Bank of America charges accountholders $12.99 a month for "privacy source credit monitoring" though customers don't want it, didn't ask for it, and were not told about it, according to a federal class action.
In the suit, plaintiff Robert Long of Dallas says that in March 2011, he noticed a $12.99 charge from Privacy Source on his monthly bank statement. He checked previous statements and found he had also been charged in January and February.
He asked Bank of America what the charge was for and was told that it was for a privacy monitoring service and that he would have to contact Privacy Source to inquire about a refund, the suit alleges.
Through further research, Long says he discovered that Privacy Source is owned by Bank of America, a fact no one had bothered to reveal.
Privacy Source uses electronic funds transfer (EFT) to take its monthly $12.99 subscription fee from customers' accounts, but Long's suit charges that many of those "customers" may not be aware they are being charged for a service they don't realize they have.
Long says Privacy Source operates call centers that "aggressively" sell the service and that it does not adequately monitor its telemarketers as they try to meet their daily sales quotas.
When customers try to cancel, those same telemarketers use high-pressure tactics to dissuade them, Long charges.
In the suit, Long says that Bank of America refused to give him a full refund even though it could not produce any evidence that he had ever ordered the service.
Long charges that Bank of America shared his private information with Privacy Source without his authorization or knowledge and seeks class action status on behalf of all Bank of America customers similarly affected.