A new lawsuit filed by the CFPB alleges that a Texas-based company, Union Workers Credit Services, deceived consumers into paying fees to sign up for a “platinum card” that purported to be a general-use credit card but, in actuality, could only be used to buy products from the company.  The CFPB’s complaint, filed in a Texas federal district court, seeks restitution for victims, a civil penalty, and an injunction against the company.

The complaint alleges that the company engaged in deceptive conduct in violation of the CFPA prohibition of unfair, deceptive or abusive acts or practices by representing, expressly or impliedly, in its advertising and marketing that consumers would receive a general-use credit card if they enrolled and paid the membership fee.  The CFPB claims the company also engaged in deceptive conduct by falsely advertising an affiliation with labor unions.  According to the complaint, the company’s website contained a banner that included images of police, firefighters, and medical workers and its online application form sought information on applicants’ union affiliation and allowed them to select their union membership from a drop-down list.

The complaint also alleges that the company used consumer reports in violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act and Regulation V.  According to the complaint, the company sent direct-mail prescreened credit offers that did not include the requisite prescreen opt out notice.