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The 5 Dumbest Things on Wall Street This Week: Oct. 5

Stocks in this article: ABT WTSLA AXP HPQ KRFT DFS YHOO NDAQ

3. AmEx Gets Charged

American Express (AXP) settled the bill this week. Too bad the charge was for $112.5 million.

The charge card giant announced Tuesday its plans to pony up $112.5 million in refunds and fines to resolve allegations that it stuck consumers with unlawful late fees and lied to get customers to buy extra credit card services. AmEx is refunding $85 million to about 250,000 customers and is paying $27.5 million in civil fines to satisfy the complaints of four separate federal agencies, including the Federal Reserve, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Utah regulators.

Yes folks, membership does have its privileges and apparently one of those privileges is getting shafted.

Furthermore, it wasn't just a one-time thing. According to the complaint, the violations occurred from 2003 to this past spring, so the credit card giant was scamming its customers before, during and after the so-called credit crisis.

To which we say: Good for you AmEx! Why should Goldman Sachs (GS) have all the fun?

To be fair, AmEx is not the only one getting squeezed now that the Feds have finally gotten around to focusing on credit card issuer abuses. Last week, regulators announced an agreement by Discover Bank, a unit of Discover Financial Services (DFS), to refund $200 million to customers and pay $14 million in fines to settle accusations that it pressured customers to buy costly and often unnecessary add-on services like payment protection and credit monitoring.

Of course, despite the sizable settlements and clear wrongdoing, neither Amex nor Discover admitted or denied the charges.

What a crock. Maybe the next time one of these companies mails us a bill we'll try that trick too, although we doubt it will work.

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