Citibank fined $700M; owes money to customers

Citibank fined $700M; owes money to customers

(WWBT) - A major consumer alert if you have a credit card with Citibank: the company may owe you some money.  The feds are ordering Citibank to pay $700 million to customers for illegal and deceptive credit card practices.

There's no telling right now how many Virginians were affected, but according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, nearly nine million people across the country are now owed money.

When you sign up for a credit card, including identity protection or a credit monitoring feature seems like a good idea. That's what Citibank offered to millions of customers.  But now, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says Citbank's tactics were illegal, and it will pay these people back.

There were numerous concerns, including: Citi reps allegedly told consumers there were 30-day free trials for some add-ons, but that wasn't true and telemarketers also sold them fraud and identity theft protection when Citi wasn't performing such services at all. In the end, customers paid for it.

"Really, just be aware," says Terrance Banks with Clearpoint Financial Solutions.  He adds that consumers need to be vigilant and check for those fees diligently.

"People may not be aware the first two months. It may not show up for the third or fourth month or six months down the line. Many people don't read those statements themselves, and see those fees that come about," he said.

Banks says never be afraid to call your credit card company and ask for a manager.

If you were a victim, you actually don't need to do anything. The Consumer Protection Financial Bureau says Citibank is supposed to contact you.  Citibank says it stopped the illegal practices two years ago and is in the process of issuing refunds.  Citibank will also pay a $70 million fine.

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