Synchrony Bank to pay $3.5 million settlement in debtor harassment case – SFBay

Synchrony Bank and the Santa Clara County Attorney’s Office announced a $3.5 million settlement Monday following allegations that the bank made harassing calls to debtors across the state.

The complaint against Synchrony Bank alleged that its agents made an “excessive and unreasonable” number of calls to debtors and, in some cases, continued to call people even after confirming they had called the wrong number.

Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen investigated and prosecuted in conjunction with the California Debt Collection Task Force, an investigative and prosecuting team comprised of Santa Clara Counties district attorneys , San Diego, Los Angeles and Riverside.

Rosen said in a statement:

“Banks must respect the rules of civility and the law when suing consumers for alleged debts. These rules protect consumers from unreasonable and harassing behavior.

The settlement, which does not include an admission of wrongdoing, according to Rosen’s office, includes a $2 million civil penalty and covers $975,000 in investigation costs.

Synchrony will also have to pay $525,000 in restitution to a charitable trust fund that will support other consumer protection investigations and will have to limit the number of calls bank officers make to debtors and honor requests to stop claims. ‘call.

In a statement released by Synchrony, spokesperson Lisa Lanspery said:

“Synchrony is pleased to be the first financial institution to commit to this standard. … Synchrony is always looking to improve its customer service and (help) its customers, especially through our ongoing debt relief programs.

As part of the settlement, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office will receive $500,000. According to Rosen’s office, the money will be used to support the office’s consumer protection efforts.