The Year of the Class-Action Law Suit

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Justice sends mixed messages
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I always see those ads on tv for class-action settlements.  Get your part of the $180 million dollar settlement.  If you’ve been exposed to asbestos.  Or have had a heart attack after taking an ED pill.  Or have had a loved one die after they took the newest birth control.  They all seemed to be health issues.  They all aired on day time television.  Stories of a night student and SAHM mom.

So I never put much thought into getting involved.  Mostly because I had no reason to.  Then this year, we’ve already received three notices about suits we could be involved in if we wish.   We’ve opted both yes and no.

1.  Former Employer

A company I used to work for is being sued by its employees.  For not paying them for time that they worked.  Pretty much we’d clock out and then drive to the bank.  Or go shopping for decorations for our store and not get reimbursed for the time.  Or buy donuts for a store meeting and not be compensated for our time at the bakery.  Or do all of the company’s advertising on our own time because they did nothing at the corporate level, but each store’s numbers determined how much you’d get paid.  Again, you were not compensated for your time.  If we had been salaried, it would have been a much different story.

I opted out of this one simply by taking no action.  While I agree that the company treated its employees like crap, I just don’t feel like going to the old store, printing out my old time cards, and adding up all those minutes I worked.  I also liked the people I worked with on a local level for the most part, and don’t want to offend them.  I don’t think it would be enough money to be worth my time.  And the company’s being stubborn, so there’s not even a settlement yet.  There may never be one.  Too much of a headache for me.

2.  Credit Card

One of the boyfriend’s past creditors had some type of protection plan on it that he paid extra for.  It sucked.  There would always be fraudulent charges on the card.  So he paid it off quick so he wouldn’t have to deal with it anymore.  Apparently, he wasn’t the only one with that problem.  This one has reached a settlement, and we still have a little bit of time to decide.

I think we’ll take advantage of this one.  It’s only $15 or something, but I feel like he deserves it.

3.  Groupon

I had issues with buyer’s remorse and groupon a while back.  The timelines to use those deals are usually pretty short, but my issue was that the deal wasn’t even really that great.  Anyways, Groupon’s been sued because their expiration dates violate some type of law, and they’re settling by either giving you longer to use the groupon past its expiration date or, if the vendor it was to is now out of business, they’ll give you your money back.

The deadline for this one July 27 from what I can tell.  We won’t be cashing in because all the ones I purchased have been used.  But this is open to anyone who’s purchased a discount within certain dates (I believe ending in Dec 2011,) so if you have vouchers that you didn’t get to use, I’d check it out.

Paranoia

I have some concerns about cashing in on a settlement like these.  The first is that, while all the cases are legit (I’ve looked them up,) how easy would it be for someone to write up something that looks like a legal document that will give me money, get me to mail in my personal information, and then run and commit identity theft?  It’s the reason I’m not posting the groupon settlement’s website.  I don’t know how to ensure it’s not just a scam site.

Does anyone have any advice on how to tell if your notification/the contact information they send you is legit?  Have you ever gotten involved in a class action law suit?

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21 thoughts on “The Year of the Class-Action Law Suit

  1. Niki

    Very interesting. I saw one recently for Nutella and I couldn’t figure out why. Makes me a little scared that I love Nutella.

    Reply
  2. Modest Money

    I’ve actually put my name down for a potential class action lawsuit for something, but I don’t know if anything ever came of it. It was against such a big company that nothing was likely to come from it, but since I was angry at the time I figured why not. I would be wary of ones that ask for a lot of personal details though.

    Reply
    1. Femme Frugality

      I hope something does come of it. Sometimes these things can drag out. It does stink, though, because if they’re a large company they probably have oodles of money and a very good group of lawyers on staff. Makes it hard for the little man.

      Reply
  3. Lisa @ Gone With The Family

    If you receive notice of a class action suit then I believe that the notice should include the name of the attorney or law firm that has filed the suit. It should be fairly easy then to follow up with the law firm of record to make sure that it’s legitimate.

    Reply
    1. Femme Frugality

      It does! Thanks for the tip! I’m also thinking about checking with the local court where the suit was originally filed to make sure that this firm is actually the one in charge of handling the settlement.

      Reply
  4. jefferson @seedebtrun

    I just think it is bad karma to join a class action suit against a company that hasn’t already wronged you. Pointless lawsuits are one of the major problems with our society, and yet another way that folks are hoping to strike it rich without actually doing any work.

    Reply
    1. Femme Frugality

      I wouldn’t opt in if I hadn’t felt like they’d already wronged me. Like my past employer. Was it not cool? Absolutely. But it’s not worth suing them over. The credit card company? Feel like they would owe us more than the $15 if we took out an individual lawsuit, so this works well for everyone.

      Reply
  5. ERIKA

    For class-action lawsuits you can probably go directly to the attorneys that are handling it so that you can avoid paranoia. Usually they will set up a legit website where you can enter in all of your details, basically just showing proof that you are part of the class action because you qualify for all the requirements of the class suing the company. I think I did this before at one of my first employers, T-Mobile, but the funny part is I don’t even remember what it was for. I got some money back ($20 or something) but that was the end of it!

    Reply
    1. femmefrugality

      Yeah, that’s what they have. I guess I’m just overly paranoid lol. I’ve had my own problems with T-Mobile…as a customer, though, not an employee. They were my first cell phone carrier and even though they have great rates I will never, ever go back. Glad someone got some money out of them…who cares what it was for!

      Reply
  6. Meredith

    I can never tell what is legit or what’s not. I also don’t even know where to start if I did want to look into something, so no good advice to offer, but I think it’s great that you’ve educated yourself about some that are out there. And for what it’s worth, I am loathing on T-Mobile too! So glad we finally got out of that contract!

    Reply
  7. Holly@Clubthrifty

    I worked at Wal-mart when I was a teenager and they would always short us time on our paychecks. We closed at ten but after we closed we always had to face shelves, etc. Anways, even though we stayed until 10:30-11:00 each night, we were only paid until 10pm. There was a class action lawsuit many years later and I opted out because I didnt really care at that point.
    It was definitely unfair though.

    Reply
  8. Julia McGuire

    I looked at the Groupon class action law suit and it didn’t apply to me because I used it right away. I am currently involved in one, but it will be a long time before a ruling is laid down.

    Reply

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