The new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced its first enforcement action today, with Capital One Bank paying $210 million to settle charges that it deceived credit card customers into buying services like payment protection and credit monitoring.
The CFPB, set up by the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, said in a statement that Capital One call-center workers told customers the products were free, misled them about the benefits and let people think the services were required to hold a card.
Capital One will refund about $150 million to more than two million customers. It will pay penalties of $60 million.
Affected consumers either initially enrolled in a product on or after August 1, 2010, or tried to cancel a product on or after August 1, 2010, but were persuaded to keep the product after speaking with a call-center representative.
If the consumers are still Capital One customers, they will receive a credit to their accounts. If they are no longer a Capital One credit card holder, they will get a check in the mail.
Consumers are not required to take any action to receive their credit or check.
"We are accountable for the actions that vendors take on our behalf," Ryan Schneider, president of Capital One's card business, said in a statement. "These marketing calls were inconsistent with the explicit instructions we provided to agents for how these products should be sold. We apologize to those customers who were impacted and we are committed to making it right."
If customers believe they have been left out of the settlement they should contact Capital One. Customers with additional complaints about this or any other issue regarding their bank can fill out this form.