According to CNNMoney, three credit card issuers - Capital One, American Express, and Discover - will be issuing refunds to current and former customers soon. For example, American Express was ordered by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to refund $85 million to about 250,000 customers. Capital One was ordered to refund $150 million to two million customers. All of these refunds will go out by March.
All three refunds came after the CFPB found that the credit card issuers were misleading customers. For example, CNNMoney says that one American Express program advertised a $300 bonus that customers never received.
Hearing that the major credit card companies are in the process of trying to undo a wrong (however forcibly) is a good thing, but these refunds are often measly amounts. I was recently part of another lawsuit against Bank of America. I signed up over two years ago and had almost forgotten about the whole thing when I received a check in the mail. After court and attorney fees, my check was for $2.10. And while I'd like to say that money is always a good thing, $2.10 won't cover the gas it will take me to drive to the bank and deposit a paper check.
I'm also a former Capital One customer and am included in the list of people receiving a refund by March, but I'm not expecting some big payout. Customers who were enrolled in Capital One's somewhat misleading payment protection or credit monitoring program are receiving a refund plus a refund for any additional fees they incurred while using the program. That is good news, but Capital One says that the average refund will be under $100, according to CNNMoney.
When I think of all the time and hassle I went through dealing with Capital One's credit protection program, a double-digit refund amount doesn't seem like enough compensation for me. I was signed up over the phone when I called in with another program, and then had to call five separate times over the course of two months to be taken off the participation list. I also paid a monthly fee out of pocket for the service.
The bottom line - I like that there is an organization watching out for consumers and making sure financial service providers treat us fairly, but these refunds just don't do it for me.
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