Banks, card companies to begin issuing refunds to consumers

Bill Hardekopf

American consumers will see more than $425 million in refunds in the coming weeks as a result of recent regulatory action against deceptive and abusive credit card practices.

The CFPB ordered three credit card companies, including American Express, Capital One and Discover, to return a total $425 million to consumers as a penalty for using misleading sales tactics, NewsObserver reports.

“We think this is definitely a case of enforcement getting better,” Bill Hardekopf, the CEO of credit card comparison site, said, according to NewsObserver. “[The CFPB] is establishing the fact that they mean business. Their ‘calling’ is to look after consumers, and they are trying to show that they will do just that.”

Bank of America is also set to return another $410 million to consumers for charging excessive debit card fees.

Bank of America and the card companies are required to contact consumers whose refunds will be deposited into an existing account. If the customer is not a current customer, they will be mailed a refund check, NewsObserver reports.

The refund checks, however, could be easily overlooked as junk mail. Bank of America’s refund check comes as a small, white card with a barcode on the front. “Rust Consulting Inc.,” identified as the “Checking Account Overdraft Administrator,” is the seemingly unrelated return address listed on the card. The check is also void within 180 days.

Payments are expected to be issued beginning in 2013 and to be completely distributed by mid-February, according to NewsObserver.

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