I noticed two unusual refunds on my Citibank credit card bills last month — both from “Schwartz Settlement Refund” in the amounts of $1.97 and $6.85. Of course, so did hundreds of other bloggers around the web, most with refunds in the range of $0.03 to $0.73. I paused a while on the hunt for information as I found it kind of funny to read a dozen other blogs all rambling about the same mysterious topic. I became even more curious as to why I got so much higher of a refund compared to everyone else.
Of course, none of the information I found on the other blog websites was useful or even remotely accurate (I saw everything cited from foreign currency exchange overcharges to some form of forgery), so I had to rely on the traditional media for answers. *gasp*
According to the Miami Herald, the Schwartz case, which originated in California on behalf of Elliott Schwartz, concerned Citibank’s practice of not crediting payments on credit cards if received after 10 a.m. Although a 24-hour grace period prevented late fees from being assessed in most cases, the extra day’s interest was charged anyway.
Citibank agreed to a settlement of $18 million in cash for the plaintiffs, but since there were more than 20 million of them, the majority of people won’t even get a buck.
If the average person gets such a minuscule settlement, that sure makes it sound like I’ve been assessed way more in interest charges than most. In a way, I had been repeatedly and unjustly charged late fees and had already complained to Citibank but those charges were all related to their self-imposed fluctuation of due dates and my steady electronic payments. I got a full refund of all those assessed late fees, too!
I’ll take the $8.82. Wouldn’t mind a piece of the $7.2 million that the lawyers representing us plaintiffs got, though!
Sears settled with customers for improperly done wheel balancing. Customers got $2.50 and while lawyers got only $2.45. (Of course, you should follow the $2.50 with “per tire” and the $2.45 with “million”.) Televangelist Jim Bakker’s Praise The Lord Ministries settled with 165,000 defrauded Christians. Lawyers: 2.5 million; Christians: 1.2 million (about 6.54 each) Cosmetics manufacturers and retailers settled price-fixing charges. Lawyers: $24 million; Customers: A free cosmetic. (Each!)
There are fewer than a handful of attorneys that I have ever met that I trust to hold my wallet, let alone the pursestrings of a company held hostage. What do you mean by reading this during the evening, Sean?! You know you’re not supposed to be reading these blurbs until the following morning! Now I don’t have anything left for you to read tomorrow! 😉 – RDL
So, write more! (And maybe, someday, I’ll actually add something to the Sandbox!)
for some reason, in addition to various credits as described above, I also received a check for 50 cents in the mail this week.
In May, in the latest blooming of the lawyers’ class-action money tree, California law firms asked a court to approve $258 million in fees for their handling of a lawsuit against Microsoft Corp., amounting to $3,000 an hour for the lead attorney (who billed for 6,000 hours of his own time, even though three dozen lawyers from more than 30 firms had a piece of the case) and $1,000 an hour for administrative work, all for the following consumer bonanza: Each victim will get a coupon worth $5 to $29 toward the purchase of another Microsoft product (coupons that are often routinely ignored by consumers in these settlements, as not worth the bother). [San Francisco Chronicle-AP, 5-12-04]
You MUST cash your $.03 or $.45 or $.73 or whatever check. Otherwise Citibank/AT&T keep the money.
i am an ex citibank employee. i was employed at citi as a customerservice and sales rep at the time of the settlement. we were told not to tell the cardmembers that the refund was placed to their accounts due to the questionable billing practices of citicards. they all but admitted to us that they were at fault. if i were you i would sever my relationship with citibank at once, just to make sure that you don’t get scammed.
I’ve been filing all of my old credit card statements, and I noticed this refund on a statement from late 2003. Glad I found this post; thanks!
(CB has its faults, but it is AWESOME that they give me access to every single statement I’ve ever had with them (back to 1997!) completely free of charge.)
I received a check today overnight from this settlement is it real.