Bell v. May Department Stores Co.
Missouri Supreme Court
6 S.W.3d 871 (1999)
John Bell (plaintiff) had a credit card with May Dept. Stores Co. (defendant) for 22 years. Bell bought a ceiling fan from May that proved to be defective. Three months later, Bell informed May several times that the fan was defective. May told Bell several times that it would replace the fan and would not report Bell to any credit agencies if he did not pay for it. The dispute went on for months, and although May told Bell not to worry, Bell’s credit card kept racking up fees and derogatory reports because May used a computer system to run its credit card accounts. Despite May’s assurances and Bell’s repeated attempts to get the situation taken care of, May cancelled Bell’s credit card, erased his entire 22 year history of paying his May card on time, and sent derogatory notices to the credit agencies. Thus, when Bell applied for a new credit card, he was rejected even though his history had been perfect but for the defective-fan dispute. Bell sued May for intentionally interfering with his credit expectancy under the Truth in Lending Act. The court granted summary judgment in May’s favor. Bell appealed to the Missouri Supreme Court.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (White, J.)
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