WASHINGTON (9/20/13)--The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Thursday announced it has ordered Chase Bank USA, N.A. and JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. to refund an estimated $309 million to more than 2.1 million customers for illegal credit card practices.
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) announced earlier in the day that it was executing an enforcement action against the banks for "unsafe or unsound practices in connection with the bank's non-home loan debt collection litigation practices and the bank's non-home loan compliance with the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA)." The CFPB enforcement action is the result of work started by the OCC, which the CFPB joined last year.
The agencies found that Chase engaged in unfair billing practices for certain credit card "add-on products" by charging consumers for credit monitoring services that they did not receive.
"At the core of our mission is a duty to identify and root out unfair, deceptive, and abusive practices in financial markets that harm consumers," said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. "This order takes action against such practices and requires Chase to fully refund more than $300 million to consumers who were charged illegal fees."
According to the CFPB order, Chase enrolled consumers in credit card "add-on" products that promised to monitor customer credit and alert consumers to potentially fraudulent activity. In order for consumers to obtain credit monitoring services, consumers generally must provide written authorization. Chase, however, charged many consumers for these products without or before having the written authorization necessary to perform the monitoring services. Chase charged customers as soon as they enrolled in these products even if they were not actually receiving the services yet.
The agencies found that Chase engaged in these practices between October 2005, when Chase first offered the products, and June 2012, when Chase stopped billing consumers who were not receiving the promised benefits.
Use the resource link to read more on what the CFPB said occurred as a result of unfair billing tactics and to read the terms of the enforcement action.