Equifax is going to make you work for that 125 bucks it owes each of you

Equifax out Friday night rule change:

Equifax explains that even though you found out about its settlement, and found the online address where you had to apply, and even though you inputted in all the details you were asked for, and even though you selected to take the cash option, you now need to provide it with more information. [...]

You've got until October 15 to (re)confirm that you already have a credit monitoring service. If you don't, you don't get the money. And you have to provide the details of that service to Equifax. If you don't, you don't get the money.

If you do both those things before the deadline, you should still expect to get another email at some point in future asking you to provide evidence of that credit monitoring service or, you guessed it, you don't get the money.

"I understand that I may be asked to provide more information by the Settlement Administrator before my claim is complete," is one of the "options" that you are obliged to agree to.

Yep, you are really going to have to work for that $125. And the truth is that even if you do jump through all the hoops Equifax has put in the way, you are still unlikely to get the $125 promised.

What is going on? Put simply, Equifax and the FTC are embarrassed that their smoke-and-mirrors approach to settling a massive data breach has been exposed as such. [...]

Now Equifax has joined the FTC in doing its utmost to force people to take the credit monitoring service over the cash. But rather than simply ask people to do so, Equifax has decided that red tape and easily missed emails is the best to reduce the number of active applicants.

Previously, previously, previously.

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14 Responses:

  1. -dsr- says:

    I'm thinking of opening up a free credit monitoring service...

    • Evren says:

      Right? No one said it had to be a good credit monitoring service.

      Also, after a brief chat with Intuit: I believe a Turbo account does count as credit monitoring (via TransUnion) if you've ever done your taxes via TurboTax. Even though they are adamant that it is credit monitoring, I'm worried that Equifax will claim that it's not "real" credit monitoring.

      Moreover, I find it hilarious that among the choices on the reconfirmation website there is an option to opt-out of the cash payment AND the credit monitoring. Is there some point to that other than in the hopes that people will automatically click it? Now that I think of it, maybe it's for those who now want to go after Equifax in some other fashion and don't want to forfeit that possibility for what will end up being $5.

  2. Jon says:

    I don't think any of this was a rule change. When submitting the claim for this a few months back I saw that you had to already be signed up with a credit monitoring service to get the cash. But obviously not everyone noticed that detail. They didn't make it obvious at the time because they didn't ask you for any information about the service you were signed up with, they just buried it in the fine print. But I suspected they weren't going to just fork over the cash without asking for details.

    • MattyJ says:

      "because they didn't ask you for any information about the service you were signed up with", which they should have, and could have, but did not do on the first form.

      Still unclear why they couldn't put the only new prompt ("Type in the name of the credit monitoring service you are using") on the original online form if they knew that they'd need that information at the time. No wait, it is pretty clear. They don't want people signing up for the money.

      Still calling 'scam' on this BS. But you better believe I spent five minutes of my day re-applying for my 'significantly reduced compensation'.

      My hope is that I actually do get less than the maximum amount, because that means enough people signed up to deplete the entire pool and left nothing for Equifax, which is what they're hoping to recover by changing the process after the fact.

      • Jon says:

        If they had put that question on the first form, you think it would have had less of a deterrent effect than asking it now? I don't think so.

        If there's money left over in the settlement fund, it gets spent on other forms of compensation - Equifax can't recover any of that money, they're on the hook to spend it all. However, if all the settlement funds get used up, they may have to spend up to $125 million extra (see FAQ 16). They're probably trying to make sure they don't have to do that.

      • Jon says:

        One other thing that might be happening: so many people signed up for $125 payments that the actual payment amount has been seriously reduced. If people expecting to get $125 wind up getting $5 instead, there's going to be another big stink about it when those checks start arriving. If they can move a lot of people into the credit monitoring pool instead, the people who do get checks will get larger checks, and there will be fewer complaints about the amount.

  3. Megohm says:

    I just had to jump through this little hoop. No surprise that they're now saying "oh, yeah? well prove it..." But super irritating that they include the following verbiage:

    Please note the amount you receive in connection with your alternative compensation cash payment claim may be significantly reduced depending on how many valid claims are ultimately submitted by other class members for this relief.

    (Translation: "we only agreed to pay a certain amount of money. We never agreed to compensate everyone we harmed.")

    Ironic side note: my confirmed credit monitoring service is one that I had already received as compensation for being the victim of a different data breach.

  4. nooj says:

    This unfortunately is common, especially for massive nationwide settlements. Remember when Carnival Cruise Lines got sued for robo-calling people? Yeah, they made you go back and jump through extra hoops. Remember when Western Union got sued for fraud? Yeah, they sent every claimant a letter afterward asking them to provide documents to support their claim.

    The standard routine is this: defendant corporation deliberately (illegally) reports minimal losses, the FTC settles for far too little, and--whoah--a deluge of people are claiming harm! Who knew it would be so many? So they design into the routine a followup or two that will invariable whittle down the numbers of successful claimants. It's bullshit.

    In the present case, I'm blown away that no one with power has demanded relief for every single person worldwide with a US credit report. ALL of us got fucked.

    • apm74 says:

      I jumped through that Carnival Cruise line hoop and I have yet to see any money out of them or any further communication since. Several possiblities:
      1. My hoop jumping didn't meet some minimum standard spelled out somewhere in the fine print.
      2. The phone numbers I could "prove" I owned weren't actually in the robocalled records somehow.
      3. The wheels of justice grind on slowly.

    • thielges says:

      It’s a similar whittling down routine with rebates. There are multiple hoops to jump through and each hoop filters out a few potential rebates. The second to last hoop is the funniest: often the rebate check is packaged so it looks like junk mail.

  5. Jim says:

    Nerdwallet, did not lie. My goal is to transition from the nth lowest to the nth highest score in their database. I could make an airtight case for $3M +/- $800k as a lead plaintiff, but don't have time for court.

  6. Jonny says:

    This should come as no shock. Everyone who needed to get paid has already gotten paid. The lawyers from both sides have walked off fat and happy. Equifax got a very stern slap on the wrist and a devastating finger wagging at. The FTC has flexed their might. It sounds like we are done here. Everything is exactly as it is intended to be. The system is working as expected.

    The lawyers will finish hovering up the last of the settlement money, as is their right. I'm pretty sure they can keep the people trying to collect a few bucks running in circles until they give up or the lawyer fees eat the last of the money and make the question pointless because there is nothing left to hand out.

    Good times.

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