
Discover Card has a particularly nasty reputation. I would not normally
advise targeting senior corporate officials, but Discover's
particularly nasty attitude starts at the top, and so should you.
What ever you do, DO NOT IGNORE ANY CORRESPONDENCE. And get the name
and extension of everyone you speak to. Send all letters certified
mail, return receipt requested. If you receive notice of arbitration
and can't attend (because far away or because you can't get off work)
you should hire a local lawyer to represent you (and to try to claim
you costs and his/her fees, although s/he may not succeed in that...).
If you can't afford that, write to the arbitrator, return receipt
requested, and try to telephone as well.
I know something about arbitration, and about how the courts by and
large defer to arbitration clauses even when they haven't in fact been
agreed. Whether the fact of agreeing to the clause can be decided by
the arbitrator or whether the courts may decide that fact depends on
circumstances. It's a gamble you should not take.
As for your household insurance: your policy may cover you. Mine covers
me. But if you don't notify the in time, you're out of luck.
I don't often intervene in newsgroup legal questions. And, unlike Mr
McGyver (be he lawyer or not) I never comment unless I know the answer,
and usually I provide citations too: I have a hard drive full of
I would go one better: Cut up your Discover card. And if you have a
relationship with them, get out from under it. Now.
Exactly what has me so angry about this whole thing. I'd need to show
ID to cash a check to buy $5 worth of produce at the local market but
*no* proof of identity was required for her to run up over $100k worth
of charges in my (male) name. Something is definitely wrong with this
> It's kinda hard to do that if it's mailed OR online.
> The closest thing to ID a mailed
> application has is a signature.
A signature would at least be something, though -- the crime lab is
checking out signatures she used to commit other forgeries in my name.
(But even there I'm unhappy with the system: apparently financial
institutions are under no obligation to keep anything but filmed copies
of documents, and the handwriting analysts don't like that.)
> Mailed applications may also have
> postmarks (if they are saved) and online applications have IP addresses
> and timestamps of the client (if they are saved).
The IP address wasn't static, and even if it were it would resolve to a
computer we both used.
> >and just don't want to admit there never was any
> >application -- with the other companies she was apparently just able to
> >sign up online, using info she knew about me.
> If there was no application (online or otherwise), the account
> doesn't exist, so there's no name attached to it, so there's no
> reason to blame the debt on you any more than blaming it on
> Osama bin Laden.
That's certainly what I would think. But I guess not.
> Can you get things like a copy of the signature on any of the
> charges (or were they all online?)? Where was the merchandise
> shipped? Are the charges even real?
Wow, I feel like an idiot, but it never occurred to me to look into the
individual charges. (I never saw any statements, of course.) Thanks.
That has already happened, as she hid evidence of the thefts from me
for some time. The account was sold to a collection agency. The
agency claims to have no record of this. But who knows when and where
that will resurface, plus there is the original Discover ding on my
> and in the
> long term whatever voluntary statement you add to the file may (1) live
> forever and (2) prove counterproductive.
Plus I doubt the computer reads the statement when it calculates your
> -- an arbitration award against you that can and will be enforced by
> the courts (even though you never agreed to arbitration in the first
> place) because you failed to appear and contest the jurisdiction (or
> the jurisdictional fact, and the fact of your [not] signing the
> application for credit were found against you.
> It is true that there is one (1) unreported (except on Westlaw) case
> that found for the consumer: Maranto v. Citifinancial Retail Services,
> Inc.. 2005 WL 3369948 (W.D.La.,2005). But at what expense? You can find
> more cases enforcing arbitration agreements, some of them under
> circumstances like yours. And many more that ride roughshod over
> consumer complaints of the unfairness of the clause or their inability
> to be heard on the merits. (A few states have passed consumer
> protection laws on the subject; I don't know what state you're in.)
Illinois. I tried looking the cite up through Westlaw at the library,
but apparently their subscription only covers IL and Fed. I'll check
into the Illinois consumer protection law issue.
Thanks very for for your cogent and informative (though gloomy)
response. I will take it to heart.
The most important and effective identification issue is for YOU
to figure out who your sex-partner (or even platonic "friend")
is, BEFORE exposing yourself to any financial/material risks from
Specifically, identify who they are in the sense of their
attitudes towards money, greed, (dis)honesty, stealing, and so
forth. Along with noticing red-flags suggesting gambling or
And, no, just believing the nice words out of their mouth is NOT
reliable evidence, especially when you perception is clouded by
lust or other neediness.
Check The Free Stuff List
> Relax. You don't owe Discover anything. You didn't sign up for any credit
> card and didn't authorize the girl friend to do so. You have no reason to
> care what Discover thinks. Just ignore them. There is no reason for you to
> call them, write to them, return any calls.
> No, you cannot successfully sue Discover. They have done you no harm. They
> haven't cost you any money or caused you to incur any expense. They have
> committed no crime and no civil tort.
I don't agree with McGyver's analysis. Check the consumer protection laws in
your state, they are probably in your favor. For example, if a company is
billing you or otherwise claiming that you owe something which you legitimately
do not owe, you may sue for triple damages under Chapter 93A (consumer
protection statue) in Massachusetts. Other states have similar laws.
> Discover Card has a particularly nasty reputation. I would not normally
> advise targeting senior corporate officials, but Discover's
> particularly nasty attitude starts at the top, and so should you.
I agree. Definitely write to the guys at the top. They won't likely
respond personally, but someone will.
I had a problem (trivial by comparison), and got nowhere with the folks
I talked to. I wrote to the head honcho at MBNA, and shortly after got
a personal call from some underling who might have been able to do
something (the problem likely lay elsewhere).
At any rate, you have nothing to lose but some postage and an envelope.
And if you get no response or an unsatisfactory response, you can let
us all know!!!!!
Thanks, I think I'll need it. The CEO's address is:
David Nelms, CEO
Discover Financial Services
2500 Lake Cook Road
Deerfield, IL 60015
I've been trying to find his home phone number -- for farther down the
line, if my more conventional methods don't work -- but so far no
success. The pay information services seem to have a few likely
If anyone has that number, I'd sure appreciate an email.