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Barker v. American Express Co.

United States District Court, N.D. California

September 7, 2017

KENNETH BARKER, Plaintiff,
v.
AMERICAN EXPRESS COMPANY, Defendant.

          ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          WILLIAM ALSUP, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         INTRODUCTION

         In this pro se action arising out of an allegedly fraudulent credit card scheme, the corporate defendant moved for summary judgment. For the reasons stated below, the motion is Granted.

         STATEMENT

         Pro se plaintiff Kenneth Barker opened an American Express Platinum credit card account in May 2016. He signed up for this account based on the representation that he would receive one hundred thousand membership rewards program points if he spent three thousand dollars within three months of opening the account. Barker spent $3, 694.12 in the three-month period, which purchases included $3, 000.00 worth of gift cards, and the membership fee for the credit card. He paid this balance on schedule with no penalties and received the promised one hundred thousand points in July 2016 (Compl. ¶ 9; Exh. 1).

         In August 2016, however, Barker received a letter from American Express Account Services notifying him that they were removing the one hundred thousand points after noticing “point accrual redemption activity on [Barker's] account that indicate[d] an effort to obtain and use points in a manner that [was] not appropriate.” The letter cited the membership rewards program's terms and conditions that stated (Compl. Exh. 2):

[I]f you attempt to use or obtain points in a fraudulent way, we may:
• Take away all points in your program account,
• Cancel your program account, or
• Cancel any of your American Express Cards

Barker attempted to resolve the matter over the phone soon after receiving the letter. In his phone conversation, he allegedly learned that American Express Company (“AEC”) was unable to support its conclusions that he inappropriately and fraudulently accrued membership points.[*]

         Barker alleges that AEC reported that he had committed credit card fraud to “industry wide credit bureaus” knowing these reports were false and damaging (Compl. ¶ 11). To support the allegation, Barker cites his account statement, which says (Compl., Exh. 1 at 3):

Credit Reporting:
We may report information about your account to credit bureaus. Late payments, missed payments, or other defaults on your Account may ...

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