Bank Settles Collection Call Lawsuit for $3.5M

A coalition of District Attorneys from across the state of California have reached a settlement with Synchrony Bank that will see the creditor pay $3.5 million in fines and restitution after it was sued for making “unreasonably frequent and harassing” phone calls to individuals in California attempting to collect on unpaid debts.

The company will pay a civil money penalty of $2 million, cover $975,000 in investigative costs, and put $525,000 into a charitable trust fund to support consumer protection efforts. The trust fund is being used because it was not feasible to determine restitution for specific individuals who may have been allegedly harmed by the creditor’s actions. The company is also required to implement and maintain policies and procedures intended to prevent “unreasonable and harassing” debt collection calls to Californians, including limiting the number of calls that are made to each individual and honoring requests to stop calling.

“Banks must play by the rules of civility and law when they pursue consumers for alleged debts,” said Jeff Rosen, the District Attorney of Santa Clara County, Calif., in a statement. “These rules protect consumers against unreasonable and harassing behavior.”

In some cases, the bank continued to call phone numbers even after being notified that the number they were using to try and get in touch with an individual was a wrong number.

The company did not admit any wrongdoing under the terms of the settlement.

The investigation and prosecution of the case was handled by the California Debt Collection Task Force, a statewide law enforcement team that includes representatives from the District Attorney’s offices in Santa Clara, San Diego, Los Angeles, and Riverside counties.

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