Thousands of consumers scammed out of their money will get some of it back, thanks to a lawsuit and settlement secured by the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC is mailing 34,859 refund checks to consumers whose bank accounts were debited, allegedly without their consent, by Nevada-based payment processor Automated Electronic Checking Inc. (AEC).
The average amount of redress will be about $25 and will be based on the amount each person lost. A total of more than $870,000 is being returned to consumers. Those who receive the checks from the FTC’s refund administrator should cash them within 60 days of the mailing date. The FTC never requires consumers to pay money or to provide information before refund checks can be cashed. Those with questions should call the refund administrator, Analytics Consulting LLC, at 1-855-529-6824, or visit www.FTC.gov/refunds for more general information.
Using a relatively new payment method called “remotely created payment orders” to give merchants access to consumer bank accounts, AEC debited many consumers who had never heard of AEC or its client merchants, some of whom included online discount shopping clubs and payday loan sites. Under a settlement, AEC was banned from payment processing and required to pay a monetary judgment.
The FTC’s case against AEC is part of efforts by the Consumer Protection Working Group of President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force.
The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics. Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.
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