Credit Card Class Action: Get More Money Back Using Your Digital Camera

If you traveled abroad anytime between February 1, 1996 and November 8, 2006, your credit card company probably owes you money, but how much? Under a class action suing credit card companies for double-dipping on foreign transaction fees, the best bet for getting your the money, if you don’t have detailed records of all your foreign transactions, is making an estimate based on how many days you were out of the country. One good way for shutterbugs to figure this out, says Delicious Baby, is to look through your vacation/travel photos on your computer. Most likely, they have digital timestamps you can use to figure out how long you were away. Now figuring out your refund is as easy and fun as going through your old photos. The due date for filing claims at ccfsettlement.com is May 30th.

Easy Hack for Getting a Refund from your Credit Card [DeliciousBaby]

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  1. rdm says:

    Drat, that would be perfect if I still knew (or had any record of) the CC I used on the trip. The only CC I still have open or any documents for is Discover…

  2. Pennsylvanian123 says:

    Wouldn’t a passport have dates of travel? It’s been so long since I used mine I can’t remember.

  3. heavylee-again says:

    Somebody’s an Apple user!

  4. Dashrashi says:

    I did this. I believe you don’t need to have even necessarily used your credit card while abroad if you choose Option B (which is what I believe is being discussed here)–just so long as you had one of the credit cards during that time. I didn’t use my camera to figure out how many days I was gone (I’m not a big picture taker)–but I actually just used my passport. Even easier.

  5. AaronZ says:

    Thanks for the tip. I had 3 weeks worth of travel in that time period, so I’ll probably get $75.

    Easiest $75 I made in 5 minutes since college. ;)

  6. Geekybiker says:

    I’ll likely get a couple hundred bucks back from this. Wasn’t this on consumerist already though? Like when the notices first went out?

  7. iwantmore1 says:

    I have a legal question. Since these fees were not disclosed, isn’t that a material break of contract? Can we now sue to recover damages from retroacrive APR increases (credit cards cite disclosures for retroactively increasing APR, which have been materially breached).

  8. youbastid says:

    Thank God I still have my digital camera from 1996!

  9. chrisjames says:

    @Dashrashi: No, you must have used the card in a foreign transaction during the period to be eligible. Otherwise, you are not part of the damages class.

  10. heavylee-again says:

    @youbastid: Why would you need the camera? Just the pictures with a date stamp.

  11. wallapuctus says:

    What if I no longer have the same card? My card expired last month and they sent me a new one with a new number.

    I spent a couple months abroad in 2005 and charged just about everything to that card.

  12. Dashrashi says:

    @chrisjames: Yes, you’re right. But you don’t need to have used the card every time you were abroad. I didn’t even have a credit card for much of the time I was abroad during the time period, but since I used my card at least once during it, I’m eligible to include even those dates where I didn’t/couldn’t have used my card for calculating how much I receive under Option 2.

  13. Dashrashi says:

    @wallapuctus: Doesn’t matter. The time period in question ended February 06, I believe, and they don’t ask for your card information.

    ccfsettlement.com

  14. Dashrashi says:

    @Dashrashi: Oops, make that November 06.

  15. freshyill says:

    I studied in Germany for four months in 2000, and probably used my card quite a bit. Seriously though, digital cameras weren’t *that* common yet. Would my airline ticket stubs or my student visa count?

  16. MonkeyMonk says:

    Since the settlement doesn’t require any corroborating evidence what’s stopping people from just wildly inflating their dates? Besides being honest of course. :)

  17. fol_de_rol says:

    November 8 was a Wednesday that year – why the odd cutoff date? Is there a significance to that date that I’m not getting? It can’t be as easy as “we didn’t charge exorbitant fees after that day.”

    I would have qualified if the cutoff had been just a month later, arrgh.

  18. Eric1285 says:

    Seriously, why go through the trouble of looking at your photos? If you left the country, you probably needed your passport. That’s what I did. Took me 5 minutes to fill out that form.

  19. ratnerstar says:

    @MonkeyMonk: There’s always the possibility you could get audited. Probably pretty unlikely, but I imagine the probability increases in proportion to your claim.

    Extremely conservatively, I was out of the country 510 days during that time frame. It’s probably closer to 600, but I want to underestimate in case I get audited.

  20. Ihaveasmartpuppy says:

    @Eric1285: Not necessarily, what about Canada & Mexico? I drive over to Canada frequently. There is no way on earth I can find all those transactions….

  21. forgottenpassword says:

    I sent off for this…. but I have no real expectation of getting anything back (I went to england for a week & a half & only used traveler checks & my credit card).

  22. iwantmore1 says:

    Isn’t this a material breach of the CC disclosures which the CC’s use as a binding contract to impose whatever APR increases they want, even retroactively? Seems to me like there should be another class action…

  23. petrarch1608 says:

    you do not need your account number to submit a claim, just the name of the bank that issued it. I submitted mine, I hope I get some money!!!

  24. ratnerstar says:

    @Ihaveasmartpuppy: Not to mention people traveling on military orders (no passport required for most countries), people travelling on diplomatic passports who have since turned them in, and people who have just plain lost their passport and were issued a new one.

  25. chrisjames says:

    @Dashrashi: Every option requires you to provide information for at least one card used in a foreign transaction during the time period.

    Claim option 2 is best if you can’t track down all your information, but I believe you’ll need proof of at least one transaction in case you get audited. I don’t remember if it was one of the two articles or the CCF website that states it, but you can request so many free copies per year of past credit card histories from your financial institution at the time.

  26. Buran says:

    @heavylee-again: Lots of us here. Not my pic though!

  27. Buran says:

    @forgottenpassword: As long as you used your credit card out of the US between the dates in question, you can submit a no-doc claim. I did, because I used my card in Canada but I didn’t keep the receipts (it was for minor stuff).

  28. Buran says:

    @chrisjames: I used the Easy Refund option and as far as I can tell I’m all set.

  29. balthisar says:

    I did this very thing before making my claim! I spend a lot of time out of the country… let’s see, 829 days for the affected period! In fact I had to cut it short, as I was still in Canada at the cutoff date.

    It’ll probably still only be $75, though.

  30. forgottenpassword says:

    @Buran:

    I already did. But I still dont have much hope in recieving things like this. I have taken part in class action lawsuits (i was eligible for) before & either recieved nothing or an mioniscule amount. I actually recieved a check for 13 cents once for one.

  31. Buran says:

    @forgottenpassword: That’s pretty funny. My now-ex-bf got a check for, I kid you not, $6.66 in a settlement once.

    I submitted online. If I get it, great, if I don’t, it took me 5 minutes to do it.

  32. Umisaurus says:

    This is nice. My husband studied abroad in Japan from September 2004 – August 2005. I don’t know how much that’ll get us, but anything would be nice.

    Question, though: couldn’t one use their passport as proof of travel? The dates would be recorded there, right?

  33. donkeyjote says:

    ERROR: Misuse of the word “Hack” detected….

  34. ord2fra says:

    Just did mine, 363 days. Did a study abroad for a year in 1996-97, and various other travel since then. Unfortunately, all of my credit cards that I used then are different. We’ll see…

  35. reidthaler says:

    What are the amounts one would get back based on credit card statements or the number of days traveled.

    Seems like the credit card companies have all the info and they could just send people the money.

    Most class action settlements seem to amount to a 5% discount off of more products from the same company that originally screwed you, just adding to more profits for them…

  36. dmuth says:

    Say, does anyone know how long it takes to process these refunds? I submitted my request a couple of months ago and haven’t heard anything back…

  37. ngallion says:

    @dmuth: I wondered the same thing myself until I found this on the website -

    “Refunds will be paid after the Court finally approves the settlement, and approves any award of attorneys’ fees, awards to the class representatives, and allocation of the settlement fund among Settlement Damages Class members, and any appeals related to that approval are resolved. It is possible that this could take several months, or, if appeals are filed, several years. You may want to check this website from time to time for updates.”

    So, basically, never.

  38. eighty82 says:

    Good idea. I was in Singapore and Japan back in 2003. Got a statement from the class action lawsuit about this. I remember getting charged extra for the exchange rate.

  39. jimforcy says:

    I lived abroad for the ten years in question. My folks moved back last year after having lived in Europe for the past decade. We are expecting to get several thousands of dollars back from the CC companies.

  40. @Pennsylvanian123:

    That depends on where you travel. Many countries don’t stamp your passport with a Visa upon arrival.

  41. fluiddruid says:

    Thanks for posting this, Consumerist. I hadn’t heard of this class action and I qualify. :D

  42. chalpin says:

    @jimforcy

    I, too, was living abroad for those 10 years (with several weeks of vacation back in the states) but I seriously doubt we’ll be getting thousands back. There are probably thousands of people just like us and I expect the suit will take that into consideration.