An investigation by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has ended with Capital One facing refunds and fines.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau charged Capital One with pressuring and misleading customers. The CFPB felt that Capital One had pressured some of their credit card customers into buying additional add-on services. The CFPB found that Capital One had led customers to believe that these products would improve their credit scores, or had misled customers about the cost of the add-on services. In some cases, costumers were enrolled without their consent.
According to CNNMoney, the CFPB has ordered Capital One to refund effected customers and pay a $35 million penalty to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency plus an additional $25 million penalty to the CFPB. Customers who enrolled in the payment protection or credit monitoring add-on programs on or before August 1, 2010 will be refunded for the amount they paid for the service plus any finance charges or interest paid.
In total, Capital One will issue over $140 million in refunds to customers. I'll be one of the many customers receiving a refund soon. I signed up with Capital One in 2009. At the time I signed up, I agreed to monthly credit monitoring through the phone sales agent. The monthly credit monitoring showed my credit scores on my monthly bill - and came with a fee.
Early in 2010, I contacted Capital One to cancel the add-on service. After a lengthy phone discussion with the telesales operated I was told the service would no longer appear on my account. Then I was charged again - and then again the next month. In total, it took three months to remove the add-on credit monitoring service. I also paid for the service for over a year.
Ultimately, I didn't feel that the credit monitoring had any real benefit to me and I'm glad to be receiving a refund for something I didn't really want in the first place, but I still plan on using Capital One's credit card services.
I've had a good relationship with Capital One overall. My bills always arrive on time and are mostly accurate. The one time I did find an error in my statement, it was quickly removed. And I appreciate that Capital One reports my credit history to the major credit bureaus promptly each month. While I do feel like I was duped, I don't plan on canceling my credit card either.
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