Money For Nothing

Like most folks, I’m attracted to the idea of “money for nothing.”  Unfortunately, there aren’t too may ways to achieve that.  At least legally… or even illegally.

Before the Great Recession killed interest rates, I could take out a CD and earn a respectable five percent interest with almost no risk to principal.  Money for nothing.

Also, I understand that some folks in my birth country of the Philippines are “silent partners” with foreign businesses that need to meet a legal requirement for a Filipino partner.  They can earn a nice salary for lending their citizenship to the business.  They are not expected to show up and do any work.  Money for nothing.

If you’re lucky, you can be part of a class action settlement which will drop a few dollars in your pocket.  Whether or not you actually suffered any “damages.”

Recently, I received a share of a settlement involving fees charged by American Express for foreign currency transactions.  My inclusion in the settlement was based on the fact that I have an American Express card and also used American Express travel checks in Spain.

I did not use the card during my trips and I cashed the travel checks without a transaction fee because I used a Spanish bank (Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, which is the second largest Spanish bank and is in 40 countries, including the U.S.) that had a cooperative agreement with American Express.  Apparently, the fact that I never paid a transaction fee was irrelevant to receiving compensation.

I had the choice of receiving a specific amount or an amount based on how many days I had been out of the country.   During the covered period, I had been on a week long Caribbean cruise and three weeks in Spain.  I thought that would boost my settlement amount.  So I selected that option.  The amount I received would also depend on how many folks filed a claim.

My share of the settlement was $8.23.  (When I cashed the check, the bank teller said they had been cashing “a lot” of these.)  It wasn’t a windfall, but it was money for nothing.

Now,$ 8.23 isn’t a lot but I’m aware of worse.  A co-worker received a settlement involving Honda.  Her check was $1.49.  Let’s see…that’s a penny short of two 44-ounce bladder busters at the Circle K.

About eight weeks ago, I received a postcard.  Seems my Corolla is covered by a pending settlement with Toyota arising from the “stuck accelerator” debacle.  I was directed to a website to file my claim.

Based on the American Express settlement, and what I learned about the Honda settlement, I wasn’t sure I wanted to take the time to file a claim and then wait many months, if not a few years, for a check that might be less than $10.

Since I had until mid-July to file the claim, I decided to sleep on it.  I decided that even a token amount probably would be at least enough for my favorite meal: an order of Alfredo Garcia fajitas at Moe’s Southwest Grill.

So last Sunday, I filed my claim.  After providing certain information, including which of three groupings of states I resided in, I was informed that my claim had been accepted.  And that my estimated settlement (depending on how many folks actually file a claim) was…$87.50! Wow wow woweee! That’s about 10 orders of fajitas!

Now we’ll see how long it is until I actually see a check…  Money for nothing.

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2 responses to “Money For Nothing

  1. It appears you don’t have to report class action awards to the irs as long as they are under $600 a year. just an fyi. Now should you want to make a 501c3 donation of that award to a patriot group that’s less clear. Might take a couple of years to resolve, meanwhile interest and penalties accrue, and you must fill out a 17 page review of your political thoughts. But not to worry Big Brother really isn’t going to read it.

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