These 7 Companies Might Owe You Money: How to Join Class-Action Lawsuits
Does Red Bull really give you wings? Apparently not, according to the class-action lawsuit that has the energy drink company paying out $13 million to consumers who bought the product based on this energy-boosting assumption.
Hoax-debunking site Snopes.com points out that the actual issue at hand is not the physical growth of wings (which any first-grader would tell you is impossible), but the claims that the drink would provide an additional energy boost far beyond a cup of coffee. These claims were deemed false advertising, leading to the payout for consumers.
Does Red Bull — or one of these other companies facing class-action lawsuits right now — owe you money?
How to Find Class-Action Lawsuits
Finding class-action lawsuits to participate in is quite simple. In fact, there are entire websites devoted to the topic, including ClassActionLitigation.com and Top Class Actions.
Top Class Actions features a wide variety of class action lawsuits, from a $2 settlement for people who purchased a Permatex Auto Repair kit that was mislabeled as being made in the USA (due April 8, 2015) to a $195 settlement for people who purchased a defective model of a Gateway computer monitor that had issues with flickering, among other display problems (due May 21, 2015).
Some of these lawsuits require proof of purchase and other documentation, while others are available to anyone who verifies their purchase through a sworn statement online under penalty of perjury. Since these are legal documents, with real legal consequences for misrepresentation, it’s important to only participate in the class action suits that you are actually eligible to participate in.
But with class action suits for everything from flax milk to medications, banking companies to fire sprinklers, you are bound to be eligible to join some of them. Below are a few popular consumer products with current class action lawsuits against them that you may be eligible to participate in.
1. Red Bull
When Benjamin Careathers filed the class-action lawsuit, Red Bull settled to avoid further litigation, though it did not admit any type of false advertising. If you bought Red Bull between January 1, 2002 and October 3, 2014, you can get your cut of this bounty by filing a claim form. The Top Class Action website features more information on this settlement and how to participate.
No proof of purchase is required, but you do have to attest under penalty of perjury that you did purchase Red Bull within the required time frame. Participants can receive a check for $10 or $15 worth of Red Bull products (though the final amounts may be reduced due to the number of participants in the suit). The deadline for filing a claim is March 2, 2015.
2. Ghirardelli White Chocolate
The company allegedly falsely labeled some products as “all natural” and is offering payouts to customers who purchased certain products, including some white baking chips.
If you purchased these products between August 17, 2008 and October 2, 2014, you can receive up to $24 in compensation without proof of purchase, or more with proof of purchase. Claims must be received by March 19, 2015. For more information and a link to the claim form, check here.
3. Jimmy John’s Alfalfa Sprouts
Jimmy John’s is facing a class-action lawsuit after consumers filed suit that some sandwiches advertised as containing sprouts did not, in fact, contain sprouts.
Consumers who purchased certain sandwiches between February 1, 2012 and July 21, 2014, and did not receive sprouts in their sandwiches, could receive a voucher from the restaurant for $1.40 good for any side item or soda. The final approval on this settlement is pending, but the claims deadline is expected to be May 1, 2015. Check here for updates.
4. Flax USA Flax Milk
Consumers who purchased Flax USA Flax Milk could receive up to $32.50 after a settlement following claims that the products were falsely labeled “all natural.”
Consumers who purchased certain products between Nov. 5, 2009 and September 22, 2014 are eligible and claims must be filed by April 28, 2015. Find more information here.
5. AT&T Unauthorized Third-Party Billing
The Federal Trade Commission filed a suit against AT&T, saying the mobile company was charging customers for third-party charges that they did not authorize, including ringtones, phone wallpapers and even text message subscriptions offering tips on “how to flirt.” The FTC says that AT&T deceived customers about these charges, even lumping them in with other charges so that they were unaware of them.
As a result, AT&T is now paying out $105 million to current and former AT&T customers who paid these charges after January 1, 2009. Awards vary and claims are due on May 1, 2015. More information is available here.
6. Lenovo Ultrabook Wi-Fi Connectivity
According to this suit, Ultrabook Ideapad and “U Series” computers had a design flaw that made it difficult to connect to Wi-Fi. Consumers who purchased certain models of Lenovo computers are eligible for either a $100 check or $250 credit towards purchasing another Lenovo product.
Additionally, consumers who paid to fix the Wi-Fi in certain models of the computers are eligible for reimbursement of those expenses. Proof of purchase is required and claims are due Sept. 11, 2015. More information is available here.
7. Babolat Tennis Racquets
Consumers who purchased Babolat tennis racquets between January 1, 2009 and November 11, 2014 could be eligible to receive up to $50 as a result of this suit, which claims that the company falsely said that the tennis professionals who endorse the racquets play with the same models sold to the public. They also claim that the racquets marketed as containing tungsten did not, in fact, contain tungsten. Claims are due March 11, 2015 and more information is available here.
While most class-action lawsuits won’t net you a ton of cash, they’re one way to get back money that’s owed to you because of faulty products or misrepresentation. An extra couple bucks isn’t a lot, but hey — it could buy you a can of Red Bull.
Your Turn: Have you ever taken part in a class-action lawsuit? What was the product or service, and how much did you get back?
Kristen Pope is a freelance writer and editor in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.