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Bank of America Corp. will refund approximately $727 million to customers in addition to paying another $45 million in fines to federal regulators in compensation for deceptive marketing and credit practices.
The Los Angeles Times reports that the refunds will go to as many as 2.9 million people affected by the deceptive practices, who were improperly billed for programs like identity protection and credit monitoring that they did not receive.
The action was part of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's recent crackdown on questionable marketing and billing practices by credit card companies that deceive customers using so-called add-on products.
According to the New York Times, other controversial practices included telemarketers telling customers that the first 30 days were free when they were actually charged, and leading customers to believe they were agreeing to merely receive information about add-ons when they were actually enrolling in these extra programs.
“Bank of America both deceived consumers and unfairly billed consumers for services not performed,” said Richard Cordray, the director of the CFPB. “We will not tolerate such practices and will continue to be vigilant in our pursuit of companies who wrong consumers in this market.”
According to the CFPB, these illegal billing practices went on from 2000 to 2011 and affected 1.9 million customers.