Credit card refunds on the way

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by Blake Ellis

CNNMoney.com

Attention Discover, American Express and Capital One credit card customers: Don’t be surprised if you see a credit show up on your monthly statement soon.

The three issuers owe a collective $435 million in refunds to nearly 6 million customers as a result of a government crackdown on deceptive credit card practices by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

And refunds should be arriving soon—if they haven’t come already. Most consumers can expect to receive payments from all three issuers by the end of March.

Customers aren’t required to take any action. Instead, current cardholders will automatically receive a credit on their account, and former customers will receive checks in the mail or have any outstanding balance reduced by the refunded amount.

American Express, the CFPB’s most recent target, started doling out refunds in October, an Amex spokeswoman said.

The CFPB ordered the issuer to refund a total of $85 million to about 250,000 customers after finding that American Express subsidiaries imposed higher late fees than allowed to charge and promised customers non-existent rewards.

One was a $300 bonus that many customers never received.

Customers who didn’t receive it will be refunded the $300.

Other refunds depend on the situations.

Capital One said it will send out refunds during the first quarter. It must refund $150 million to two million customers  due to third-party vendors pressuring customers to buy additional products or services when they opened credit cards.

If you believe you’re owed a refund by any of these issuers but don’t receive one, check with the card issuer first. Then contact the CFPB, an agency spokeswoman said.

Capital One said refunds vary based on how long a customer had the product, but it expects the average payment to be under $100.

The CFPB ordered Discover Bank to refund $200 million to more than 3.5 million cardholders who purchased credit protection products over the phone from December 2007 to August 2011.

The CFPB said Discover telemarketers used deceptive language to convince cardholders to pay for products including identity theft protection, credit score tracking, wallet protection, and payment protection. Fees ranged between $2.99 and $9.99 a month for most of the products.

Refunds will be based on the product, when purchased and how long it was held.

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