Even if you’re already a coupon cutter, deal finder and big saver, you might be missing one huge way to make free money – class-action lawsuits. You may be owed money, and you’ll be keeping the big companies that are ethically challenged in line.
Start filing claims in class-action lawsuits. It’s fast, easy and can result in you winning hundreds of dollars.
Class actions are basically group lawsuits. If you’ve been wronged by a company in the past, you may have found it hard to justify spending a lot of money on a lawyer with no guaranteed gain. When large groups of people have complaints about a company, however, they can file a class action and get their money without expensive legal fees.
Upcoming and Open Class Action Suits
Here are some class action settlements you may be eligible for a piece of this month.
Modernize Cold Calls
Modernize, a home improvement referral company, agreed to an $800,000 settlement over claims that they violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
This class action suit accused Modernize of cold calling consumers without consent, thus invading their privacy and wasting their time. Anyone who received a call from Modernize between Nov. 1, 2013, and Feb. 1, 2018 can file a claim.
Class members are expected to win about $20, and the deadline to submit a claim is May 11.
Subaru Engine Failure
If you owned or leased a 2012 through 2017 Subaru Impreza WRX or STi with an EJ-series 2.5-liter turbocharged engine, you could qualify for up to $6,500 in this class action settlement.
The suit alleges that Subaru sold vehicles with engine defects that led to dysfunction and costly repairs. If you had an Impreza WRX or STi and paid for engine repairs, you can be reimbursed through this settlement.
Class members who had repairs done at a Subaru dealer can get 100% of the costs back, while those who got repairs at an outside shop can get up to $6,500 in reimbursement.
Due to issues with Audible memberships that resulted in a class action suit, Amazon has agreed to distribute 12 million free audiobooks as a settlement. If you were an Audible member between March 10, 2013, and Aug. 17, 2018, you may be eligible to join the suit.
There are three classes in this suit:
- Payment Card Class: Audible customers who incurred charges from the company to a card other than the card originally designated as the primary payment card for their membership between March 10, 2013, and Aug. 17, 2018.
- Regular Member Class: Audible customers who lost unredeemed paid membership credits between March 10, 2013, and Aug. 17, 2018.
- Gift Class Member: Audible customers who bought or redeemed an Audible gift membership between Aug. 11, 2011, and Aug. 17, 2018, that resulted in credits being lost.
Payment card class members can get reimbursed, while regular and gift members can receive a free audiobook after filing a claim online.
Raymour & Flanigan Furniture Text Ads
Between Feb. 2, 2016 and March 22, 2017, Raymour & Flanigan sent unsolicited spam texts to consumers, according to this class action suit. The furniture company agreed to pay $4.5 million in this settlement that alleges they violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
Any consumer who can provide proof of receiving a text message from Raymour and Flanigan is eligible for a reward of $10 to $100. The deadline to file a claim is June 22.
Compass Bank Survey Phone Call
If you received an unsolicited phone call from Compass Bank between Dec. 14, 2012 and Feb. 8, 2019, you may be eligible for this class action settlement. Compass agreed to a $1.15 million settlement to resolve claims that they violated federal law.
Under the terms of this class action settlement, class members are expected to receive between $100 and $350. If you think you may be eligible, file a claim by June 24.
Arby’s Data Breach
Between Oct. 8, 2016 and Jan. 12, 2017, the popular fast food chain suffered a data breach that set off this class action suit.
If you made a debit or credit card purchase at certain Arby’s restaurants in Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, you may be eligible for up to $5,000 and identity theft protection.
For a full list of locations and more information, click here. The deadline to submit a claim is July 13.
How To Apply to Join a Class Action
Even if you’re eligible for one of the class-action settlements listed above, you still may be a little confused on the details. Submitting claims in class action suits is a simple, quick way to make extra money as long as you know what you’re doing. Here are a few tips:
Filing A Claim
No two claims are exactly the same. Some require more information than others and thus could take more work to apply for. Make sure to read all the details before submitting a claim.
To begin, compare your purchases with open class action settlements and see if there’s any overlap. If you notice a suit against a company you’ve interacted with in the past, read up for more info and see if you qualify.
Every class action settlement will require you to fill out and submit a claim form with relevant information. Normally you won’t need to provide more than your name, address, product information, and payment info. Once you submit your claim, all that’s left to do is wait.
Once your claim is approved, a settlement check will be mailed to you. Most checks will arrive within a few months but some can take years to finalize. Just because you may not get your award for six months or a year shouldn’t discourage you from applying though. Patience pays off in the end.
Knowing Your Eligibility
The standards to qualify for certain settlements are higher than others. Just because you spent money at the right store in the right timeframe, you’re not guaranteed to be a class member.
For instance, the Arby’s data breach settlement includes a list of affected Arby’s restaurants. If you know you ate at one of their locations and provide proof that you were harmed by the breach, you’re eligible. It’s a straightforward settlement but as the consumer, you have to provide proof of harm.
Comparatively, to qualify for the Modernize settlement you only need to provide the phone number they used to contact you. If you know you received a call from Modernize, getting your reward will be a simple process.
Proof of Purchase and Maximizing Payouts
You won’t always need to submit concrete proof, but the more information you provide, the better. More proof leads to a larger payout, and you avoid any potential legal trouble of your own. Most claims require you to declare the information you’re submitting is true under “penalty of perjury.”
On occasion, you may get a notice in the mail telling you that you’re an eligible class member, but more often than not you’ll have to find settlements yourself.
One good way to make sure you’re kept in the loop is to register the products you buy. For instance, a settlement earlier this year resulted in consumers getting partial refunds on a number of Black & Decker products. By registering your products, you guarantee you’ll be notified of potential settlements and get the compensation you deserve.
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The Top Class-Action Lawsuits of all Time
Though most class actions are not for billions of dollars, some settlements have made the history books. Here are the top five all-time rewards for a class action lawsuit.
1. U.S. Tobacco Settlement: $206 billion
In 1998 the four largest tobacco companies in the country were sued for $206 billion (with a “b”) in healthcare costs caused by smoking cigarettes. This was the largest class action settlement of all time, but it’s a good example of how class actions can hold corporations accountable.
2. British Petroleum: $20 billion
The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill dumped 4.9 million barrels of crude oil into the ocean before the well was finally capped and the leak stopped. The platform itself burned for nearly two days filling the Gulf of Mexico sky with oily black smoke. 11 platform workers were killed along with almost five thousand marine animals, including 525 sea turtles.
3. Volkswagen Emissions Scandal: $14.7 billion
In 2016 a U.S. judge in San Francisco, California approved a settlement against Volkswagen Group for $14.7 billion. Volkswagen had intentionally loaded software into its cars to mask the amount of polluting emissions the cars produced on the road. (It was nearly 40 times over the legal limit.) Drivers who joined the suit received the trade-in value of their vehicles plus $5,000 to $10,000.
4. Enron Corp. Securities Fraud: $7.2 billion
Enron was named “America’s Most Innovative Company” for six years running by Fortune magazine, and in 2000 the company claimed to have revenues north of $100 billion. The company’s success was actually a con orchestrated by its top management, founder and CEO Kenneth Lay and COO Jeffery Skilling. Roughly one-and-a-half million investors were awarded payments in the settlement.
5. WorldCom Accounting Scandal: $6.1 billion
CEO Bernard Ebbers and CFO Scott Sullivan used accounting fraud to cover up hundreds of millions of dollars of lost revenue and prop up the company’s stock price. WorldCom’s $6.1 billion settlement was paid out to over 830,000 individual and institutional investors.