The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) took its first enforcement action today as the government's watchdog agency, penalizing Capital One Financial Corp. for misleading customers to purchase "add-on products," Reuters reported.
Capital One will pay $25 million in penalties to CFPB and $35 million to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. The credit card company was also ordered to reimburse fees totaling between $140 million and $150 million to more than 2 million customers.
The CFPB found that Capital One Bank and its vendors misled customers by offering them products such as payment protection and credit monitoring when they activated their cards.
The bureau alleges that customers either didn't understand what they were getting or were deceived about the benefits of the products, breaking section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act.
"Today's action puts $140 million back in the pockets of 2 million Capital One customers who were pressured or misled into buying credit card products they didn't understand, didn't want, or in some cases, couldn't even use," said Richard Cordary, director of the bureau, in a release. "We are putting companies on notice that these deceptive practices are against the law and will not be tolerated."
Ryan Schneider, president of Capital One's card business, said in a release that the company was sorry for its actions and should be held accountable. He said his company did its best to stop deception when it discovered vendors were not adhering to sales scripts in 2011.
Capital One announced that restitution payments will begin this year.