Posted by Chuck on September 8, 2017
Class Action Lawsuits

Published on September 8th, 2017 | by Chuck


If Equifax Settles the Class Lawsuit for $70B, How Much Will You Get? $489 (or not)

Equifax was hit with a massive data breach that affected up to 143 million American’s. Bloomberg reports that a class lawsuit is already being prepared against Equifax, for up to $70 Billion. A couple of people from Oregon retained hotshot lawyers to litigate/settle the case.

Equifax knew and should have known that failure to maintain adequate technological safeguards would eventually result in a massive data breach. Equifax could have and should have substantially increased the amount of money it spent to protect against cyber-attacks but chose not to.

So if there were 143M people affected, and they settle for $70B, we’ll each get $489.50, right (70,000,000,000 ÷ 143,000,000)? At least that would be a silver lining, no?

No, not at all. For three reasons, we won’t be walking away with that amount of money:

  • First, this is just a number being thrown out by the lawyers. In all likelihood it won’t materialize.
  • Second, presumably, the $70B includes the lawyer fees and other costs. I’m not sure how much to knock off for that, but probably a significant amount.
  • Finally, Equifax only has assets of around $6B and market cap of around $17B, so I don’t see how they’ll actually be paying that amount, even if the court would obligate them. Company would bankrupt before that point.

It’s interesting that a couple of people jumped to file the class lawsuit. I assume their thinking is that they’ll be eligible for more compensation as is typically the case with class settlements that the official plaintiffs get more. In this case it seems a bit odd since they weren’t whistleblowers of any sort, just names on the paper.

Important note: it’s already been discussed that if you sign up for the one-year free Equifax credit monitoring offer, you might lose out on your right to any class settlement, so I’d hold off on that for now. I imagine they’ll take that clause out eventually after the uproar.

In conclusion, let me just make clear that I am no more knowledgeable about class lawsuits than anyone else, but it’s fun to talk about! Chime in below if you know more.

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Hey, just wanted to point out a little typographical error to keep this site looking professional! First paragraph you’ve got ” $143M American’s” which I can only imagine should read “143M Americans”. Could cause some confusion, so I just wanted to make sure it got fixed up!

Thanks for all your hard work on the site!

Just wanted to point out that you are not losing out on your right to be part of a class action lawsuit due to signing up for credit protection.

They have this posted which states: “2). NO WAIVER OF RIGHTS FOR THIS CYBER SECURITY INCIDENT
In response to consumer inquiries, we have made it clear that the arbitration clause and class action waiver included in the Equifax and TrustedID Premier terms of use does not apply to this cybersecurity incident.”

It’s about halfway down the page and listed as number 2.

I am paying another company – why would I trust Equifax to monitor my credit profile when they are the ones that breached it. I want my money back for paying Experian a monthly charge to watch my credit reports. Not fair – they get to collect your information – breach it and expect us to waive rights or pay for credit monitoring. I now have a new bill each month because of them and would of rather use that money for something else – anything else. Equifax should pay for the other company’s monitoring I signed up for because of their breach – only reason I have new payment. Not fair

How can someone file a claim against EQUIFAX? Is there a website that has forms to do online?

Check, if approved they’ll pay for your filing fees, and want their cut of about 30%…Sue for the maximum allowed $25K in my state.

Does anyone knows if I enroll in the TrustedID Premier, will I still be entitled for the potential class action settlement compensation?

Per the ToC you can’t, but. Who know it will hold up in court…..

They removed that, if you enroll in the TrustedID Premier, you can still sue.

“Despite initial reports of legal language on the Equifax website that prevented consumers from suing the company if they signed up for the free monitoring, Equifax said Friday that particular provision would not apply to this breach.”

Yes. You are still entitled to participate in a class action lawsuit. Talk a look at their website:

It says it under # 2.

So at this point it would seem I should just lie low and wait for things to develop? Not sure, of course, if my info was in the breach.

you can check on the site before enrolling / waiving your right to the class action proceeds

They say I’m involved. Not thrilled about “enrolling” with the very same people who got into this mess… Don’t know what to do.

You are not waiving your right to participate in a law suit if you enroll.

Read right on their page, # 2.

I would like to represent the class too. More $$$

Agree – this is an outrageous number. Equifax would just go under. $500m – $2b(worst case) is my estimate.

I defend companies from class action lawsuits. The attorneys’ fees for settlements typically can be expected to be 25% to 33%. I would think that the “couple of people [who] jumped” were the attorneys, not the named plaintiffs. This also is typical for class litigation. Much like how all consumers pay for credit card rewards, all consumers pay for these attorneys’ fees.

“Much like how all consumers pay for credit card rewards, all consumers pay for these attorneys’ fees.”

Sure, but what’s the alternative? I’m not going to pay a lawyer to go to court for my theoretical $100 in perceived damages.

I’m not saying that there is a good alternative. I’m just explaining that class action litigation, in these cases, is not a pro-consumer alternative.

For example, Target had a data breach affecting 110 million consumers. The settlement granted final approval in Dec. 2015 provided attorneys with $6.75M in fees and provided a $10M fund for consumers. To receive a payment of up to $10,000, individuals could submit documentation of actual losses. Without documentation, individuals would receive a share of the remainder of the $10M, if any, existing after paying out documented losses.

In other words, if you had suffered actual losses, your claim was capped at $10k. If you had not suffered actual losses, the most you could receive was $0.09 (when assuming nobody else had documentation of actual loss).

The attorneys enjoyed their $6.75M. Target enjoyed the fact that everyone who actually suffered documented losses was capped at $10,000 and those who did not submit claims or discovered losses after the claims period released their claims.

I look forward to my ~$.75

Honestly, I don’t care how much the payout is as long as Equifax gets rolled over big time here, they really screwed the pooch.

I don’t think we’ll get that much! The way I see it by the end we’ll each be entitled less than one cent, which is unreceivable, and therefore will be retained by the lawyers.

wow $0.75 so generous! 😛

someone on reddit tossed out $5 which I think is still probably too high.

I do hope they get taken to the cleaners though even if we get next to nothing because they really did screw the pooch here. The data for basically every adult American…

Though I suppose most of the typical readers on this site aren’t the ones who are going to get their identity stolen as we’d be too quick to respond.

I think the real payday for the crooks (the thiefs, not EQ) is the poor people in the ~500-650 range who don’t manage their credit much and struggle to make ends meet.

Not just adult Americans. A lot of people don’t think to protect their children’s information but they’re just as vulnerable if not more so because no one thinks to look at their security but it happens.

I don’t mind getting my name added as a plaintiff.. Are there any hotshot lawyers interested ?

I’m guessing they will manage to get it under 85 million. And that’s generous estimate.

Equifax should offer free insurance for next 5-10 years to the folks affected for id theft – Seems fair for them to do it.

this reminds me a lot of the Volkswagen fall out…after awhile I eventually got some cash, but it took awhile. Lets wait till the smoke settles on this and see what happens. We also have an administration that doesn’t give a doody about the consumer and hence, they will decide at the end what really happens to them, if anything.

Not if his information is affected too. I can imagine a lot of people want to buy his information and open up a casino lol.

In seriousness, i don’t expect consumer will get anything good out of this. Just keep checking my credit info and possibly freeze my credit until i really need it.

So, freezing all is the best in this case?

Bigger question:
If a thief has all your info, can they not just unfreeze your credit as they like?

you receive a pin, now unless you give them your pin no they wont be able to

Wasn’t the previous administration the one that implemented the plan to use government funds for corporate bailouts so that all those who took big risks and lost (a possible outcome in a capitalist society) faced lesser consequences and continued collecting ungodly compensation just a short while after the crisis (funny how government power can be abused to favor the wealthy and political elite)? Meanwhile the stock market soared under ZIRP while the average Joe was left with years of stagnant wages and shiny new healthcare plans that all of sudden costed 2x/3x as much as before. Really miss those politicians who looked out for the “consumer”

Actually it was largely the previous PREVIOUS administration (Bush #43) that “implemented the plan” to which you refer… that was in summer/fall of ’07; well before Obama took office.

This whining sounds like someone probably missed out on the stock market rally

But, back to the point of the post– if Equifax has to take a $70 billion hit, that’s the end of Equifax. We’re not getting any class action money.

More likely they’ll settle for a few million and be done with it, and as mentioned by others, the lawyers will keep most of the cash and we’ll get little or nothing.

Bottom line… pay attention to your bank and credit card statements, and you’ll probably be fine. And given that, you have no real claim against EQ– including as a member of a clas– because you have no damages.

That’s BS. People that have worked and saved all their life, especially those who spent most of their lives before these credit report companies dictated who should and should not be credit worthy, are now exposed to hackers having their most private and critical information and potentially having their lifes saving taken. The stress and duress resulting from EquiFax incompetence and/or greed is real. EquiFax and the other credit data companies have the capability to ruin your life but take none of the responsibility when they screw up. Instead they offer a year of “free” service that they will charge you for on the 366nd day of coverage if you forget to end it. If you end the service, you stolen information is still out there,so you’re still screwed.

I mostly agree with you. But the problem is that “stress and duress” is difficult to quantify. If I’m missing $100 from my bank account, then sure, courts should force the bank/CRA/whomever to make me whole by giving me my $100 back.

The unfortunate reality is that our legal system is not really designed to handle this; especially not in any way that would benefit a consumer.

Also I would argue that your statement that data “are now exposed to hackers” is generally irrelevant. Ever since anyone put any piece of information in a computer (or for that matter, even wrote it down), the potential for “hacking” has always existed.

I agree that EQ screwed up. Those with quantifiable damages should be compensated. But the fact that their inadequate security practices “stressed someone out” or “hurt your feelings” is not really grounds for compensation.


Actually, they could be liable to give 25c per person for punitive damages. 😉

Actually you are also incorrect, the Bush administration was responsible for forming TARP and developing a framework, but the implementation and distribution of funds was done almost completely under the Obama admin and democratic controlled House/Senate…that was a very complicated time so I get why you may be confused by what actually happened, and to some degree its all semantics, because my point is that there doesnt exist a political party that protects the “consumer”, unless by protect the consumer you mean take action to redistribute wealth

Wrong. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has done a lot to protect consumers. The GOP wants to get rid of it, but cannot because the agency is too popular.

He’s just a typical liberal, blame Trump for anything and everything, as is always the case.

Nobody said anything about Trump. Get over it, dude.

Yeah, there’s one in every group.

They might have significant insurance.

I mean $70B is high no matter what, but there may be a possibility for a bigger settlement than you’d think.

Which insurance company or conglomerate can handle a $70B suit? If I’m not mistaken, this would be by far the biggest suit in history. 70B is an absurd number that’ll never happen.

Absurd? Look at the number of people involved and the personal information they let out. Yes, they let out because of inadequate cyber protection. They should be shut down.

I second that motion. The only solution to their lack of responsibility and cavalier attitude toward the issue is to shut them down and prevent their incompetent principles from ever doing business in the financial field again. But, let’s face it, that won’t happen.

Ok…489 each…so lets imagine
If an average Joe …get someone’s data..put it for sale on dark net and gets caught…his punishment…for all the damage he can cause is 489 dlrs….
How stupid is that…how much protection these huge ” money makers”…with private…confident information was supposed to be unreachable…is stolen…they make money with your personal and a whole life information…they screw but they don’t pay…
Your life turn up side down…now what?
Don’t worry…489 dlrs are on the way…or not.

does anyone know about this bot that will file the claim for you…I read all the stuff you guys discussed,is their anyone that can tell m about the bot

Man, their crappy website says “based on the info, you are impacted” to whatever random stuff you enter there. Just check for yourself guys.
Get the word out there.

I entered my cats name and got the same response. No kidding

Imo, dont signup for the credit monitoring until they remove that clause.

If your info was impacted, freeze your credit for 90 days. Annoying, yes, but necessary.

Check your report NOW and file taxes ASAP

If the hackers have your social and all other data, can’t they just unfreeze it as they need?

The arbitration clause is not in effect if you enroll in the heat of monitoring. Read this:

#2 about halfway down the page on their own website:

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