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AA potentially closing accounts due to credit card churning/churn

AA potentially closing accounts due to credit card churning/churn

Old Jan 4, 20, 11:27 am
  #751  
 
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Even if a judge finds some merit on the letter of the regulation, any plaintiffs will lose on the spirit of the regulation. Keep churning the card for the bonus is very transparent.

Last edited by nk15; Jan 4, 20 at 11:38 am
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Old Jan 4, 20, 11:43 am
  #752  
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Originally Posted by VegasGambler View Post
You can file a DOT complaint for free. Going to court without doing so first seems foolish. If the DOT rules in your favor, you win, at no cost to you and minimal effort

If the DOT rules against you, you can file in small claims court for a minimal fee. The DOT even has instructions and tips on their site about how to do it! The problem that you mention (the case not being worth pursuing due to high costs relative to the value of the claim) is exactly why small claims court exists.
DOT does not "rule" for or against a consumer on a complaint. It forwards the complaint to the carrier and requires a response. That is all.

DOT also tracks the metrics and may choose to investigate when it sees a spike in an area where it has some interest. Hasn't been the case for FFP's, but things might change.

DOT might then choose to find a violation and either propose a resolution to AA or sue AA under various legal authorities. That is even less likely than the above.

I am willing to bet that DOT would look at the equities here and figure that its very limited enforcement resources are better spent elsewhere.

Doesn't mean that one should not file a complaint as it is both free and an online form, but nobody ought to think that it is some form of quasi-court where the consumer gets a "ruling."
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Old Jan 4, 20, 1:24 pm
  #753  
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Originally Posted by Global321 View Post
Corporations can be - and in virtually all cases are - represented by a lawyer in small claims court, even in California.
Just because I really am a lawyer, and because I know the answer, I will note that you are mistaken. The statute prohibits lawyers appearing in small claims except in very narrow circumstances (like where a law firm is being sued). Corporations send other people to these types of cases and then, if they lose, and if they care, they file an appeal to the Superior Court and then an attorney CAN appear.

[A little while ago, when I was a freshman in college (so about 45 years), I sued the phone company in small claims for $3. The judge wouldn't even let their representative talk because he was annoyed that the phone company wasn't paying $3. But it turns out that they really cared, because it was a big issue (relating to whether they needed to list college students in the phone book, which the law said they needed to do). So they appealed and two months later we had a real trial in Superior Court and they had an attorney. But after the judge read my 2 page letter, 10 minutes into the case he told their attorney to stop asking questions because they were wrong and I was right, so he ruled in my favor. I got my $3 (plus some costs). A few months later we presented claims from a bunch of UCLA students for about $25 each (maybe 100 of them??), and they were all paid. And there was a news story that they had paid over $15,000 to students at another school in California based on the precedent of my case.]
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Old Jan 4, 20, 1:25 pm
  #754  
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Originally Posted by beachfan View Post
In California, the attorney must be an employee of the company being sued , cannot hire outside counsel
Nope, not even then (unless it is a law firm or something like that).
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Old Jan 4, 20, 1:54 pm
  #755  
 
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Originally Posted by sbrower View Post
[A little while ago, when I was a freshman in college (so about 45 years), I sued the phone company in small claims for $3. [i]The judge wouldn't even let their representative talk because he was annoyed that the phone company wasn't paying $3. But it turns out that they really cared, because it was a big issue (relating to whether they needed to list college students in the phone book, which the law said they needed to do). So they appealed and two months later we had a real trial in Superior Court and they had an attorney. But after the judge read my 2 page letter, 10 minutes into the case he told their attorney to stop asking questions because they were wrong and I was right, so he ruled in my favor. I got my $3 (plus some costs). A few months later we presented claims from a bunch of UCLA students for about $25 each (maybe 100 of them??), and they were all paid. And there was a news story that they had paid over $15,000 to students at another school in California based on the precedent of my case.]
LOL...this is awesome. Now, kind of regret that SE Asian carrier relented, since the small claims experience may have been something I've missed out on, and have to put on my "to do" list.
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Old Jan 4, 20, 2:39 pm
  #756  
 
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I think the churners should take their case to Judge Judy, this will be a great episode to watch, lol, there will be a lot of smirking, laughing, and “ridiculous!” and “goodbye!” exclamations, lol...
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Old Jan 4, 20, 5:53 pm
  #757  
 
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Originally Posted by sbrower View Post
Just because I really am a lawyer, and because I know the answer, I will note that you are mistaken. The statute prohibits lawyers appearing in small claims except in very narrow circumstances (like where a law firm is being sued). Corporations send other people to these types of cases and then, if they lose, and if they care, they file an appeal to the Superior Court and then an attorney CAN appear.
This must be dependent on the jurisdiction. In the District of Columbia, for example, corporations must have legal counsel, even in small claims court. See https://www.dccourts.gov/services/ci...ng-10k-or-less.
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Old Jan 4, 20, 7:05 pm
  #758  
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Originally Posted by USFlyerUS View Post
This must be dependent on the jurisdiction. In the District of Columbia, for example, corporations must have legal counsel, even in small claims court. See https://www.dccourts.gov/services/ci...ng-10k-or-less.
The post was in response to an issue raised about California.

Indeed, SCC's are state courts and entirely dependent on state (and sometimes county or municipal) law.

The point from the exchange quoted is that corporations in CA are represented by an employee of the corproation, who need not be a lawyer. This cuts in AA's favor. If sued in a CA SCC, AA can send a low-level paralegal if it chooses.
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Old Jan 4, 20, 8:26 pm
  #759  
 
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Originally Posted by sbrower View Post
Just because I really am a lawyer, and because I know the answer, I will note that you are mistaken. The statute prohibits lawyers appearing in small claims except in very narrow circumstances (like where a law firm is being sued). Corporations send other people to these types of cases and then, if they lose, and if they care, they file an appeal to the Superior Court and then an attorney CAN appear...
Thanks for this.
(Deleted my incorrect information.)
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Old Jan 4, 20, 8:41 pm
  #760  
 
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Originally Posted by nk15 View Post
I think the churners should take their case to Judge Judy, this will be a great episode to watch, lol, there will be a lot of smirking, laughing, and “ridiculous!” and “goodbye!” exclamations, lol...
Dude, this would be awesome! I'd go on it! And, I've never watched Judge J, and only know of her by reputation.

Here's how it would play out:

Me - Your H, AAL unfairly confiscated my miles when I've violated no laws or anything in their T&C.
AA - We can do whatever we want and define perk abuse however we'd like.
JJ - Mr. V, did you engage in perk abuse?
Me - No, your H. Matter fact, I only did what they and their Partner wanted me to do. Apply for their credit cards.
JJ - AA, how do you define perk abuse?
AA non-lawyer employee (does it count if an exec went to law school but just not licensed?) hands over 8 CC applications within a span of 12 months.
JJ - Mr. V, you applied for 8 credit cards in 12 months? And, you closed them all before paying the fee?
Me - Yes, it's what they wanted me to do.
JJ - I suppose this is where Judge goes off, but I've never watched so can only imagine it.

Never been to small claims court, but that seem about the gist of it? Of course, a funnier episode would be the mailers triggered by the pet turtle, blender and assorted cannabis house plants.
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Old Jan 4, 20, 9:12 pm
  #761  
 
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At this point I'd like to point out that my account has not been locked or closed and no miles have been confiscated. Therefore, I currently have no plans to file any DOT complaints or to sue anyone.

I did a moderate amount of low level churning. About 400k miles over 6 cards in about 8 months. SUBs, courtesy miles from Citi in addition to the SUB (ask and ye shall receive), and of course miles from actual purchases. I never bought or sold any mailers or mailer codes or miles.

I haven't actually flown AA in well over a year because, well, the airline is a tire fire. I do plan to use my miles for partner redemptions. Coincidentally I am also about to receive EXP status (courtesy of Hyatt) but even that won't get my business. I will probably fly them on exactly 4 segments to use my SWUs.

I have one freind who did about the same level of churning I did; maybe slightly more. He also did not get locked. That's all the trustworthy data that I have.

I understand that the individual reviews take a long time, but I don't understand why AA would not have already locked everyone who they were going to lock. The signup bonuses post as line items with a different description from anything else; to pull up a list of everyone who (for example) has more than N signup bonuses within the past year should be trivial.
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Old Jan 5, 20, 2:52 am
  #762  
 
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Originally Posted by VegasGambler View Post
I did a moderate amount of low level churning. About 400k miles over 6 cards in about 8 months. SUBs, courtesy miles from Citi in addition to the SUB (ask and ye shall receive), and of course miles from actual purchases.
Thanks for sharing the details. If you did not buy or sell codes/mailers then did you generate codes/mailers via creation of a “family” account or did someone just five them to you? Did you need to change/delete any prepopulated fields (name, etc) in order to get your name/Aadvantage account signed up and bonused?
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Old Jan 5, 20, 3:16 am
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Originally Posted by stephem View Post
Thanks for sharing the details. If you did not buy or sell codes/mailers then did you generate codes/mailers via creation of a “family” account or did someone just five them to you? Did you need to change/delete any prepopulated fields (name, etc) in order to get your name/Aadvantage account signed up and bonused?
It was a combination. Although I did not purchase any mailers, I did have some given to me (for free) by people who had no interest in opening the card. I'm aware that some people were selling the codes (eg, on Reddit) but I never participated in that.

Yes, I did change the prepopulated fields on the Citi landing page. Citi allows that change for these particular mailers (and not for others) so it's safe to assume that they are ok with it in this particular case (ie, changing the fields did not involve any hacking or anything shady -- they simply present the fields to you and you free to modify then as you see fit). Citi clearly has the ability to prevent these changes (as they do for the other mailers) -- they choose not to for these mailers. That may well be a poor decision on their part, but it's their decision to make.

After entering my correct personal information, Citi then chose to allow me to open the credit cards, and gave me the bonuses when I spent the agreed-upon amount of money. Several times, when messaging or calling customer service to request additional miles as well, they would give them to me as a customer service gesture (generally, 15k extra miles on each new card). I never lied or misled them during these interactions -- I simply said that I had heard that there were offers with higher sign-up bonuses (which is true -- I did hear that) and they would offer me 15k extra miles as a "match" or "customer service gesture".

The key here (in my mind) is that I never acted fraudulently. Everything I ever told any Citi representative, or entered on any Citi web page, was 100% truthful. Citi had complete and correct information at all times, when choosing to extend credit to me, and when choosing to grant me the miles. If they made poor business decisions, that is their fault -- it was not through any misleading action on my part.
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Old Jan 5, 20, 3:39 am
  #764  
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Originally Posted by VegasGambler View Post
It was a combination. Although I did not purchase any mailers, I did have some given to me (for free) by people who had no interest in opening the card. I'm aware that some people were selling the codes (eg, on Reddit) but I never participated in that.
I don't see how they were obtained - paid vs free - makes any difference
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Old Jan 5, 20, 4:12 am
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Originally Posted by Dave Noble View Post
I don't see how they were obtained - paid vs free - makes any difference
Neither do I, but people have talked about buying mailers.

In any case, Citi chose not to make these mailers non-transferable, as their other mailers are. I'm not sure why they made that choice, but they did.
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