If You Can Prove Ashley Madison Leak Ruined Your Life, You Could Get $3,500

A man looks at the Ashley Madison website.
Ruby Corp., the parent company of the Ashley Madison website, will pay $11.2 million to settle a class-action lawsuit related to a data breach that exposed information stolen from the dating website for married customers. Sharon Steinmann/The Penny Hoarder

Two years after Canada-based adultery website Ashley Madison announced that a data breach revealed millions of users’ personal information, the company reached a settlement in a class-action lawsuit against it.

Ashley Madison parent company Ruby Life Inc., formerly Avid Life Media, has agreed to create an $11.2 million fund to settle the lawsuit.

The company was accused of several missteps that put its customers’ privacy at risk, including negligence, breach of contract, and violation of state consumer fraud and protection statutes.

Despite the company’s hefty settlement proposal, lawyers for Ruby Life Inc. say it did nothing wrong and the payout agreement is not an admission of guilt, but rather will help “avoid further expense, inconvenience and burden.”

Along with the settlement, Ruby Life Inc. has also spent a truckload of money — about a quarter of its annual revenue — fortifying its security system to prevent a similar data breach in the future.

A judge still needs to approve the settlement before any cash is paid. Once it’s approved, though, you can get up to $3,500 from the settlement.

Cheated By Ashley Madison? You Could Get Up to $3,500

Once the judge approves the settlement, Ashley Madison will have to create a website with information on how to file a claim. Once that is up and running, we’ll update you.

The amount of money you can claim depends on how much loss you can prove. Here’s a quick list of “recognized losses” that qualify for reimbursement under the settlement.

1. “Full-Delete” Fees

Before the breach, the only way you could delete an Ashley Madison account was to pay a $19 fee. When users paid the fee, they expected their accounts, photos and any messages they sent or received would be gone forever.

In some cases, a single customer could have paid the fee more than once if they had created and deleted multiple accounts.

If you paid the fee and your data leaked anyway, you can file a claim. The most you can get back in deletion fees is $500.

2. Communication Credits

To communicate with other people on the site, you must first purchase credits. You can then spend those credits to start conversations with members.

You can receive up to $500 in these credits back from this settlement.

3. Other Losses

This kind of claim is a catchall. Anything that doesn’t fit into the first two sections could fit in here.

For example, if you were a victim of identify theft due to the data breach and can prove how much you lost financially, you could claim that here. But it’s not limited to identity theft.

The court documents did not specify what other claims could fall under this category. For example, if you paid for a pricy divorce because your significant other learned of your infidelity, or you lost your job due to the breach, you may be able to file a claim. We can’t guarantee your claim will be approved, but it might be worth giving it a shot.

Each claim will be reviewed and approved or denied based on the documentation included.

The cap for this type of claim is $2,000.

4. Everything Else

Once the people in the first three groups are repaid, the remaining money will get split evenly between everyone whose information was released in the breach, even if you can’t prove a financial loss. These people will get $10 to $500 each. depending on their situations and the funds remaining in the settlement fund.

If administration costs and paying those with financial losses exhaust the settlement fund, these people won’t get paid.

It’s also possible that the settlement fund will run out before all the people who experienced financial losses are paid in full. In this case, you can expect a prorated payout.

Finally, if everyone who suffered is paid and there is money left over, it will be donated to a nonprofit focused on digital privacy.

No single person will get more than $3,500. We’ll update you when the settlement is approved and it’s time claim your money.

Desiree Stennett (@desi_stennett) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.