Bank of America settles civil suit over customers' recorded calls

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Bank of America will pay nearly $2 million to settle a lawsuit that accused the company of not properly informing customers that their calls were recorded.

The San Diego County District Attorney's Office announced Tuesday that the civil lawsuit, which was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, was settled for $1.975 million.

The lawsuit alleged Bank of America "violated sections 632 and 632.7 of the California Penal Code by failing to timely and adequately disclose its automatic recording of phone calls with members of the public. Laws in California regarding recording phone calls are more stringent than in many other states. In California, each party to a confidential conversation must be advised at the outset if a call is being recorded, so that any party can object or terminate the call if he or she does not wish to be recorded."

Without admitting liability, the company made changes to its policies nationwide. As part of the settlement, Bank of America "must comply with California's standards for recording confidential communications between the bank and its customers by making a clear, conspicuous, and accurate disclosure to consumers about the recording at the beginning of any such communication. Bank of America has also agreed to implement an internal compliance program to ensure that the policy changes are made."

Under the settlement, BofA agreed to pay $1.635 million in civil penalties and $240,000 to reimburse investigative costs.

The settlement calls for the San Diego County District Attorney's Office to receive $327,000 (from the civil penalties) and $48,000 for investigative costs.

Bank of America will also contribute $100,000 to the Consumer Protection Prosecution Trust Fund.

The San Diego County District Attorney's Office worked with district attorney's offices in Los Angeles, Alameda, Riverside and Ventura counties.

"Preserving our right to privacy is among the greatest challenges we face in the digital age. Our office is committed to protecting California’s consumers from intrusions and privacy violations in the marketplace," said San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis.

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