Nuisance Texts, Robocalls and More in March’s Class-Action Settlements

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The latest class-action settlements involve nuisance text messages, robocalls and toxic flooring.

Read on to see if you’re eligible for any of these settlements, and if so, how to apply.

Unwanted Text Messages from Checkers or Rally’s Drive-In

Checkers Drive-In has agreed to a class-action settlement regarding allegations the company violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) by sending unwanted advertising texts.

The TCPA prohibits businesses from sending advertising text messages to consumers’ cell phones without the consumer’s prior consent. 

The lead plaintiff in the case said she texted a phone number to receive a free cheeseburger, but then she received 10 advertising texts from Checkers, with only one allegedly giving her the opportunity to opt out. 

If you received a text message from or on behalf of Checkers or Rally’s fast food restaurants between Dec. 21, 2013 and March 8, 2019 without your prior consent, you could receive two $5 vouchers good at either Checkers or Rally’s restaurants. You’ll need to be prepared to provide the cell phone number that received the texts. 

Submit your claim by July 27, 2020.

Robocalls from Verde Energy

Verde Energy has agreed to resolve claims the company violated TCPA by placing unsolicited robocalls as part of a $5 million class-action settlement. Despite accusations the company made unsolicited calls to consumers using an automatic dialing system, pre-recorded voice or artificial voice, Verde Energy admits to no wrongdoing.

Class members include those consumers who received an unsolicited robocall from Verde Energy between Oct. 16, 2013 and Feb. 14, 2019. 

Submit your claim by April 13, 2020.

Please note that cash payment amounts are currently undetermined because they will depend on the net settlement and number of valid claims filed by the April 13 deadline. 

Background Checks by Wells Fargo

If Wells Fargo ran a pre-employment background check on you without your consent, you could qualify for a cash payment through a recent $3.8 million class-action settlement.  

The lead plaintiff alleged the bank ran consumer background reports for prospective employees without obtaining written consent from them, which would be in violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Wells Fargo denies any wrongdoing, but agreed to the $3.8 million to resolve the claims against the bank.

If you had a consumer background report run on you without your consent by Wells Fargo between June 1, 2015 and Jan. 24, 2016, you should receive an automatic cash payment of about $46.85. If a certain number of checks remain uncashed by class members, another round of checks in an amount over $10 may be distributed. 

The deadline to exclude yourself from this settlement is April 14, 2020.

Text Messages from the Tampa Bay Lightning

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If you received at least one text message from the Tampa Bay Lightning Insider Text Club after you texted a keyword to a short code, you could be eligible for a portion of a $2.3 million class-action settlement. 

The lawsuit alleged consumers who texted a keyword to a short code number subsequently received unsolicited text messages from the Lightning as a part of the team’s Insider Text Club. The consumers allege that even though they sent a keyword to the short code, they never consented to receiving further text messages from the team, so the plaintiffs say the messages were sent in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). 

Each class member will receive a proportional share of the net settlement fund. The estimated share will be about $45.

The deadline to file a claim is June 8, 2020.


Chinese Laminate Flooring

If you had Chinese laminate flooring installed between 2012 and 2016, you may be eligible to receive a 50% or 100% refund from a $2 million class action settlement. 

Eternity Floors, doing business as L.A. Hardwood Floors, allegedly sold laminate flooring made in China between Jan. 1, 2012 and Dec. 31, 2016 that contained more formaldehyde emissions than allowed under California law. 

L.A. Hardwood Floors has agreed to pay $1 million in cash and another $1 million in store vouchers to end class-action allegations that the formaldehyde emissions from the Chinese-manufactured laminate flooring were in violation of the Airborne Toxic Control Measure found in Chapter 17 of the California Code of Regulations.

The settlement also resolves allegations the flooring was misrepresented as being more durable and having a better abrasion rating than customers actually saw. 

Class members are U.S. residents divided into two classes:

  • Verified purchasers: Class members who provide proof of purchase with their claim form, such as invoices, sales receipts or other written documents that confirm the sale of the flooring. Cash or a store voucher equal to 100 percent of the original purchase price is available to verified purchasers.
  • Other purchasers: Class members who do not have proof of purchase, but send photos of the flooring and provide the name of the retail store and purchase date. Cash or store vouchers equal to 50 percent of the purchase price are available to these other purchasers.

If you had a contractor or another company install the flooring and you’re not sure if it is the flooring in question, you may contact the installer directly to ask where they bought the flooring. 

Submit your claim by April 14, 2020.  

McCormick Black Pepper Slack-Fill

If you’re a resident of California, Florida or Missouri who bought McCormick or a private label-brand black pepper product between Jan. 1, 2015 and Jan. 27, 2020, you could qualify to receive a portion of a $2.5 million class action lawsuit settlement.

McCormick & Co. faced allegations its black pepper tins were “slack-filled,” resulting in overpriced merchandise. McCormick tried to argue the size of the container should not be considered false advertising, but plaintiff counsel said the size of a container is an “implicit representation of the fact that it’s full.”

McCormick admitted to no wrongdoing, but agreed to settle the claims. 

Class members who have a proof of purchase may receive up to $4 per container. The proof of purchase can be a receipt, record of retailer loyalty club purchases, or a photo of the container with UPC code. 

Without proof of purchase, class members may submit a claim up to $4 per container for a maximum of $8 per household.

California, Florida and Missouri residents who bought McCormick or private label-brand black pepper products between Jan. 1, 2015 and Jan. 27, 2020 should submit a claim by the May 15, 2020 deadline. 

Here’s the full list of qualifying UPC codes and private brands covered, plus the claim form.

Ocean Spray Artificial Flavors

If you bought certain Ocean Spray juices between Jan. 1, 2011 and Jan. 31, 2020, you could receive part of a $5.4 million class-action settlement.

The juice giant faced allegations it falsely advertised some of its juices as containing “no artificial flavors,” when some were purportedly flavored with malic acid. Even though malic acid can be a naturally derived ingredient that makes food taste tart, the class action lawsuit alleges the type of malic acid used in Ocean Spray juices is a synthetic form created from petrochemicals.

Ocean Spray admits no wrongdoing, but agreed to resolve the claims. 

The settlement will provide $1 in cash for each bottle purchased. Up to 20 bottles can be claimed by a household, for a maximum payment of $20. You must provide the dates and locations of qualified purchases.

See the complete list of covered Ocean Spray products and file a claim by the July 10, 2020 deadline.