More than 1 million Oregonians who used a debit card to buy gas at Oregon ARCO and am/pm stations were unfairly and illegally charged a debit card fee. As a result of a class action lawsuit, they will receive a settlement check for $94.42.
However, according to Oregon Consumer Justice (OCJ), a nonprofit organization committed to advancing the rights of consumers, while 1.7 million settlement checks were cut and distributed in 2019, 27% of the checks were NOT cashed. To stop this from happening again and to assure recipients that the settlement checks are valid, OCJ launched an English and Spanish public awareness campaign and website at ThisCheckisReal.org / EsteCheckqueEsReal.org.
Along with public awareness, OCJ recognized that a large percentage of check recipients are in low income and rural areas where under and unbanked populations are relatively high. For many of these Portland residents, they may have had to pay fees to access their money, or potentially not access it at all. To increase access, OCJ partnered with Beneficial State Bank to offer convenient and free check cashing services at the Bank’s Portland branches. Check recipients did not need to open an account to cash their settlement checks.