US consumer watchdog The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has ordered GE Capital Retail Bank to pay a total of $225 million in relief to consumers harmed by GE credit card practices that were deemed to be illegal, deceptive and/or discriminatory.
GE Capital Retail Bank is General Electric’s retail credit card business.
According to the feds, this is the largest credit card discrimination settlement in U.S. history.
Under the order, GE Capital Retail Bank — which changed its name to Synchrony Bank in early June — must refund $56 million to 638,000 consumers whom CFPB said were mislead about add-on products, such as debt cancellation services.
Card-holders were encouraged to add these products to their credit card accounts without first being fully informed that they would cost money, according to CFPB.
GE Capital telemarketers were found by the Bureau to have misrepresented these products to consumers in several ways, such as failing to disclose to consumers that they were making a purchase when taking advantage of certain offers.
In a related – and much larger – fine, GE Capital was ordered to pay another $169 million for denying debt relief to around 108,000 consumers on a discriminatory basis. According to CFPB, these customers were denied these services because they asked to receive communications in Spanish.
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