CFPB Inks $1.4M Illegal Fees Deal With Payment Processor

By Erica Teichert (October 3, 2013, 4:00 PM EDT) -- The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and a major debt-settlement payment processor agreed on Thursday to settle allegations that the company helped collect more than $11 million in illegal upfront fees from debt settlement customers with a nearly $1.4 million penalty.

Meracord LLC allegedly charged more than 11,000 consumers upfront fees since 2010, a practice that is illegal under the Telemarketing Sales Act because customers aren't guaranteed any actual debt settlement relief when they pay. CFPB alleged that 5,000 of Meracord's customers who were charged the unlawful fees did not have any of their debts settled.

"Although Meracord itself is not a...

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