Attorney General Bill Lockyer Announces Multi-state Settlement With Us Bank to Protect Consumer Privacy

Friday, September 22, 2000
Contact: (415) 703-5837, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

(SACRAMENTO) – California Attorney General Bill Lockyer today announced a multi-state settlement with US Bank to protect consumer privacy by prohibiting the undisclosed sharing of customer information with third parties for marketing purposes. The settlement agreement approved today by a federal judge in Minnesota also provides refunds to eligible consumers and payment of $2 million to the 30 states involved in the multi-state action.

"Consumers who open a bank account, get a credit card or obtain a loan should know whether a bank is sharing customer information with outside companies wanting to drum up business," Lockyer said. "With this settlement, customers of US Bank will be able to learn about the bank's information sharing practices and be able to remove their names from any list being made available to outside companies."

Under the court injunction signed by US District Court Judge James M. Rosenbaum, US Bank is prohibited from sharing customer information with unaffiliated third parties for the purpose of marketing non-financial products or services. US Bank also will provide initial and annual notices to customers regarding its practices of sharing customer information with third parties.

The notices will be made available to existing customers and other consumers upon the opening of a credit card or depository account. The notices must allow a consumer to "opt out" of having his or her information shared with other companies for direct marketing or disclosure to third parties. In the notices provided, consumers also will be allowed to make the choice by mail or by calling a toll-free telephone number. US Bank began notifying consumers this month.

Refunds would be made to consumers who since June 1, 1997 purchased but did not use a non-financial product or service marketed through the sharing of consumer information. The bank is notifying eligible customers with refunds being paid to individuals who respond to the notice.

Other states involved in the case were Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

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