Equifax Settlement is a Joke, That Keeps . . . Taking

Logo of Equifax with the company name in bold, red uppercase letters, oriented diagonally from bottom left to top right, reminiscent of the ongoing Equifax Settlement.

The Equifax settlement is a joke. The company has agreed to give out funds for the data breach. It seems like most are getting $5.21 via PayPal, Check, or Pre-paid card.  Seems like a fair price for giving out your full name, address, email, social security, and drivers license.

I am not sure if anyone is reading the pre-paid TOS agreement. Now granted, it is a bit long at 9 pages, but has some fun facts like . . . mainly FEES. 

In the terms of accepting the prepaid card, you agree to this cool fee:

Inactivity Fee. $5.95

You will be charged $5.95 each month after you have not completed a transaction using your card for 6 months

A table row showing an inactivity fee of $5.95, charged each month after six months of no transactions using the card—much like how the Equifax Settlement is a joke that keeps . . . taking.

Now, there are a few ways to read that clause due to the severe lack of punctuation:

 1.  You have to use the card within six months, or you will be charged $5.95 per month. (Most likely scenario). 

– or – 

2.  Once you use the card, you have six months to use the card again, or you will be charged $5.95 per month. 

– or –

3.  You will be charged $5.95 for six months in any month you don’t complete a transaction. 

So best case, you get a settlement of $5.21 and have to use it quickly. More likely case, is you forget out about the $5.21 and end up with a zero balance after six months. Worst case, somehow you end up owing money!

Owe money? Yes. It is not clear if the prepaid card company means you will be on the hook for the $5.95 until your card is at zero balance, or if you are charged forever even if you have a zero balance (and actually owe them money). You could read it that way if you take the sentence as a whole – meaning you will be charged $5.95 each month for 6 months

After reading the nine page agreement, I did not see anything about zero balances or when this fee applies or stops. So it could mean you lose your money and actually owe money (unlikely, but fun to think about). 

Now I don’t think they would come after anyone for $5.95 to $35.70 (six months of fees), but you ever know. Maybe they need to update the TOS to be more clear or face a new class action. 

PS:  I thought it was illegal to put a time limit and have post sales fees on prepaid or gift cards depending on your state. So maybe this can brew an entirely new class action on the millions of accounts they are funding from the original breach. 

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