NEW YORK (AP) — A company that promised customers free credit scores has agreed to pay $22 million to settle charges that it billed customers for monthly credit monitoring that they did not sign up for.
Most of the money, about $21.9 million, will be used for customer refunds. The settlement was made with the Federal Trade Commission and attorneys general in Illinois and Ohio.
The FTC said that Dallas-based One Technologies LP, and two related companies, ran at least 50 websites that advertised free credit scores, including FreeScore360.com, FreeScoreOnline.com and ScoreSense.com. The FTC said that after customers signed up for a free credit score, the company asked for credit card numbers to verify their identity. Customers would then get charged $29.95 per month for a credit monitoring program.
Customers had to make repeated calls to cancel the program or get a refund, the government agency said. More than 200,000 customers complained to their banks, credit card companies, law enforcement agencies and the Better Business Bureau, the FTC said.
As part of the settlement, One Technologies has agreed to disclose clearly that customers will be charged for its credit monitoring program.
One Technologies said the changes have already been made and that the settlement will not interrupt its service or effect its growth.
"Our intention was always to sign up only those customers who wanted our product and were aware of its benefits," said Fred Loeber, a senior vice president at One Technologies, in a printed statement. "We always believed that we complied with the law."