Currency conversion fee anti-trust settlement (Visa, MasterCard, Diners Club) Claims

The filing deadline for this settlement was May 30, 2008. The settlement is for a hefty $336M. After administrative fees of $23M, attorney expense cut of 27.5% applies and expense reimbursements add up to $5M. Around $220M will be available to claimants. The information from the website reads as follows:

The lawsuit is about the price cardholders of Visa-, MasterCard-, or Diners Club-branded payment cards were charged to make transactions in a foreign currency, or with a foreign merchant, between February 1, 1996 and November 8, 2006. Plaintiffs challenge how the prices of credit and debit/ATM card foreign transactions were set and disclosed, including claims that Visa, MasterCard, their member banks, and Diners Club conspired to set and conceal fees, typically of 1-3% of foreign transactions, and that Visa and MasterCard inflated their base exchange rates before applying these fees. The Defendants include Visa, MasterCard, Diners Club, Bank of America, Bank One/First USA, Chase, Citibank, MBNA, HSBC/Household, and Washington Mutual/Providian.

Any transaction conducted with these cards outside the United States in the concerned period makes one eligible to file a claim. The process consists of filing the claim form along with the supporting documents and can be filed online. There are three versions of the form and depending on the situation one can decide which one to use:
  • Request an Easy Refund of $25. This Option is recommended if you traveled outside of the U.S. for less than one week or had foreign transactions of less than $2,500 using your eligible cards during the 1996 to 2006 period. (Green Form); OR
  • Request a Total Estimation Refund based on typical spending during travel and your answers to a few questions about your own travel outside of the U.S. This Option is recommended if you traveled outside of the U.S. for more than one week or had foreign transactions of more than $2,500 using your eligible cards during the 1996 to 2006 period. Refunds will be a maximum of 1% of estimated foreign transactions. (Blue Form); OR
  • Request a refund based on information that you provide concerning your annual Estimated foreign transactions during the 1996 to 2006 period. This Option is recommended if you had extensive foreign travel or foreign transactions and are willing to provide year-by-year information. Refunds will be a maximum of 1% to 3% of foreign transactions. This is the only Option you can use to get a refund for corporate card use. (Red Form)
As the net settlement amount available to claimants is roughly $220M, it is highly likely that the amount will suffice to cover claimants. Further, at the $25 level, the requirements to submit the form are very easy and straight-forward and so this should translate to a $25 check with minimal fuss. For people who travel at least once a year outside the US or has spent more than $2500 over the 11 years of class period, the second option would be a better choice. Here again, the form doesn’t require one to submit proofs. The form only asks for ONE of the applicable credit card numbers and the total number of days traveled outside the US. From this and other public information, an estimated value can be obtained. For amounts spent on corporate cards or for the meticulous one, the best option is the last one, as that does not rely on an estimate.

Update: The checks were issued in three chunks: January 2012, July 2013, and October 2014. The estimated total payments for the settlements under the Easy Refund ($25 claim - Green Form) category was around $15 (all claims were reduced based on a pro-ration formula as the number of claims exceeded the perceived maximums).

Last Updated: 01/2015.

2 comments :

Dena said...

I tried to get my refund, but I haven't received anything back in the mail. Is there a way I can check?

ks said...

Hi Dena:

The website (http://www.ccfsettlement.com/) states final approval is pending before court. The 12/28/2008 update in the website states that they are in the process of auditing and validating claims and that any claims postmarked or faxed after May 30, 2008 will be considered late.

Hope this helps!

Regards,

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