SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - Bank of America takes money from customers' accounts to pay for services they didn't order and don't want, a class action claims in Federal Court. The class claims the bank charges for "Privacy Assist" services without informing them, and refuses to refund the money when customers catch on.
The class claims Bank of America has been withdrawing $8.99 from their accounts every month for "Privacy Assist," which includes credit monitoring and free access to online credit reports.
Privacy Assist Premier offers identity theft insurance for $12.99 a month, and Privacy Assist Complete includes anti-virus software for $18.99.
Some plaintiffs say they have overdrawn on their bank accounts because of these automatic withdrawals, also known as "electronic funds transfers."
Lead plaintiff Steven Chavez says he was charged for several months of Privacy Assist before he noticed the withdrawals from his account in September 2009, when he became suspicious of a $17.99 charge on his bank statement labeled "Privacy Assist."
When he complained to Bank of America, it denied affiliation with Privacy Assist, Chavez says, though the complaint identifies Privacy Assist as a "wholly owned subsidiary of Bank of America."
Chavez says he contacted Privacy Assist directly, but was refused a refund.
Chavez says he was never provided with any anti-virus software from Privacy Assist, and before he saw the charges on his bank statement, he had never even heard of Privacy Assist.
He said he asked the bank to cancel the service but Bank of America and Privacy Assist are still taking his money, and have "drained his bank account and even caused him to incur several overdraft fees from Bank of America."
The class seeks the return of all money withdrawn from their accounts and damages for unfair business practices, unjust enrichment, conversion and violation of the Electronic Funds Transfer Act. It is represented by Kevin Ruf with Glancy, Binkow and Goldberg of Los Angeles.
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