Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the status of my payment?

    American Express issued account credits to eligible Claimants who have a current American Express account on June 20, 2017. If you are a Settlement Class Member with a current American Express account and filed an eligible Claim, please make sure to check your account statement to confirm that American Express issued a credit to your account.

    The Settlement Administrator will issue settlement checks in July 2017 to eligible Claimants who no longer have a current American Express account.

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  2. Why did I received a check or credit?

    You received a check or credit because it was determined you were a member of the Settlement Class that:

    1. Had a consumer or small-business American Express credit card or charge card account with American Express Centurion Bank or American Express Bank, FSB; and
    2. Had a fixed annual percentage rate for purchases on the account that was increased or changed to a variable rate at any time between October 1, 2005 and December 31, 2010; or
    3. Had a fixed annual percentage rate for purchases on the account and were provided notice of an increase in the fixed rate or a change from the fixed rate to a variable rate at any time between October 1, 2005 and December 31, 2010.
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  3. Why didn’t I receive a check or credit?

    If you filed an eligible Claim and you have a current American Express account but did not receive an account credit, please make sure to check your account statement or for a credit that was applied by American Express on June 20, 2017.

    If you filed an eligible Claim and you do not have a current American Express account but did not receive a settlement check, your check may have returned to the Settlement Administrator as undeliverable. You should submit a signed written inquiry request to the Lopez v. AMEX Settlement Administrator at PO Box 3747, Portland, OR 97208-3747.

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  4. How was my payment calculated?

    American Express established a Settlement Fund of $6 million from which Settlement Class Members received settlement checks or account credits. Costs and fees related to Settlement and Notice administration were paid out of the $6 million Settlement Fund, as well as a Service Award for the Plaintiff, attorneys’ fees for Class Counsel, and reimbursement of litigation expenses, as approved by the Court. The total amount left for distribution to the Settlement Class is $3.5 million, which will be equally distributed to all Class Members who completed a valid Claim.

    The Settlement Agreement is available here and describes, in detail, the calculation and allocation of Settlement Funds.

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  5. Can I dispute my award or received more money?

    No. You cannot object to or dispute your award amount. The deadline to object to the settlement was August 30, 2016. The Court approved the Settlement on October 17, 2016 and it is no longer possible to object to the Settlement.

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  6. I filed multiple claims. Why didn’t I receive more?

    Each verified American Express account for which a valid and timely claim is made was eligible to receive a Claim Amount and contributed to your payment amount.

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  7. Can I request a check instead of an account credit?

    No. Only Settlement Class Members who no longer have a current American Express account will receive a settlement check.

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  8. How do I cash my check that says “THIS CHECK MAY NOT BE CASHED AT A CHECK CASHING AGENCY OR MONEY SERVICE BUSINESS”?

    The settlement check may be cashed, deposited, or otherwise negotiated at any bank or financial institution (like a credit union) that is not a check cashing agency or money servicing business. If you are unable to cash the check at a bank or other financial institution, you may request that a replacement check be issued to you without the ‘check cashing’ language.

    To request a replacement check, you must return the original check to the Settlement Administrator at: Lopez v AMEX Settlement Administrator, PO Box 3747, Portland, OR 97208-3747, accompanied by a written request asking that a replacement check be issued and mailed to you without the restrictive ‘check cashing’ language.

    You must submit your request for a replacement check by no later than November 11, 2017.

    If you cannot return the original check to the Settlement Administrator, your replacement check can only be issued and mailed to you after the original check passes its 120-day stale date.

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  9. How can I receive a new check if I lost mine?

    If you lost or destroyed the settlement check, you may request that a replacement check be issued and mailed to you.

    To request a replacement check, you must submit a signed written request to the Settlement Administrator at: Lopez v AMEX Settlement Administrator, PO Box 3747, Portland, OR 97208-3747, asking that a replacement check be issued and mailed to you.

    You must submit your request for a replacement check by no later than November 11, 2017.

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  10. What do I do if the person on the check is deceased?

    First, please go to the bank or financial institution in which you are a current account holder as they may negotiate the settlement check if documentation regarding the status of the primary account holder and your status as the beneficiary/executor is presented.

    If your bank or financial institution will not negotiate the check as-is, please return the original check and a copy of the deceased primary account holder’s death certificate to the Settlement Administrator along with a letter signed under penalty of perjury, declaring that you are lawfully designated to receive the funds on behalf of the deceased account holder.

    Please return the original check, your written reissue request and any supporting documentation to:

    Lopez v AMEX Settlement Administrator
    PO Box 3747
    Portland, OR 97208-3747

    You must submit your request for a replacement check by no later than November 11, 2017.

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  11. How can I have my check reissued under a new name (e.g. Last name Change)?

    First, please go to the bank or financial institution in which you are a current account holder as they may negotiate the settlement check if documentation regarding the status of your name change is presented.

    If your bank or financial institution will not negotiate the check as-is, please return the original check to the Settlement Administrator at: Lopez v AMEX Settlement Administrator, PO Box 3747, Portland, OR 97208-3747, accompanied by a signed written request asking that a replacement check be issued and mailed to you. Please include instructions for the name that should be included on the replacement check. You do not need to provide documentation for the name change.

    You must submit your request for a replacement check by no later than November 11, 2017.

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  12. What is the purpose of this website?

    A court authorized this website because you have a right to know about the proposed Settlement of this class action lawsuit, and about all of your options, before the Court decides whether to approve the Settlement. This website explains the lawsuit, the Settlement and your legal rights.

    Honorable S. James Otero, Central District of California, is overseeing this case. The case is known as Lopez, et al. v. American Express Bank, FSB, et al., United States District Court for the Central District of California, case no. CV 09-07335 SJO (MANx). The persons who sued are called the “Plaintiffs.” The Defendants are American Express Bank, FSB and American Express Centurion Bank (“American Express”).

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  13. What does it mean if I received a postcard or email about this settlement? What if I saw something online or in the newspaper about it?

    If you received an email or postcard describing this Settlement, that is because you may be part of the Settlement Class. (See FAQ 16 below for more information.)

    If you saw something in a newspaper or online about the Settlement, you still may be part of the Settlement Class.

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  14. What is this class action lawsuit about?

    A class action is a lawsuit in which the claims and rights of many people are decided in a single court proceeding. Representative Plaintiffs, also known as “Class Representatives,” assert claims on behalf of the entire Class.

    Here, the Class Representatives claim that the interest rate on credit and charge cards issued by American Express with a fixed interest rate could not be increased or changed to a variable interest rate unless the account was delinquent or in default. The Class Representatives assert claims against Defendants for violation of the federal Truth in Lending Act, violation of California’s Unfair Competition Law and breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing.

    The Court has provisionally certified the lawsuit as a class action for settlement purposes only (the “Settlement Class”). American Express denies that it did anything wrong and denies that this case would be certified as a class action in litigation.

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  15. Why is there a settlement?

    The Court has not decided in favor of the Class Representatives or American Express. Both sides agreed to a settlement to avoid the expense and distraction of litigation. The Class Representatives and the lawyers representing the Settlement Class (“Class Counsel”) think the Settlement is fair and recommend it for all persons in the Settlement Class.

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  16. How do I know if I am part of the Settlement?

    You are in the Settlement Class if you fit the following description:

    All persons or entities in the United States who: (a) had a consumer or small-business American Express credit card or charge card account with American Express Centurion Bank or American Express Bank, FSB; and (b) had a fixed annual percentage rate for purchases on the account that was increased or changed to a variable rate at any time between October 1, 2005 and December 31, 2010; or (c) had a fixed annual percentage rate for purchases on the account and were provided notice of an increase in the fixed rate or a change from the fixed rate to a variable rate at any time between October 1, 2005 and December 31, 2010.

    You are not part of the Settlement Class if your American Express card was issued by a bank other than American Express Centurion Bank or American Express Bank, FSB.

    You may exclude yourself from the Settlement Class by following the procedures described under FAQ 21. A person who fits the Settlement Class description and does not exclude himself or herself is a “Settlement Class Member.”

    If you have questions about whether you are part of the Settlement Class, you may call 1-877-803-8698 for more information.

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  17. What benefits does the Settlement provide?

    Settlement Fund:
    American Express will pay up to $6,000,000 into a fund (the “Settlement Fund”), which will cover:

    1. payments of up to $4,000,000 and not less than $3,500,000 in total to eligible persons in the Settlement Class who submit timely and valid Claim Forms;
    2. an award of attorneys’ fees and expenses to Class Counsel in an amount up to $1,600,000, as approved by the Court;
    3. service awards to the Class Representatives in an amount up to $5,000 each, as approved by the Court; and
    4. the costs of providing notice to the Settlement Class and administering the Settlement.

    Any funds that remain unpaid 120 days following the Distribution Date (as defined in the Settlement) shall be distributed on behalf of the Settlement Class on a cy pres basis to Consumer Federation of America’s America Saves campaign, or to another mutually agreeable recipient, which in either case shall be subject to approval by the Court.

    Payments:
    You are entitled to submit a claim for a payment if you are a Settlement Class Member and all of the following are true:

    • You are the Basic Cardmember on the account (not an Additional Cardmember).
    • Your fixed interest rate was changed to a variable rate or was increased to a higher rate for reasons other than delinquency or default.
    • Your account had an existing balance at the time of the rate change.
    • Your account was not delinquent or in default at the time of the rate change.
    • Before you received notice of the rate change, you believed that the fixed interest rate could not be changed to a variable rate or increased to a higher fixed rate if the account was not delinquent or in default.
    • You did not receive a full or partial refund of interest resulting from the rate change.
    • You did not ask for and receive a reduction of the new rate.
    • You have never had an American Express account that was written off or charged off.

    If all of these are true, you may follow the procedures described under FAQ 19 below to submit a Claim Form.

    No Portion of the Settlement Fund Will Return to American Express. Any amounts remaining in the Settlement Fund following the payment of valid claims, Settlement Costs and any award of Class Counsel’s attorneys’ fees and costs and any incentive awards, including any amounts attributable to returned checks and checks not cashed within one hundred twenty (120) days following the Distribution Date, shall be distributed on behalf of the Settlement Class on a cy pres basis to Consumer Federation of America’s America Saves campaign, or to another mutually agreeable recipient, which in either case shall be subject to approval by the Court. Payment of the Cy Pres Distribution shall be made no later than one hundred fifty (150) days following the Distribution Date.

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  18. How much will my payment be?

    The amount of your payment (“Claim Amount”) depends on how many valid and timely claims (“Eligible Claims”) are submitted by Settlement Class Members and how much it costs to provide notice to the Settlement Class and to administer the Settlement (“Settlement Costs”).

    The Class Representatives estimate that each eligible Settlement Class Member will receive an award of approximately $32.50 per Eligible Claim. This is an estimate only. The final payment amount will depend on the total number of Eligible Claims and the Settlement Costs.

    The Claim Amount will be determined as follows:

    • The Base Claim Amount (as defined in the Settlement Agreement) is $32.50.
    • If Settlement Costs are at least $500,000 and the number of Eligible Claims times the Base Claim Amount is less than $3,500,000, the Claim Amount will be $3,500,000 divided by the number of Eligible Claims.
    • If Settlement Costs are less than $500,000 and Settlement Costs plus the number of Eligible Claims times the Base Claim Amount is less than $4,000,000, the Claim Amount will be $4,000,000, less the Settlement Costs, divided by the number of Eligible Claims;
    • If the Claim Amount (as calculated above) times the number of Eligible Claims plus Settlement Costs, any award of Class Counsel’s attorneys’ fees and costs and any service awards would exceed $6,000,000, the Claim Amount will be $6,000,000 less Settlement Costs and any award of Class Counsel’s attorneys’ fees and costs and service awards, divided by the number of Eligible Claims.

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  19. How do I get my payment?

    To receive a payment, you must have submitted a Claim Form by August 30, 2016. It is no longer possible to submit a Claim Form.

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  20. What am I giving up to get a payment or stay in the Settlement Class?

    Unless you exclude yourself, you will stay in the Settlement Class, and you will be a Settlement Class Member. That means that you cannot sue, continue to sue or be part of any other lawsuit against American Express involving claims that are subject to the Settlement, including claims arising out of or related to the allegations against American Express in this case or that arise out of or relate to the administration of the Settlement. It also means that all of the Court’s orders will apply to you and legally bind you.

    The Settlement Agreement specifically describes the claims you are releasing (“Released Claims” or “Release”) in detail, so read it carefully. The Release provides, in part:

    Upon the date that the Judgment becomes Final, each and all Settlement Class Members and their respective heirs, executors, administrators, representatives, agents, attorneys, partners, successors, predecessors in interest, assigns and any authorized users of their accounts will be deemed to have fully released and forever discharged Defendants and each and all of their present, former and future direct and indirect parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries, agents, successors, predecessors in interest and/or any financial institutions, corporations, trusts, or other entities that may hold or have held any interest in any account or any receivables relating to any account, or any receivables or group of receivables, or any interest in the operation or ownership of Defendants, and all of the aforementioneds’ respective officers, directors, employees, attorneys, shareholders, agents, vendors (including processing facilities) and assigns, from any and all rights, duties, obligations, claims, actions, causes of action or liabilities, whether arising under local, state or federal law (including, without limitation, under any state consumer-protection and/or unfair and deceptive practices acts, the Truth in Lending Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1601 et seq., and Regulation Z, 12 C.F.R. pt. 1026), whether by constitution, statute, contract, common law or equity, whether known or unknown, suspected or unsuspected, asserted or unasserted, foreseen or unforeseen, actual or contingent, liquidated or unliquidated, as of the date of Final Judgment in the Action: (1) that arise out of or relate to the allegations, causes of actions and facts that were asserted in the Action; or (2) that arise out of or relate in any way to the administration of the Settlement. The foregoing release does not waive rights of any Settlement Class Members to dispute amounts owed on individual accounts or to seek legal recourse for any other matters related to their accounts other than those that arise out of or relate to the allegations, causes of actions and facts that were asserted in the Action or that arise out of or relate in any way to the administration of the Settlement.

    Without limiting the foregoing, the Released Claims specifically extend to claims that Plaintiffs and the Settlement Class Members do not know or suspect to exist in their favor at the time that the Settlement, and the releases contained therein, becomes effective. This paragraph constitutes a waiver of all provisions, rights, and benefits of all state or common-law rules limiting the release of known or unknown claims, including, without limitation, as to any other applicable law, section 1542 of the California Civil Code, which provides:

    A GENERAL RELEASE DOES NOT EXTEND TO CLAIMS THAT THE CREDITOR DOES NOT KNOW OR SUSPECT TO EXIST IN HIS OR HER FAVOR AT THE TIME OF EXECUTING THE RELEASE, WHICH, IF KNOWN BY HIM OR HER, MUST HAVE MATERIALLY AFFECTED HIS OR HER SETTLEMENT WITH THE DEBTOR.

    If you have any questions about the Release or what it means, you can talk to Class Counsel, listed under FAQ 22, for free, or you can, at your own expense, talk to your own lawyer.

    The Release does not apply to persons in the Settlement Class who timely exclude themselves from the Settlement.

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  21. How do I exclude myself from the Settlement?

    The deadline to exclude yourself from the Settlement was August 30, 2016. The Court approved the Settlement on October 17, 2016 and it is no longer possible to exclude yourself from the Settlement.

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  22. Do I have a lawyer in this case?

    The Court appointed the following attorneys and firms to represent you and the Settlement Class as Lead Class Counsel:

    Marc R. Stanley
    Stanley Law Group
    6116 N. Central Expressway
    Suite 1500
    Dallas, TX 75206
    Michael D. Braun
    Braun Law Group, P.C.
    10680 Pico Blvd.
    Suite 280
    Los Angeles, CA 90064

    You will not be charged for these lawyers’ services. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense.

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  23. How will the Class Counsel and Class Representatives be paid?

    Class Counsel will ask the Court to approve attorneys’ fees and costs awards of up to a total of $1,600,000. This payment will compensate Class Counsel for investigating the facts, litigating the case and concluding the Settlement. Class Counsel will also request service awards of $5,000 each for the two Representative Plaintiffs to compensate them for their time and effort.

    The Court may award less than the amounts requested by Class Counsel and the Representative Plaintiffs. You may object to Class Counsel’s application for attorneys’ fees and costs and/or the service awards. For more information about making an objection, see FAQ 24 below.

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  24. How do I tell the Court that I do not think the Settlement is fair?

    The deadline to object to the Settlement was August 30, 2016. The Court approved the Settlement on October 17, 2016 and it is no longer possible to object to the Settlement.

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  25. When and where will the Court decide whether to approve the Settlement?

    The Court held a hearing (the “Final Approval Hearing”) at 10:00 A.M. on October 17, 2016 before the Honorable S. James Otero, in Courtroom 1 of the United States District Court for the Central District of California, located at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, California 90012.

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  26. May I speak at the hearing?

    The Court held a Final Approval Hearing on October 17, 2016. It is no longer possible to speak at the Hearing

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  27. What happens if I do nothing at all?

    If you are a Settlement Class Member and do nothing, you will not receive a payment after the Court approves the Settlement and any appeals are resolved. You will also be bound by the Settlement. In order to receive a payment, you must submit a Claim Form. Unless you exclude yourself, you won’t be able to start a lawsuit, continue with a lawsuit or be part of any other lawsuit against American Express about the issues in this case, and all the decisions and judgments by the Court in this case will bind you, as will the Release.

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  28. How do I get more information?

    This website summarizes the proposed Settlement. More details are in the Settlement Agreement. You may review the Settlement Agreement, where you will also find answers to common questions about the Settlement and other information to help you determine whether you are part of the Settlement Class and whether you are eligible for a payment. You may request a mailed copy of the Settlement Agreement by calling the Settlement Administrator toll-free at 1-877-803-8698.

    DO NOT CALL OR WRITE TO THE CLERK OF THE COURT FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE SETTLEMENT. DO NOT CONTACT AMERICAN EXPRESS ABOUT THE SETTLEMENT. TELEPHONE REPRESENTATIVES ARE NOT AUTHORIZED TO CHANGE THE TERMS OF THE SETTLEMENT OR THE NOTICE.

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NOTICE: This website provides a summary of the Settlement and is provided for informational purposes only. In the event of any discrepancy between the text of this website and the original text upon which it is based, the text of the original document shall prevail.

Questions? Contact the Settlement Administrator at 1-877-803-8698 or by email at info@aprsettlement.com

Important Dates

  • Class Period
    October 1, 2005 through December 31, 2010
  • August 30, 2016
    Postmark deadline to request exclusion
  • August 30, 2016
    Postmark deadline to object
  • August 30, 2016
    Postmark and online Claim Form submission deadline
  • October 17, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. pst
    Final Approval Hearing
  • October 17, 2016
    Final Approval Order and Judgement Entered
  • June 20, 2017
    Disbursement of Account Credits
  • July 2017
    Disbursement of Check Payments