Question: May a consumer challenge a credit card agreement as "unconscionable" under the Consumer Legal Remedies Act?

Answer: No, according to the Fourth District court of appeal in Ball v. FleetBoston Financial Corporation (G038894), decided June 5, 2008.

There, a consumer challenged a bank's credit card agreement as being substantively unconscionable because of its requirements for binding arbitration, its prohibitions on class arbitration, and its provision allowing the bank to unilaterally modify the agreement's terms. Following its earlier decision in Barry v. American Express Publishing, Inc. (2007) 147 Cal.App.4th 224, the court held that such claims, as applied to a credit card agreement, were not subject to the Act, i.e., "the extension of credit, such as issuing a credit card, separate and apart from the sale or lease of any specific goods or services, does not fall within the scope of CLRA."