Amex paying $112M in late-fee settlements

WASHINGTON -  American Express is paying $112 million in refunds and fines to settle regulators' accusations that it charged unlawful late fees, and deceived customers to pressure them to pay off old debts or buy extra credit card services.

The company agreed to the settlements announced Monday by four federal agencies, including the Federal Reserve and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Utah regulators.

American Express is refunding $85 million to about 250,000 customers and is paying $27 million in civil fines.

The agencies said American Express violated federal laws prohibiting deceptive practices by using false statements to get customers to settle old debts.  The regulators say that included falsely telling customers that if they agreed to settlements to partially pay off their debts, the remaining balance would be forgiven.

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