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Rights of Authorized User on a Credit Card

Mark Cappel
UpdatedMay 27, 2009

I would appreciate it if you could give me some information about my rights as an authorized user on a credit card...

I am emailing to you regarding a credit card to which I was added only as an Authorized Buyer by my former husband. In '04 we jointly applied for the mentioned above credit card, however, within 2 weeks received a letter from the credit card services department which stated that they "were not able to open joint accounts in this time..., but instead would add me to this account as an Authorized Buyer only". He was also notified that "he and I, an authorized buyer, would have full purchasing ability and separate cards but it would result in him being solely liable for amounts charged on the account". Prior to our separation, December 2004, I always made payments on time or would pay off completely an outstanding balance. After our separation I have continued using and covering all charges on that credit card. I filed for a divorce by filing Marital Settlement Agreement with court. After it took place my former husband returned home and took a lot of valuable to me and my family items (collectible gold coins,etc). He was caught by my mother doing it, and quite frankly he did not deny anything when I confronted him about it. He promised to return everything to me but never did. In the mean time for the next 4 years I have used and covered in a timely manner all charges to the credit card. However, when I understood that he would not return anything to me, I told to my former husband that I would stop making credit card payments until everything would be returned to me. I gave him additional 6 months to return what he stole from me and my family but this time around like before he disregarded it as well. I have stopped making payments. He filed a claim with the fraud department at the credit card services that he did not have any knowledge about this card (stating that he never opened it) and all charges. And he went to a police to file criminal report that I have been involved into a fraudulent activity. I have presented all information (fortunately, I have had a copy of his credit card application, his initial charges applied to the credit card and finally, letter, which clearly stipulated that I was added to that account as an Authorized Buyer only). Both credit card services and police did not find any fraud and stated that he was the one who was responsible for all these charges. Almost one year later my former husband went to Family Law Court requesting payment of these charges and he won. I am wondering whether there is any law which I could apply in order to protect my rights of an Authorized Buyer or not. I would appreciate if you could provided me with some kind of solution regarding this matter.

Consult with an experienced family lawyer as soon as possible to discuss what action you can take to recover the items your ex-husband stole from you, and to change the family court’s order directing you to pay this credit card’s balance.

Because of this situation’s complexity, and the fact it is the result of a divorce, I recommend you consult with your divorce/family lawyer. Hire one if you do not already have one. I know hiring a lawyer can be expensive, but given the potential costs to you if you let your husband run free with his claims against you, the cost of an lawyer is justified. If you do not already have an attorney, contact your local or state bar association to request a referral.

Since the family court ordered you to pay the credit card balance, the only real recourse I know would be to file a motion with the same court requesting it modify its original order based on the facts you present to the court. If you ignore the court’s original order you pay the debt, your ex-husband may be able to go back to court and ask that the court hold you in contempt of court for violating the order, which could result in sanctions or even jail time if the court thinks you are flagrantly violating its order. Although I know you are not doing so, you probably need to go in front of the court and explain the situation, which will hopefully result in an order in your favor.

Again, consult with an experienced lawyer as soon as possible to discuss this case and determine the best way to proceed. I wish you the best of luck and hope that the information I have provided helps you Find. Learn. Save.




BBill, Jun, 2009
I would think that there could be criminal implications, but honestly he'd have to chat with an attorney to see what the consequences are.
AAmy, Jun, 2009
In this case, I am surprise the husband didn't get in trouble for claiming a false act of fraud. Aren't there supposed to be consequences for claiming fraud when he knew that there wasn't any going on? If so, what is the charge for this type of false claim of fraud?