The Federal Trade Commission said Thursday consumers who have already requested their checks – intended as subsidies for external credit monitoring services – will soon be contacted by the third-party administrator handling Equifax settlement requirements. The administrator will give consumers the opportunity to switch benefits, the FTC said.
So many Americans have applied for a cash refund that each check is likely to be small – "nowhere near" the $ 1
"The alternative to obtaining a refund for alternative credit monitoring, which was originally described in the class action settlement, was never intended to be a cash payment for all affected consumers," the FTC said in a statement.
The money is not first welcomed, first served; $ 31 million will be shared between those who submitted a credit monitoring grant claim. After 4.5 years, more money could be added to the fund, but only those who submitted before January 22, 2020 would be eligible to receive it.
Much of the rest of the $ 300 million is devoted to offering free credit monitoring. Consumers may also be reimbursed for the time they may have spent on freezing their credit or fighting fraudulent charges, and for any loss out of pocket they may have suffered up to a total of $ 20,000.
On social media, consumers have expressed confusion that regulators apparently did not foresee the outflow of demand for cash.
The FTC's move this week also caught fire from Capitol Hill.
"With only $ 31 million to be split by all Americans who submitted to receive their $ 125 check, Americans have the choice of receiving a penny to have their credit information spilled online or receiving virtually worthless credit monitoring, "Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said in a statement Thursday. "Another clear failure of the FTC."
However, the FTC said that the offer of free credit monitoring is a good deal.
"The free credit monitoring is worth much more than the cash refund option. The market value would be hundreds of dollars a year," the agency said in its statement. "And this monitoring service is probably stronger than what consumers may already have, because it monitors their credit report at all three nationwide credit reporting agencies, and it comes with up to $ 1 million in identity theft insurance and individualized identity recovery services."