Lawsuit Seeks Damage Relief Over TSP Website Problems

A lawsuit labeled as a “class action complaint” seeks damages for TSP participants claiming harm as a result of problems with the TSP website unveiled in June 2022.

Complaints About TSP Website Unveiled in June 2022

Following a raft of complaints from investors in the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), a class action lawsuit was filed on June 1, 2023, seeking damages for those who claim to have suffered “actual injury, economic damages, and other injury and actual harm.”

The new website for the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) was met with numerous complaints from users after a rough start as soon as it went live and TSP participants started to use it

Starting in June 2022, the TSP rolled out several new features.

Changes to the TSP Website

Changes to the TSP website were more than a website refresh. The changes included an overhaul of almost everything behind the TSP’s platform and its underlying technology. A key premise behind the changes was to ensure the TSP system was prepared to be able to incorporate future changes.

Changes included a replacement of FRTIB’s core record-keeping system, re-platforming the TSP customer service contact center technology, re-platforming of “My Account” and the TSP Agency/Payroll portal, and the introduction of more online services, features, and security standards. It also included a new mutual fund window giving TSP participants access to more than 5,000 mutual funds.

In August 2022, Accenture Federal Services (AFS) provided a report to the FRTIB about the operation of the TSP website since the rollout of the new platform and features.

AFS apologized to the TSP board members and plan participants and admitted the problems with the rollout tarnished the TSP brand. According to the minutes of the meeting, the underlying issues that led to the initial problems were:

(1) underestimating the expected call volume, and (2) the establishment of new online credentials to access the AFS-managed system. (An AFE representative) stated that AFS calculated the expected post-transition call volume by doubling the FRTIB’s previous single largest daily call volume. However, the actual number of calls was six times that amount, and AFS was not prepared or staffed for that, creating a negative participant experience. (AFS) acknowledged that the problem was further exacerbated by requiring all participants to establish new online credentials. Although this was done to prevent fraud, the process was overly complex, creating account access issues and difficulty for many participants. Within the first two weeks, AFS worked to remediate both issues, but (the AFS representative) acknowledged that these two underlying issues were significant.

Minutes of the Meeting of the Board Members, August 24, 2022

Class Action Lawsuit Seeking Financial Restitution

The lawsuit filing states, “Plaintiffs believe that the Class consists of hundreds, if not thousands, of persons and entities that were harmed by Defendants’ conduct.” The lawsuit cites defendants as Accenture Federal Services, Alight Solutions, LLC, Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board (FRTIB) members, and the executive director of the FRTIB.

After introducing the revised TSP website, several actions were taken to improve service, and many of the problems were reportedly resolved.

There has been continuing fallout for the program due to user issues. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has agreed to investigate the issues, and responding to complaints from constituents, DC Congressional Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton introduced a bill to create a new Inspector General position for the FRTIB.

The lawsuit is seeking financial restitution, including an “award of appropriate damages, including punitive damages, for Plaintiffs’ and Class members’ losses.” It is also asking the court for a “declaration that Defendants are financially responsible for all Class notice and the administration of Class relief” and “An order awarding any applicable statutory and civil penalties.”

Listed Causes of Action Against TSP and Contractors

The lawsuit alleges that “AFS and Alight failed to adequately prepare to take over the TSP and the FRTIB, and the executive director (of FRTIB) failed to oversee AFS and Alight’s work in order to ensure that they fulfilled their legal obligations owed to class members under (the Federal Employees Retirement System Act.)”

The document filed with the Court alleges the following causes of action as a basis for the relief that is being sought:

  • Violations of the Federal Employee Retirement Systems Act of 1986 Against AFS and Alight
  •  Violations of the Federal Employee Retirement Systems Act of 1986 (Against the FRTIB Defendants)
  •  Negligence (Against AFS and Alight)
  •  Breach of Contract (Against AFS)
  •  Unjust Enrichment (Against AFS and Alight)
  •  Common Law Breach of Fiduciary Duty (Against AFS and Alight)

Readers seeking information about the lawsuit can contact one of the law firms filing the lawsuit with this form on their website.

About the Author

Ralph Smith has several decades of experience working with federal human resources issues. He has written extensively on a full range of human resources topics in books and newsletters and is a co-founder of two companies and several newsletters on federal human resources. Follow Ralph on Twitter: @RalphSmith47