WASHINGTON (AP) — General Electric Co.'s credit card division will refund $34.1 million to consumers who government regulators say were misled about the potential costs of relying on a deferred-interest plan to pay their medical bills.
The settlement announced Tuesday by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau affects more than 1 million people who obtained CareCredit cards from GE Capital Retail Bank since 2009. GE Capital didn't acknowledge any wrongdoing in consenting to the order.
Regulators contend that the GE Capital Retail Bank exploited consumers by not taking adequate steps to ensure they understood the terms of the credit cards that they obtained to help cover the costs at doctors and dentists around the country.
In many instances, health providers told patients that the CareCredit cards would provide interest-free financing for a year, according to regulators. But the charges could only be avoided if the entire amount was paid within a year after the charge. If an outstanding balance remained at the end of the one-year grace period, interest accruing at a rate of nearly 27 percent was then tacked on to the bill.