A class-action lawsuit that was filed back in 2001 against MasterCard, Visa, Diner`s Club and a small assortment of banks that issue credit cards was recently put to rest after a decade of deliberation.
The suit alleged that the afore-mentioned defendants hid fees that were applied to debit and credit card foreign currency transactions. The plaintiffs claimed that these fees applying to sales conducted by foreign merchants amounted to 3% of each transaction. Additionally, the lawsuit alleged that MasterCard and Visa both upped their base exchange rate prior to applying the foreign transaction fees.
An initial settlement was reached in 2006 couched between years of appeals and finally in October 2011 the court gave the order to the settlement administrator to distribute $336 million in settlement funds amongst the plaintiffs. At first it was estimated that consumers participating in the suit would receive $25 or more apiece.
However, according to the class action website, “Participation in this settlement has been extraordinary, with more than 10,000,000 claims submitted.”
Eligible consumers have been receiving their rightful Foreign Currency Conversion Fee Antitrust settlement checks in the mail over the past several days, in the amount of $18.04, according to the website of CPA Cassady Schiller.
For any consumers who did extensive overseas traveling during he applicable time period with their credit cards, the payout may be slightly higher.
There is information posted on Schiller`s website that advises all consumers who filed claims to participate in the suit but have yet to receive a check by Jan. 31 to go ahead and contact the Foreign Currency Conversion Fee Antitrust website directly.
Some consumers have been wary of the unexpected settlement checks, suspicious because of the small monetary amount and the appearance of the check itself that it might be a scam.
Contacting the Better Business Bureau is a good way to determine whether or not checks received via the USPS are legitimate. By verifying the details before attempting to cash or deposit checks claiming to be settlement checks, consumers can protect themselves from falling victim to “look alike scams.