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American Express To Pay $75.7 Million To End Investigation

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AMERICAN EXPRESS CARD
FILE - In this Jan. 20, 2010 file photo, American Express cards are posed for a photograph in Phoenix. American Express on Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2011 said it expects to report a sharply higher fourth-quarter profit, although it will be reduced by charges from newly disclosed plans to close a customer service center in North Carolina. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File) | ASSOCIATED PRESS

NEW YORK (AP) — American Express has agreed to pay at least $75.7 million to end an investigation into what regulators said was misleading marketing of some discontinued card products.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said Tuesday that American Express led consumers to believe that an account protection product would work for up to two years when the benefits usually lasted no more than three months, and it didn't properly explain the enrollment process for a product intended to protect against identity theft. It said 85 percent of consumers who signed up didn't complete the enrollment process, but they were billed anyway.

The agency also said that the company misrepresented the terms of a "lost wallet" product that was offered to Spanish-speaking customers in Puerto Rico, and it did not provide written materials in Spanish.

The FDIC says the programs were marketed to customers between 2004 and 2012. It said American Express will pay restitution to 335,000 customers.

The New York-based company said it agreed to pay $16.2 million in fines and repay at least $59.5 million to customers.

American Express Co. said it has set aside enough to cover most of the costs of the settlement with the FDIC, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and the Office of Comptroller of the Currency. It has already made most of the payments to customers.

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