BUSINESS
04/27/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Bank Of America Sued For Unwanted 'Privacy Assist' Service

A California man is suing Bank of America over monthly charges for a credit monitoring service he says he never wanted, didn't sign up for, and couldn't get rid of even after complaining to the bank. Now, in a class action lawsuit filed in federal court, he wants his money back.

Steven Chavez first noticed charges of $17.99 for the service, called "Privacy Assist," on his bank account around September 2009. According to the lawsuit, when he called Bank of America to complain a week later, he was told that Privacy Assist was not affiliated with the bank. Complaining to Privacy Assist directly didn't work, either; he continued to see the fees and also received letters warning of "suspicious activity" on his account. Indeed.

Even worse, the suit alleges, the automatic withdrawals for the service "drained his account and caused him to incur several overdraft fees from Bank of America."

Privacy Assist is essentially Bank of America's version of the Triple Advantage service people inadvertently sign up for when they try to get a free credit report from freecreditreport.com. For $8.99 a month (more for "premium" service), Privacy Assist provides credit scores and claims to protect against identity theft.

A Bank of America spokeswoman declined to comment on the lawsuit but defended Privacy Assist. "Privacy Assist Premier is a comprehensive ID Theft protection service which is marketed to Bank of America customers," the spokeswoman wrote in an email to HuffPost. "It offers credit report activity and history for a monthly charge."

The class action complaint, filed on Feb. 16, was first reported by Courthouse News Service.

HuffPost readers: Something strange on your bank statement? Excessive overdrafts? Penalty fees you can't figure out? Tell us about it -- email arthur@huffingtonpost.com. (Emails will not be published without permission. Please include your phone number.)