BJ's Wholesale Club Files Lawsuit Against Beneficial National Bank USA

Sep 26, 1997, 01:00 ET from BJ's Wholesale Club

    NATICK, Mass., Sept. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- BJ's Wholesale Club, Inc.
 (NYSE:   BJ)today announced that it has filed a lawsuit in Massachusetts
 Superior Court seeking, among other things, to prevent Beneficial National
 Bank USA from canceling 12,000 BJ's MasterCard accounts with a September 1997
 expiration date.  Beneficial, the issuer of the BJ's MasterCard, has said that
 it is canceling these accounts of customers with good credit records who paid
 their bills in full and on time for the last year because Beneficial receives
 no finance charges from them.  Beneficial recently began notifying customers
 of these cancellations.
     BJ's lawsuit asserts that Beneficial's actions are a breach of its
 contract with BJ's, and that Beneficial may not cancel the credit cards of any
 credit-worthy BJ's members.  Edward Gillooly, Senior Vice President and
 Director of Marketing commented, "Beneficial never told BJ's when we entered
 into this agreement that our members would be terminated for paying their
 bills on time and in full.  Beneficial admits that their reason for this
 wrongful action is to increase their profits.  That is unacceptable to us."
 He continued, "BJ's first priority is our members and we will continue to
 fight Beneficial's actions."
     Beneficial has informed BJ's that it has already sent termination letters
 to approximately 12,000 of the 260,000 members who hold BJ's MasterCard
 accounts with Beneficial.  Over the coming year, Beneficial says it intends to
 cancel over 30,000 additional members' accounts.  BJ's currently has over four
 million members.
     In addition to filing a lawsuit, BJ's is taking the following steps to
 help its members:
     -- Work to identify the names and addresses of all BJ's MasterCard holders
        so that it can correspond directly with them regarding Beneficial's
        actions and BJ's responses;
     -- Increase staffing at its telephone customer service center
     -- Prepare key in-store managers and staff to explain Beneficial's
        actions and the consequences to affected members;
     -- Establish an in-store registry of customers who make inquiries, even if
        their questions are answered, so that the company can follow up with
        them by mail.
     While BJ's awaits the court's decision, BJ's members still have the most
 payment options of any warehouse club.
     Headquartered in Natick, Massachusetts, BJ's Wholesale Club, Inc. is a
 leading operator of warehouse clubs in the eastern United States, with
 84 clubs in the chain.  In the year ended January 1997, sales totaled
 $2.9 billion.  BJ's common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange
 under the symbol BJ.

SOURCE BJ's Wholesale Club