On April 13, 2016, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (the “OCC”) assessed a $35 million dollar penalty against a national bank for billing practices alleged to be unfair and deceptive in violation of Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act.
The penalty was assessed in connection with a credit protection add-on service the bank offered between January 2004 and May 2012. Customers enrolled in the product were at various times unable to access the credit monitoring services for a number of reasons, including that the customers were required to provide sufficient personal verification information and consent in order to receive credit monitoring services. The OCC claims that the bank continued to charge these customers fees even though they were not receiving credit monitoring services.
In addition to the penalty, the OCC also ordered restitution to effected customers and that the bank enhance its compliance efforts. The bank must reimburse customers for fees or finance charges paid during anytime they were enrolled in the credit protection service but were not receiving the service.