CFPB Finds Amex Engaged in Illegal Credit Card Practices, Orders $59.5 Million Refund

The CFPB statement is here; Times coverage here. From the Bureau's statement:

Some consumers were led to believe that if they bought the Account Protector product, their minimum monthly payment would be cancelled if they experienced a qualifying life event. In reality, the benefit payment would be limited to 2.5 percent of the consumer’s outstanding balance, up to $500. In many cases, that amount was less than the minimum payment due.

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 Consumers were charged fees as soon as they enrolled in identity protection add-on products, even when American Express or its vendors had not yet obtained the authorization necessary to begin monitoring the consumers’ credit information. American Express did not inform consumers that they needed to complete a second step in the enrollment process to obtain all of the advertised benefits. Approximately 85 percent of consumers who enrolled in the identity protection products paid the full product fee without receiving all of the advertised benefits. In some cases, consumers paid for these services for several years without receiving all of the promised benefits.

* * * The unfair monthly fees that customers were charged sometimes resulted in customers exceeding their credit card account limits. This then led to additional fees for the customers. Some consumers also paid interest charges on the fees for services that were never received.

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