Get $25 From The Credit Card Companies

You may be entitled to a cash prize if you had a Visa, MasterCard, or Diner’s Club Cards during any time between February 1 1996 and November 8 2006. A successful class action lawsuit contended that credit card companies overcharged customers for foreign transactions and didn’t disclose the fees well enough. You can apply for a straight $25 refund, 1% of estimated foreign transactions, or annual estimation refund of 1-3% of foreign transactions for which you have records . Claim your moneys by filling out forms that were mailed to you, going to ccfsettlement.com, or calling 1-800-945-9890. It is not is necessary to have actually conducted foreign transactions to claim the money.

CCFsettlement [via Snopes] (Thanks to Takkun!)
Credit Card Settlement [NYT]
(Photo: mariachily)

Comments

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  1. hobbang says:

    Is that David Prager in the picture?

  2. protest says:

    wait this is real? i got the letter and thought it was a scam or something, sweet 25 bucks!

  3. kimsama says:

    I want to know how they’re estimating the transactions for option #2. I lived abroad for a while, but don’t have receipts from 5-6 years ago anymore.

    Hell, I guess it’s only a loss of a measly $25 even if they estimate it really low. I’ll probably do it that way.

    P.S. The lawyers, as always, are making an absolute killing on this. Remind me why I didn’t go into antitrust law again? ^_^

  4. Is Canada considered foreign?

  5. blitzcat says:

    I did conduct these foreign out of network transactions, and got a claim kit in the mail. I knew I was going to be gouged at the time and complained at the bank before I left the country. They told me they would find machines that didn’t charge the extra fee. Except there weren’t any in all of Ukraine.

    I closed my accounts with BOA right after I got back.

  6. Kaz says:

    Yeah, my wife got one of these in the mail, as well. I wasn’t sure if it was real, either. I told her that if she didn’t trust it, all we’d be losing was $25.

    Maybe I’ll have her send it in, now! Thanks!

  7. Tracy Ham and Eggs says:

    @kimsama: yeah, I read the paperwork, they get like 30% of the big prize ($330M or so) and another big chunk from settling related suits into this one. All told the attorneys walk away with like $145M.

  8. BStu says:

    Are you sure its not necessary to have conducted foreign transactions? Because…

    “Who may submit a claim?(top)
    You may submit a claim if you made a foreign transaction between February 1, 1996 and November 8, 2006 with a U.S.-issued Visa-, MasterCard-, or Diners Club-branded card.”

    …is listed on the Claim form’s FAQs. Admittedly, it could be clearer because elsewhere its more vague, but they do have a specific statement that eligibility is limited to people who made a foreign transaction between 1996 and 2006.

  9. MercuryPDX says:

    I shredded mine this weekend. Half because it felt a little scammy, and half because I didn’t make any foreign transactions… so why am I entitled to the refund?

  10. nutrigm says:

    Yeah I got like 5 letters in the mail but it says that eligibility is 1 offer ($25) per customer! :(

  11. MercuryPDX says:

    @BStu: Yeah… I read that and figured I’d be weeded out as someone trying to get over.

  12. aparsons says:

    I have used more than one credit card overseas. Can I submit a $25 refund for each one of the cards I used overseas?

  13. DrGirlfriend says:

    Nice, I got this in the mail last week and have been wondering whether or not it was legit. I have indeed conducted foreign transactiion during the specified time period so my conscience is clear ;)

    I have the same question as Kimsama, though. I feel like I could get more than $25 but I don’t have receipts or the like anymore.

  14. Crazytree says:

    if you were out of the country… option 2 is a much better idea.

  15. PatrickIs2Smart says:

    @BStu: I think you may have had to make a foreign transaction to be eligible…

    From [www.ccfsettlement.com]

    “If you made a transaction (purchase, cash advance, cash withdrawal or internet transaction) in a foreign currency on a Visa-, MasterCard- or Diners Club-branded credit, charge or debit/ATM card issued in the United States at any time from February 1, 1996 to November 8, 2006, you may be a member of the Settlement Damages Class. Members of the Settlement Damages Class may (1) ask for a refund and/or object to the settlement, OR (2) request to be excluded from the settlement. If you do not request to be excluded from the settlement, you will be bound by the settlement and you will release certain claims against the Defendants.

    If you held a Visa-, MasterCard- or Diners Club-branded credit, charge or debit/ATM card issued in the United States as of November 8, 2006, you are a member of the Settlement Injunctive Class. If you are not also a member of the Settlement Damages Class, you may not ask for a refund or request to be excluded from the settlement. You may, however, object to the settlement.”

  16. Pulling letter out of desk drawer and filing for my 25 bucks now that I know it’s not a scam.

    I was totally waiting for Consumerist to hit on this before I did anything.

  17. Takkun says:

    What bothered me the most when I first read about it was how much it looked like a scam, but wasn’t. They really should have tried to make the mailings more legitimate looking.

  18. sonichghog says:

    I will go for the $25. I guess I would be one of the “lucky” ones that were not gouged for this much to begin with.

    I went to Canada back in 1997 for a short vacation.

  19. jasonorl says:

    I believe you must have made a foreign transaction as it clarifies there are two classes: a settlement damages class (where you must have made a foreign transaction) and a settlement injunctive class (regardless of if you made a foreign transaction). The only class that gets any money are the people that are part of the settlement damages class (which makes sense since they are the only ones who were monetarily effected by this).

    I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice but just my own take on what I read.

  20. Franklin Comes Alive! says:

    @Takkun:

    That was probably intentional. The more people they get to throw it out, the less they pay in settlement.

  21. gingerCE says:

    I got a notice but wasn’t sure why. I was overseas during this time but I always used cash–but now I remembered I did do a lot of purchasing via amazon UK and amazon Canada for items so maybe buying online overseas counts.

  22. ColoradoShark says:

    @GitEmSteveDave: Yes, since the credit companies charged the foreign currency fee Canada is included.

  23. gingerCE says:

    I just did it online. Really easy.

    Now I am really curious when people will start receiving their refunds. Probably not for a long time. =(

  24. rooben says:

    omg….I spent 3 months in India last year, spending $75k…and I HAVE ALL MY RECEIPTS!!!!WHOO-HOO!!!!!

  25. Rando says:

    My GF got notice and I was almost sure it was a scam… You can never be too trusting of things like this.

    Guess we’ll hit it up.

  26. Buran says:

    I got that letter last week, scratched my head, went to the website, and went for the $25 easy refund.

    I suppose I got the letter because I did make some purchases while in Canada a while back.

  27. Buran says:

    @MercuryPDX: You aren’t; read the fine print carefully.

  28. Buran says:

    @gingerCE: After May of 08, which is when the approval hearing is. Save the link to their site if you think you’ll have moved by then — there’s an address in the FAQ page to which you should send a letter with your new address.

  29. AskCars says:

    I thought it was real but in reading the details it looked like even when you opt for the $25 you’ll be put on a long list of people “filing” in the suit because it’s a class action. Any legal folks out there know better?

    I don’t like getting my name on legal actions for something in the $25 range.

  30. ccandy222 says:

    I went for option 3, and might get as much as $225 back! I figure if i ever need to documents it would be easy, I maxed out my credit card in Europe over 8 months in 2004. So $7500 at 1-3% is $75-225 returned, for about 5 minutes online, can’t go wrong.

  31. ccandy222 says:

    On and you don’t need to get the letter to submit the claim, just submit it online anyway.

  32. jeffeb3 says:

    @PatrickIs2Smart: Absolutely right, you needed to spend some dough to get the dough. Lucky for me, I actually only spent about $25 internationally…

  33. TechnoDestructo says:

    I spent about 3 years abroad, but I have almost no receipts for any of that. So I went for door number two.

    Anyone know how they estimate spending? I couldn’t find anything on the subject.

  34. synergy says:

    I got that late last week. I believe you have to show receipts if you go for more than $25.

  35. hollerhither says:

    @synergy:
    No, you don’t have to show receipts but I think you have to have a pretty good idea where you were and what you spent. There is a nice long paragraph of legal language re how to estimate.

  36. y2julio says:

    @PatrickIs2Smart: Correct.

  37. greatgoogly says:

    in small print it says that if more people than expected apply for the settlement the $25 may be reduced. So if you got this please quietly put in for your money but don’t encourage anyone else to ;-)

  38. scoosdad says:

    Oh great, now my $25 will probably shrink to $10 due to this post. The fine print also says that the $25 amount is based on anticipated submittals, and if more people respond than they planned on, they reserve the right to reduce the amount awarded by a corresponding percentage. Thanks Consumerist!

  39. Geekybiker says:

    I was out of the country for about 250 days during that period. So going by 1 week = $25, I should get $892 out of this.

  40. Sathallrin says:

    @protest: I got the letter as well and thought it might be a scam even though it looked legit. I hadn’t gotten a chance to look into it yet to see if it was. I’m glad to see this post on here confirming it.

  41. AnneCA says:

    @David Thomas: If all you do is claim your refund, your name will not show up as a plaintiff in online registries of actions (i.e., court dockets).

  42. Sathallrin says:

    @Geekybiker: They have a form on there where you can document your foreign transactions and can be reimbursed based on expenses.

  43. MalcoveMagnesia says:

    The lawyers will be “earning” $86,075,000 (27.5% of the $313,000,000 settlement) for this, not including their “expenses”, which they insist will not be more than an extra $5,000,000.

    Bastard lawyers like these, stealing dump trucks full of money, are the biggest reason why I’d enthusiastically endorse: “Tort reform, please!”

  44. kimsama says:

    @MalcoveMagnesia: Eh, better the lawyers than the big businesses who commit antitrust violations!

  45. lonelymaytagguy says:

    I was stuck between options 1 & 2 until I hunted up option 2 in the FAQ. It says if you it works out to less than option 1, you’ll get the option 1 amount. I wonder what 30 days is worth?

  46. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    I got zinged by these fees when I purchased a couple things from EBay vendors during the time period in question. This means I qualify. You do not have to actually have been physically out of the country to have incurred foreign transaction fees.

  47. odoketa says:

    They’ve revised the settlement several times. At first they wanted me to tell them every credit card I had held since 1996. Given that I spent 5 of the ten years outside the US I was not impressed. Now they just want dates, which is better, although the level of recompense goes up if you give them detailed information. Which I’m sure all of you could find in your files – every purchase made on every credit card you’ve held since 1996. Argh.

  48. Buran says:

    @speedwell: But did you pay with some method other than Paypal? I am pretty sure that Paypal will probably count as a domestic charge.

  49. Leah says:

    @aparsons: if you still have statements, submit for the full amount you spent. That’s what I’m doing! I studied abroad during this time period, and I spent about $4500 on my credit cards. Even if I just get back 1%, that’s still $45 — much better than the silly $25 flat fee back.

    I’m super excited by this! I’m starting a job search soon (finishing up grad school) and can totally use this money.

  50. rhombopteryx says:

    @MalcoveMagnesia:
    The credit card companies in this suit illegally overcharged their customers to the tune of about a billion dollars, and yet the problem you see here is the lawyers fees?
    Who’s the “bastard” in all of this? I’d say its not so much the attorneys that took the time to argue and prove the companies broke the law as it is the companies who, well, broke the law.
    Somehow, passing a “tort deform” law to stop the lawyers from policing the companies in the first place doesn’t exactly make me think the companies will magically start behaving themselves.
    If you want to get down to it, do the math. This fee makes Visa and its banks $1.2 Billion each year, of which $.8 Billion is allegedly in violation of the law. Run that over a 10 year period, and consider triple damages and fines for violating various laws, and that stacks up to a very conservative guess of at least $10 Billion in liability. If anything, the lawyers are suckers for settling so low…
    No the real “bastards” here are the law-breaking credit card companies. Apologizing for them and trying to blame the lawyers who catch them with their fingers in the till just makes people wonder why you’re shilling for the bad guys.

  51. M3wThr33 says:

    I went to Canada and used it on things. Not too worried either way.

  52. coren says:

    @Takkun: They probably made it look fakish just because there are people who wouldn’t submit info in that case.

  53. CuriousO says:

    I got my letter in the mail last week.. hopefully I’ll get my $25 soon, I don’t even remeber using my card while abroad, but heck FREE MONEY!!!!

  54. youbastid says:

    I just got mine yesterday. Nothing about it screamed “fake” – especially since they didn’t really ask for any extra personal information. I’ve gotten numerous class action notices in the mail (from Verizon Wireless, Microsoft et al) and they looked the same. Maybe they had different versions of this?

    In any case, I went for option number 2. I spent about 3 months abroad total, and I made very few credit transactions. But hey, all they asked for was how many days I spent abroad!

  55. sublistic says:

    Wow! they really love making life difficult for you in the good old USA! :)

    We recently had the same thing happen over here in my country, and the banks sent everyone an official letter apologising AND telling them the total of their foreign transactions during the disputed period. They then said they would be refunding the 2% directly into the credit card or you could choose to have it put into another account if you no longer had a credit card.

    We didn’t have to lift a finger, and we didn’t have to produce any receipts – if your bank doesn’t have a record of your credit card transactions, then who does?

  56. overbysara says:

    I got one of these! sweet. I thought it was one of those “deposit this and we’ll know it means you want to sign up for our PROGRAM! WOOOO!”

  57. theblackdog says:

    @MercuryPDX: The reason you and I got the letter, even if we never made a foreign transaction, is because we’re still part of the lawsuit, but we are under what is known as the “Settlement Injunctive Class” rather than the “Damages Settlement Class.” Basically we get no money, but it’s to get an injunction so the companies stop charging these fees. Anyone who ever had a Visa, Mastercard, or Diners Club credit or debit card falls under this category, and we don’t get to opt out of it.

  58. anamika says:

    Has anyone actually received a refund? I submitted mine online a couple months ago; haven’t received anything yet.

  59. miburo says:

    HMMM Does anyone remember Paypal charging ultra bogus foreign transaction fees too? I wonder if we can throw another settlement against them