A class action suit which was brought against a number of financial institutions in 2001 has finally been resolved after ten years of deliberation.
The lawsuit was filed against MasterCard, Visa, Diner’s Club and a selection of banks and alleged that the defendants had hidden fees which were applied to debit and credit card transactions.
It was claimed that the fees were applied to transactions carried out by foreign merchants amounting to 3% of each transaction. The lawsuit also claimed that MasterCard and Visa were both guilty of upping their base exchange rate prior to applying the transaction fees.
In 2006 an initial settlement was reached, but has been delayed since then by a number of appeals. However, the courts have now reached a final ruling and have ordered that a designated settlement administrator is to distribute $336 million in settlement funds amongst the numerous plaintiffs. It was originally estimated that those consumers involved in the lawsuit would each receive $25 or more. However, the class action website has now stated that,
Participation in this settlement has been extraordinary, with more than 10,000,000 claims submitted.
This means that eligible consumers will be receiving checks to the value of $18.04 which have already begun to arrive for many consumers. However, for a small number of consumers who were traveling extensively during the applicable period may find that they receive a slightly higher pay out.
It has been stated that any consumer who filed claims as part of the suit should receive their check by January 31, 2012 and anyone who has not received their payment by that date should get in touch with the Foreign Currency Conversion Fee Antitrust website to inform them of this.
Some reports suggest that many consumers have been a little wary of the settlement checks because they began arriving fairly unexpectedly and because of the small monetary value and even the appearance of the check itself. Many were concerned that it might be part of some sort of scam.
However, consumers can get in touch with the Better Business Bureau to determine whether or not checks received via the post are legitimate or not. If consumers verify the details prior to depositing the check or attempting to cash it then they are able to protect themselves against so called ‘look a like’ scams. The surprise checks are a nice start to the new year for many consumers who may even have forgotten all about the decade long lawsuit.