Many people have elected to file claims for at least $125 with Equifax as part of its data breach settlement instead of opting in to its credit monitoring product. Unfortunately, applicants may not get a full $125 depending on how many people sign up. The legal team representing the plaintiffs say they cannot comment on how many people have filed claims so far because they are still assessing which of those claims are valid and made by class members.
Here is the issue. The fund for paying those $125 payouts is initially capped at $31 million out of the larger consumer fund. If more than 248,000 people claim the $125 payments, the amount will be prorated for less than $125 at first. A clause in the settlement lifts that $31 million cap in a period of 4½ years if Equifax has not spent its entire consumer fund. So if all of the money for the consumer fund part of the settlement isn’t paid out by then, there is a good chance you will get the rest of the $125 not sent with the initial payments.
It is important to note that an applicant will not forfeit their ability to file claims for out-of-pocket losses if they claim the $125. Applicants can claim up to 10 hours of lost time at a rate of $25 per hour for any time trying to deal with the fallout of the breach. If you have documentation for the time spent, you can claim up to 20 hours of lost time. That money for lost time comes out of a separate $31 million fund and doesn’t affect the $125 payouts.
The actual filing deadline for the initial round of payments is January 22, 2020, so don’t anticipate seeing any Equifax money anytime soon. Affected parties that prefer to reserve the right to take legal action against Equifax must mail Equifax a “request for exclusion” by November 19, 2019. Failure to respond at all could mean that you inadvertently waive your right to sue Equifax at a later date.