Printer Friendly

VISA: VISA AND MASTERCARD OBTAIN RESTRAINING ORDER AGAINST NATIONWIDE PYRAMID SCHEME

 SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Visa issued the following today:
 Visa International and MasterCard International have obtained a nationwide temporary restraining order late last week, in Federal District Court, against Platinum Associates Inc. (P.A.I.), an alleged nationwide pyramid sales scheme that infringes on the Visa and MasterCard trademarks. P.A.I. has apparently netted millions of dollars from unwary consumers across the country.
 P.A.I.'s sales pitch promises that by paying a modest fee to join, consumers will receive guaranteed, free MasterCard and/or Visa cards, free life insurance and the opportunity to become millionaires by recruiting others to join P.A.I. The bank card associations said the unauthorized use of the Visa and MasterCard trademarks is a key component of the P.A.I. scheme because the alleged scam focuses on the desirability of credit cards. P.A.I.'s sales pitch calls the bank card component the "sizzle" that sells the product. According to the suit, by purporting to be authorized issuers of MasterCard and Visa cards, P.A.I. is deceiving consumers, leading them to believe that P.A.I. is a legitimate business endorsed and approved by the bank card associations.
 Visa and MasterCard are bank card associations each comprised of member financial institutions that are licensed to use their trademarks. The associations do not issue credit cards; only member financial institutions or their registered agents may issue Visa and MasterCard credit cards. The associations warn that the defendants have misrepresented themselves as being associated with MasterCard or Visa and have made the incredible claim that the associations contributed $3 billion to P.A.I. In fact, neither association -- nor any of their members -- have authorized P.A.I. to solicit cardholders or to use the associations' trademarks or is in any way involved with P.A.I.
 The temporary restraining order is the first step in the legal process to halt P.A.I.'s alleged fraudulent activities. The restraining order prohibits P.A.I., or anyone affiliated with P.A.I., including their distributors or associates, from continuing their program or from using the "Visa" or "MasterCard" trademarks in any way.
 The lawsuit, filed yesterday in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, seeks preliminary and permanent injunctions against P.A.I. and its sponsors, as well as compensatory and punitive damages based on allegations of trademark infringement, unfair and deceptive advertising, unlawful business practices, unfair competition and trademark dilution. In order to protect consumers, member financial institutions and the integrity of the MasterCard and Visa trademarks, the associations are seeking an injunction which will effectively eliminate P.A.I.'s practices.
 In addition to the action taken by Visa and MasterCard, the California Attorney General has filed a lawsuit against P.A.I., charging violations of the California Insurance Code, unfair business practices and the statute outlawing pyramid sales schemes. The defendants have also been ordered to cease and desist their operations in Georgia and South Dakota and are under investigation by law enforcement authorities in a variety of states.
 Because fraudulent operations such as P.A.I sometimes use the MasterCard and Visa marks to appear legitimate, the associations continually warn consumers about card offers that appear "too good to be true." Consumers should note that according to both Visa and MasterCard regulations, bank card solicitations must contain the name of the financial institution offering the card.
 -0- 12/21/92
 /CONTACT: Albert Coscia of Visa U.S.A., 415-570-2039; or Julia Moretti of MasterCard, 212-649-5564/


CO: Visa International; MasterCard International ST: California IN: FIN SU:

GT-SG -- SF001 -- 8619 12/21/92 09:05 EST
COPYRIGHT 1992 PR Newswire Association LLC
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Dec 21, 1992
Words:608
Previous Article:THE PRICE COMPANY ANNOUNCES A $14.35 MILLION REAL ESTATE TRANSACTION
Next Article:JAY PERKINS ASSOCIATES HOPES TO TURN BEER BY-PRODUCT INTO GOLD; FLAVOR ENHANCEMENT SOLIDS PROVES TO BE REPLACEMENT FOR MSG
Topics:


Related Articles
Plastic payments: trends in credit card fraud.
RETAILERS WIN ROUND WITH VISA/MC.
LAWSUIT TARGETS CREDIT NETWORKS; COMPETITION BARRIERS CITED.
The U.S. Supreme Court last week refused to stop a multibillion-dollar class-action lawsuit against Visa U.S.A. Inc. and MasterCard International...
VisaCheck/MasterMoney antitrust trial begins today in Brooklyn, NY.
VisaCheck/MasterMoney Antitrust Trial Begins Today in Brooklyn, NY; Statement from Merchants' Counsel.
VISA, MasterCard and Major U.S. Banks Charged With Antitrust Violations for Fixing Credit Card Interchange Fees; Merchants Seek Remedy to Stop...
Retailers Welcome Grocer/Drug Store Lawsuit on Interchange.
Merchant Advisory on Merchant Rights Under the Settlement.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2016 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters