• August 11, 2010

[UPDATE: ML Readers will recall this case in which Gander Mountain took issue with a credit card vendor that allegedly refuses to pay an agreed-upon card-holder “bounty” for customers who are unprofitable for the card company (i.e., they pay off their card balances, incurring no penalties and paying no interest).  Now World Financial Network National Bank has come back swinging with a counterclaim based on Gander Mountain’s failure to file their complaint under seal when it included confidential information that was picked up by the Star Tribune…]

Gander Mountain, purveyor of hunting, fishing, and outdoor gear, is in a spat with the bank with whom it entered into an agreement for store-branded credit cards.  Gander Mountain has filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court (D. Minn. (Montgomery, J.)) alleging that the bank would prefer not to issue cards to Gander Mountain customers with excellent credit (that is, a “FICO score” over 800 (scale is from 300-850)).

The bank, World Financial, is alleged to have said that “it was not achieving a satisfactory economic benefit through the contractual arrangement because it was not earning profit on those accountholders who have an 800 or greater FICO credit score.”  Gander Mountain sues for breach of contract and for injunctive relief.

The complaint alleges (concedes?), “World Financial was required [(allowed to?)] to grant or deny requests for credit based upon its own established criteria.”  How Gander Mountain will prove up damages, if it gets that far, may be a complex question.  The bank is presumably acting rationally when it effectively turns away these customers; that is, one can assume that they are money-losers from the credit-card perspective.  But maybe the case will be resolved before that issues needs to be resolved.  A bank rejecting customers for being too responsible or too rich is presumably not great P.R.

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