Synchrony Bank Debt Collection Practices Investigation

You may not have heard of Synchrony Bank, but you’ve certainly heard of the companies for which it issues and services credit cards: Walmart, Amazon, JCPenney, PayPal, Lowe’s, and many others. Formerly a subsidiary of GE Capital, it’s the largest provider of private-label credit cards in the US.

Does Synchrony treat its customers properly when it collects what customers owe on those credit cards? That’s what we’re currently investigating.

In 2014, the bank was forced to refund $225 million to credit card customers in a case brought by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) that made two allegations.

First, the CFPB claimed that the company deceptively marketed its Debt Cancellation add-on to its credit card services. The insurance-like feature supposedly wiped out the credit card balance in the case of certain hardship conditions, but the CFPB alleged that the company marketed the feature to people who they knew were ineligible for it and didn’t always tell cardholders they were paying for it.

Second, the CFPB alleged that the company engaged in discrimination, because it made debt relief offers to people having difficulty paying their credit card bills, but did not include these offers in materials published in Spanish or sent to addresses in Puerto Rico.

Also, at least four lawsuits have been filed between 2014 and 2016 claiming that the company violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).

Why four? Wasn’t one enough to stop the company from violating the law?

If you’ve had negative experiences with Synchrony’s debt collection practices and can document it, we’re interested in hearing from you.

Here are some kinds of behavior that state and federal laws forbid:

  • Harassing you, for example by making your phone ring repeatedly.
  • Sending debt collection letters that are confusing.
  • Sending debt collection letters that contain misstatements or misrepresentations, such as misstating the amount of the debt, falsely claiming that the sender is lawyer, or threatening to take action that the sender can’t legally take.
  • Trying to collect debts which you have already paid or which have been discharged in bankruptcy.
  • Trying to collect old debts for which the statute of limitations has expired.
  • Adding extra fees and charges to the amount you owe.
  • Talking about your debt to third parties, such as family, friends, or employers.
  • Robo-calling you on your cell phone about your debt.
  • Calling you too late at night or too early in the morning, or calling you too many times.
  • Refusing to stop calling when you ask them to.
  • Threatening you.

Laws vary in different states, but the TCPA—which forbids robo-calls about debt to cell phones—is a federal law that applies in all fifty states.

If you’ve experienced questionable debt collection practices with a private-label credit card issued or serviced by Synchrony Bank, fill out the form on this page and attach evidence, such as letters received or cell phone numbers called and dates of calls.

Article Type: Investigation
Topic: Consumer
No case events.
Tags: Unlawful Debt Collection