File a CFPB Complaint for Unfair Money Transfer Fees
Prison Legal News (PLN) is encouraging our readers to file complaints to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) if you feel you are being made to pay expensive rates to transfer money to your loved one in jail or prison or, if you are a prisoner, to receive money transfers from people outside of prison or jail.
The CFPB is a U.S. government agency that makes sure banks, lenders, and other financial companies treat consumers fairly. They are concerned with the issues facing imprisoned consumers and their families.
As PLN has reported, private companies like Jpay, GTL and others charge exorbitant fees for transferring money to prisoners. Services that used to be free when performed by the government are now available through monopoly contracts where private hedge fund owned companies charge obscene fees to do the same thing the government used to do at no cost.
In order to send $50 to a prisoner, a person may be charged an additional $6.95. Fees can be as high as 35 to 45 percent of the amount sent. In the aggregate, the amount of money sent to prisoners nationally each year is in the billions of dollars with these companies taking a big cut at every step. Meanwhile, outside of the prison and jail context, consumers have choices through companies like Zelle, PayPal, Venmo (owned by PayPal) and others, to transfer money at no cost and for no fees.
If you’re tired of paying high rates to these companies, you can file a complaint with the CFPB asking them to investigate and take action on your behalf. You can follow the instructions provided by the CFPB on the next pages. These companies have avoided private legal action for their predatory behavior. This is a chance to stop their exploitation. For several years HRDC, the publisher of PLN, and executive director Paul Wright, has engaged with the CFPB around this issue. Tell the CFPB how you or your family members are being exploited through the money transfer industry and provide them with concrete examples of the fees you are being charged.
Let others know about this potential avenue for relief and share it widely. The more people complain to show how widespread and serious the problem is, the more likely it is that the CFPB will take action.