As I have said, the behavior (driven by the poor ethical standards of the “leaders” of our financial institution) of our financial institutions means, as a a customer, you have to be on guard for their tactics to trick you out of your money. Essentially you have to expect them to behave like a pickpockets and be on guard against them at all times. This is an extremely sad state of affairs: that the ethical failings of such critically important players in our economy are so widespread, long-lasting and accepted. However, as we have seen, they profit from this behavior and their long track record of such behavior provides evidence they will continue acting in this way.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. found that Discover Financial Services telemarketers often talked faster when explaining fees and terms as they pitched the services, leading customers to think there was no additional fee, the regulators said Monday.
It is very good to see the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau taking action to protect the consumers from the financial institutions continued efforts to evade the law and take a little bit from millions of consumers. This type of behavior has been tolerated previously, and should never have been. The financial institutions strategy to take small amounts from millions of people was a wise way of dealing with the tendency of law enforcement to ignore such “small infractions” – they didn’t seem to bother seeing that taking small amounts from millions of people results in hundreds of millions of dollars in ill gotten gains.
Far too much of the bad practices are continuing. And when they are caught the consequences are far too small (which is why they keep behaving unethically). Discover is only being charged $14 million in civil penalties for their lapses (and has to return $200 million it took unfairly).
It is good to have police to try and catch literal pickpockets. And it is good to have the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to catch financial institutions that take far more than pickpockets can dream of away from the wallets of consumers.
Related: Capital One Bank Agrees to Refund $150 Million to 2 Million Customers and Pay $60 Million in Fines – Very Bad Customer Service from Discover Card – Credit Card Regulation Has Reduced Abuse By Banks – Continued Credit Card Company Customer Dis-Service – I Strongly Support the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
It will take much more than this small, good step, to catch and reserve their bad behavior, before they will modify their ethical compasses or be replaced by those that treat customers honestly (as the costs of the un-ethical behavior are too much too tolerate). Undoubtably the ethically challenged “leaders” will attempt to pay politicians enough cash to stop enforcement of the laws and get even more lax laws then they have already paid for.
As I have stated before you can’t count on the system providing trust-worth financial institution that behave with integrity. If you don’t want to be ripped off you have to assume your financial institution is going to try everything they can to trick you out of your money and think of them as you would someone you see picking the pockets of others all around you. If you are nice, ethical and have a desire to help you might try to stop the pick-pocket (you might even tell the police to stop this person that is taking others money). At the very least you will be very protective anytime you are close to the pick-pocket.