As I wrote earlier this week, the settlement between the FTC and Equifax left only a $31 million money pot for consumers to share if they already have credit monitoring services. Well, it seems that the pot has run dry already, just a week after the settlement was announced.
Robert Schoshinski of the FTC:
The public response to the settlement has been overwhelming, and we’re delighted that millions of people have visited ftc.gov/Equifax and gone on to the settlement website’s claims form.
But there’s a downside to this unexpected number of claims. First, though, the good: all 147 million people can ask for and get free credit monitoring. There’s also the option for people who certify that they already have credit monitoring to claim up to $125 instead. But the pot of money that pays for that part of the settlement is $31 million. A large number of claims for cash instead of credit monitoring means only one thing: each person who takes the money option will wind up only getting a small amount of money. Nowhere near the $125 they could have gotten if there hadn’t been such an enormous number of claims filed.
Consumers could never be fully compensated for the impact of this breach, but announcing this as a settlement of over $575 million with $300 million going towards credit monitoring services is misleading at best. Equifax also did not have to admit culpability, and the CEO responsible retired with a compensation package with a minimum $18 million value — more than half this $31 million pot that could be split between 147 million affected consumers.
This settlement is infuriating and insulting.