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TD Bank fined $122M by U.S. consumer regulator for pushy tactics selling overdraft service – CBC.ca

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TD Bank has agreed to pay back $97 million US to 1.4 million of its U.S. customers for deceptive marketing tactics to sell them an overdraft service the bank claimed was a free perk but in reality was not. 

The bank, whose full corporate name in the U.S. is TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank, will also pay a penalty of $25 million in addition to the restitution it will pay to customers.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced on Friday that the bank’s sales tactics violated several U.S. laws “by charging consumers overdraft fees for ATM and one-time debit card transactions without obtaining their affirmative consent.”

The service, which TD calls Debit Card Advance (DCA), would allow a customer to withdraw money from their chequing account, even if the withdrawal would cause their balance to go below zero.

The consumer rights watchdog said TD marketed the service as a free perk for new chequing accounts but actually charged customers $35 every time they used it. And the service was optional all along.

“When TD Bank enrolled some consumers in DCA over the phone, TD Bank deceptively described DCA as covering transactions unlikely to be covered by DCA,” the bureau said.

The bureau also found that the bank sometimes would require new customers to sign its overdraft notice with the “enrolled” option pre-checked without mentioning or explaining the service to them.

Bank has 9 million customers in U.S.

The settlement covers any customers of the bank’s 1,250 branches who signed up for a chequing account between 2014 and 2018 and signed up for the service, knowingly or not. The bank has nine million customers in the U.S., and the bureau said at least 1.4 million of them may have been impacted.

In a statement to CBC News, TD Bank says only U.S. customers would have been impacted and thus included in the settlement as the service “is not offered by TD Canada Trust” in Canada.

As part of the settlement, the bank agreed to change its enrolment practices and stop using pre-marked overdraft notices to obtain a consumer’s consent.

In a statement, TD called the program a “safe, reliable source of short-term liquidity and helps them avoid the inconvenience that may result from declined transactions.”

“We disagree with the CFPB’s conclusions. We have co-operated fully to resolve this matter and are moving forward with a continued focus on meeting the needs of our customers,” said Greg Braca, TD’s president and chief executive of U.S. operations, adding that the bank did not admit to any wrongdoing.

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Shopify fires two 'rogue' employees following data breach – CTV News

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OTTAWA —
Shopify Inc. says it has notified Canada’s privacy commissioner about a recent data breach it says was carried out by two “rogue” employees.

“In accordance with Canadian law, we promptly notified all affected merchants,” a spokeswoman for the company wrote in an email.

“We have subsequently provided information regarding the incident to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner.”

Earlier Wednesday, the commissioner’s office said it hadn’t yet received a report about the breach.

“Our office is reaching out to Shopify, given the potential seriousness of the breach, to request more information about the matter,” Vito Pilieci, a senior communications adviser wrote in an email.

Under the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, it is mandatory for companies to report breaches to the privacy commissioner’s office, “where it is reasonable to believe that the breach creates a real risk of significant harm to an individual,” Pilieci said.

Shopify spokeswoman Rebecca Feigelsohn said the two employees involved in the breach were fired.

On Tuesday, the Ottawa-based company first revealed on an online discussion board that it had identified two workers involved in illegitimately obtaining records connected to some of its merchants.

“We immediately terminated these individuals’ access to our Shopify network and referred the incident to law enforcement. We are currently working with the FBI and other international agencies in their investigation of these criminal acts,” the company said.

“While we do not have evidence of the data being utilized, we are in the early stages of the investigation and will be updating affected merchants as relevant.”

The customer data the employees were accessing was linked to fewer than 200 merchants, who Shopify has declined to identify but says have been notified.

The improperly accessed data includes basic contact information such as emails, names and addresses, as well as order details, such as what products and services were purchased.

Shopify said complete payment card numbers and other sensitive personal or financial information were not part of the breach and it has yet to find evidence that any of the data was used.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published September 23, 2020.

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Shopify says two support staff stole customer data from sellers – TechCrunch

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Shopify has confirmed a data breach, in which two “rogue members” of its support team stole customer data from at least 100 merchants.

In a blog post, the online shopping site said that its investigation so far showed that the two employees, who have since been fired, were “engaged in a scheme to obtain customer transactional records of certain merchants.”

Shopify said it had referred the matter to the FBI.

The employees allegedly stole customer data, including names, postal addresses and order details, from “less than 200 merchants,” but financial data was unaffected.

Shopify said that it does not have any evidence to suggest that the data was used, but that it had notified affected merchants of the incident.

One merchant shared with TechCrunch a copy of Shopify’s email notification, which said the company first became aware of the breach on September 15, and that the two employees obtained data that was accessible using Shopify’s Orders API, which lets merchants process orders on behalf of their customers. The email also said that the last four digits of the customers’ payment card was taken in the incident.

Shopify did not say how many end customers were affected by the theft of data from merchants, but the email sent by Shopify contained the specific number of customer records taken in the breach. In this merchant’s case, more than 1.3 million customer records; over 4,900 were accessed.

A spokesperson for Shopify didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Just last month, Instacart admitted two of its third-party support staff improperly accessed the information for shoppers who deliver grocery orders to customers.

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Other Battery Makers Filled With Uncertainty After Tesla Battery Day – InsideEVs

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After yesterday’s Tesla Battery Day, third-party lithium-ion battery manufacturer might be quite surprised and uncertain about the future.

Tesla clearly continues on its path of vertical integration, hinting at significant improvements on the technological level and advancing also on the in-house battery production front.

The pilot plant for 4680 cells is expected to reach a production output of 10 GWh annually at some point in 2021, which alone is a huge level. The target of 100 GWh in 2022 is also very ambitious.

Tesla’s Elon Musk said that the automaker will continue to purchase cells from existing (and maybe new) suppliers, because it will not be able to produce enough of its own batteries anyway, but still the share price of the biggest EV battery manufacturers declined.

According to Automotive News, LG Chem went down by 5.5%, CATL by 4.7%, while Panasonic by 4.3%.

2020 Tesla Shareholders Meeting and Battery Day

Investors are clearly aware that Tesla is pushing hard to reduce costs and increase energy density. It’s a challenging race, which requires tons of R&D investments to keep up with the leaders.

Will the ordinary battery makers from electronics and chemical industries be able to offer a competitive solution for a company like Tesla, which has an advantage of vertical integration? They would have to closely partner with other carmakers to jointly develop battery systems deeply integrated with the vehicles.

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