Class action law suits

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sunnyday
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Class action law suits

Post by sunnyday »

I'm curious about peoples experiences with class action law suits. I've received a couple notices recently about them but I've never submitted a claim because I never felt like I was affected that much and figured it probably wasn't worth my time.
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cheese_breath
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Re: Class action law suits

Post by cheese_breath »

I've received a few notices in the mail indicating I was automatically included in a class unless I chose to opt out. I never opted out, and a couple of the suits were settled in favor of the class. But by the time the lawyers took their cut there wasn't a lot left for the rest of us. Even so, a few bucks back in return for doing nothing isn't a bad deal.
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mhc
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Re: Class action law suits

Post by mhc »

Last month I received a $300 check from a class action law suit that started 10 years ago. It dealt with the diamond business. The check was like a 5% rebate on the diamond after 10 years, so maybe a 3-4% rebate with the time value of money. I'll take it.

I normally just throw away any mail I get about a class action law suit because I can't see that I would get any significant return.
Chicago60
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Re: Class action law suits

Post by Chicago60 »

Sunny: what specific questions do you have, and I will be happy to answer since I have substantial experience. Generally, if you lost a lot of money, you would likely do better filing your own lawsuit over participating in a class action. Generally, large losses lead to larger recoveries, but each case is different and how much you recover is based on a million different factors. Generally, consumer class action settlements do not lead to significant recovery to individual class members, but individual class members' losses are likely also insignificant. Many of these types of cases are brought in a way analogous to private attorneys general as a "watchdog" for consumers against illegal or private corporate conduct.
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frugaltype
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Re: Class action law suits

Post by frugaltype »

I've gotten several of these letters over the years. In my experience, the individuals in these get less than $5 back, or even worse, a discount on future products when you wouldn't buy from the company again. The lawyers walk away with a gigantic amount of money.
camden
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Re: Class action law suits

Post by camden »

I have received notices ten times or so over the years regarding these. Once I ultimately received a check for $1700 in a case regarding alleged wrongdoing by a financial services company where I had an investment in one of their mutual funds. in all other instances, the ultimate result was a trivial consideration. The odds are, if you do nothing, you will get a letter in 2-3 years with a coupon worth $1.25.
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Sheepdog
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Re: Class action law suits

Post by Sheepdog »

I do submit my name. My wife and I received 3 in the last year. . Unicare insurance premium suit ($480), a Visa foreign transaction fee suit ($8.42), and a HealthSouth stock suit ($21.29). The latter was disappointing as I expected considerably more. The attorneys did well, though, I am sure.
I have had a few others over the years. They aren't much, but there isn't any effort or cost required.
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pennstater2005
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Re: Class action law suits

Post by pennstater2005 »

I did one involving Sallie Mae. I ended up with $118. Nice surprise. Almost threw the check out because I thought it was junk mail.
Last edited by pennstater2005 on Mon Jul 22, 2013 10:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Class action law suits

Post by sschullo »

I received from $5 to several hundred dollars. Its worth it.
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stan1
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Re: Class action law suits

Post by stan1 »

I've had about $150 come in over the past 15 years from class action suits (foreign transaction fees, Dell, etc.).
I've always accepted the vendors records as accurate and have not provided any additional proof to keep the time I invest down.
Stonebr
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Re: Class action law suits

Post by Stonebr »

sschullo wrote:I received from $5 to several hundred dollars. Its worth it.
That's been my experience. Send in the post card, get a few dollars back. No muss, no fuss.
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hicabob
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Re: Class action law suits

Post by hicabob »

I just received $102 :happy from Deutsche/Scudder as a class action settlement from an issue years back when I used to use scudder and they were "front-running". The reprehensible sleazebags :annoyed . I never registered for it either.
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Higman
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Re: Class action law suits

Post by Higman »

I’ve received a Blockbuster coupon for one free movie rental and another coupon for a $25 discount on a cruise. Big whoop! The most egregious one was for a $45M Xerox SEC Fair Fund. I submitted my claim expecting about $225 back according to their charts. However there were over $2.3B in claims submitted and after lawyer’s fees and dividing the balance I received nothing because the check would have been for under $10. OK, I expected something like that. But a year later another Xerox class action lawsuit was filed and the fund this time was for $300M. Good, maybe I’ll get something. Wrong. I was disqualified because I participated in the first class action law suit. Class action lawsuits are primarily for the benefit of the lawyers involved. Although they claim they have altruistic intentions and are protecting the public. Yeah right!
TSR
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Re: Class action law suits

Post by TSR »

Couple hundred dollars from the BarBri bar-review antitrust litigation. Seemed like the system worked ok there. The few others I've been a part of yielded little or nothing. If you know you belong to an affected class, I think it makes sense to participate. If it feels more like a solicitation or like their fishing for class members, don't bother.
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Abe
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Re: Class action law suits

Post by Abe »

I have received very little money from class action lawsuits. I have to say that before my mother died, she received several hundred dollars in class action lawsuits against Readers Digest and Publishers Clearinghouse Sweepstakes. They would send her tons of printed material inferring that she had won a lot of money. If she signed anything and mailed it back, she was unknowingly authorizing them to send her merchandise (stuff). The stuff, mostly unopened, just kept piling up in her house. Each month they would send her a bill and she would pay it. As I said, she received several hundred dollars in a class action lawsuits against them. She didn't even know they were having the lawsuit. I guess because her name was on the mailing list, she was automatically included. The amount she received was just a fraction of the amount she sent them. Since she died, I have been selling the stuff she received for about 10% of the amount she paid for it. So far I have sold over $8,000.00 worth. There are a lot of people out there preying on the elderly. :(
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emkute
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Re: Class action law suits

Post by emkute »

Maybe $25 to $200 per year. I get emails from http://www.topclassactions.com/
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joe8d
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Re: Class action law suits

Post by joe8d »

i just got a check for $8.65 for a American Express Currency exchange settlement. I don't know why.
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CountryBoy
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Re: Class action law suits

Post by CountryBoy »

I was part of a class action law suit against Dell brought by the then Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. Dell had done a long list of fraudulent things with the sale of their desktop computers.

Cuomo won and I got about $800 back on my original purchase.
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LadyGeek
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Re: Class action law suits

Post by LadyGeek »

joe8d wrote:i just got a check for $8.65 for a American Express Currency exchange settlement. I don't know why.
So did I ($8.23), my husband, and my parents. See this website: CCFSettlement.com - Home

If you've ever used your credit card outside the US from February 1, 1996 through and including November 8, 2006, you were overcharged on international transaction fees. The Frequently Asked Questions gives the details, as well as a timeline. The lawsuit was filed on July 20, 2006.
Foreign transactions made on any of the following cards are included in this lawsuit: Visa- and MasterCard-branded credit cards (including charge cards) and debit/ATM cards (including stored value and payroll cards), and Diners Club-branded credit cards (including charge cards). The Visa-branded cards include Visa-, Interlink-, and Plus-branded credit and debit/ATM cards; the MasterCard-branded cards include MasterCard-, Cirrus-, and Maestro-branded credit and debit/ATM cards. The lawsuit includes purchases, cash advances, cash withdrawals, and internet transactions.
BTW, the check is void after 90 days.
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joe8d
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Re: Class action law suits

Post by joe8d »

That's It :happy . I bought lunch in Canada with my VISA Card during that time frame.Double check it was $8.23
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philip
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Re: Class action law suits

Post by philip »

Are the payments received from class action lawsuits taxable and need to report to IRS ?
I received a settlement check (Sonoda, et al v. Amerisave Mortgage Corp.) for $47.78 from Amerisave.
tim1999
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Re: Class action law suits

Post by tim1999 »

I got one for Bank of America stock last year. After I started filling out the paperwork, I figured out that it was going to take about 5 hours of my time in order to get a check for $5. I threw it in the trash. They wanted you to basically fill out a chart detailing all of your purchases, sales, dividends received, dividends reinvested, gains, losses, etc. on a stock I had sold years ago.
Chicago60
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Re: Class action law suits

Post by Chicago60 »

Cherokee: That is common in securities class action settlements. The lawyers need proof of ownership during the relevant time period that the alleged misrepresentations occurred, and proof of your actual specific actual losses to determine the amount your claim should receive from the total settlement amount. I have completed such claim forms numerous times, and if you have saved your old tax returns, I find it takes 15-30 minutes to complete and execute. Whether it is worth it for your time, and your own views of class actions, is a personal choice, I suppose.
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Igglesman
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Re: Class action law suits

Post by Igglesman »

I did one last summer...took me literally 5 hours to put all the materials together to file the claim. The claim went back to 2005-2008 time period. It involved shenanigans with an Ultra-Short Term fund. Anyway, I recovered in the four figures. The downside, it will probably cost me to hire a tax consultant to figure out how this money is to be claimed tax wise. My guess is capital gains.

Anyone have a guess how money is reported tax wise? In this case share price was $10.00 a share and did not vary...until monkey business and it collapsed to $8.50 per share. Now 6 years later I recover a portion of that....I am guessing capital gains??? Note: I sold all shares 5 years ago. Obviously in the papers with the settlement they give you no clue on the tax implications.

Thanks :greedy :moneybag :greedy
Chicago60
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Re: Class action law suits

Post by Chicago60 »

Igglesman: I am not a CPA but hopefully one will chime in. I have discussed your issues with CPAs in my experiences and have never received a definitive answer, probably because most CPAs have no or little experience with the issues. If you still owned the investment--I recognize you do not--some CPAs have suggested the settlement check impacts your basis, but is not a taxable event. Others have suggested it is taxable as ordinary income. I do not believe I have ever been told that if you no longer own the investment, either because you sold it or the Company filed for Chapter 7, you can treat the settlement received in a later year as a capital gain, rather than as ordinary income.
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tractorguy
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Re: Class action law suits

Post by tractorguy »

I filed a claim for bad (early wear out) OEM tires on my car and got back a check for about $200 to cover part of the cost of installation of the new tires. The auto dealer happened to mention that there was a class action suit going on but didn't do anything to encourage me to file. I got a 1099 misc income form from the check issuer at tax time in the spring and had to show it on my tax return as additional income.
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Meg77
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Re: Class action law suits

Post by Meg77 »

I guess it would depend on the wording of the terms of the settlement (whether you were being "reimbursed" or "compensated"), but I wouldn't imagine most of these settlement checks would be taxable as income. Usually you are getting money back that you shouldn't have been charged for something - transaction fees, overdraft fees, etc. That's not really income.

I just looked it up on a quick irs.gov search and found that punitive damanges from lawsuit settlements are taxable as "other income" and any portion of a settlement listed as for "loss of wages" or "loss of profits" is taxable as income. But in general it seems as though most settlements are not taxable (those for emotional distress or mental anguish, personal of physical injury, etc). There's some slight variation if you took an itemized medical deduction related to medical payments you made and were later reimbursed for, but in general it seems most settlements don't/shouldn't affect your income tax return.

http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p4345.pdf
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Igglesman
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Re: Class action law suits

Post by Igglesman »

The class action law suits I have participated in involve "monkey business" either by the company (they disclosed info to insiders, manipulated share price, insider selling, etc.) or by the mutual fund manager (they deviated from the prospectus in a harmful way).

Specifically in the case I describe above, the mutual fund company caused the Net Asset Value of the shares to dive from 10 bucks to $8.50. Suppose I owned 40,000 shares...when I sold, I would have taken a nice capital loss ...years ago.

Now all these years later I recover some of my losses...clearly I need to pay taxes on this...and without redoing 5 years of returns I think this is probably just capital gains that I need to claim this year.

Arguments please...Fidelity and the court papers from the class action provide zero details on how we characterize this recovery.
Chicago60
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Re: Class action law suits

Post by Chicago60 »

Here may be a good starting point: http://www.lexology.com/library/detail. ... bcf8a33c0b
And here may be a place to post your question for a CPA to give some guidance: http://www.accountantforums.com/tax-tre ... 15704.html

You'll note a disagreement among the CPAs who answered the post that I directed you too, but another good starting point for analysis. Good luck.
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Igglesman
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Re: Class action law suits

Post by Igglesman »

Chicago60 wrote:Here may be a good starting point.....
Thank you. I have some reading to do.
reason-logic
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Re: Class action law suits

Post by reason-logic »

Ever wonder if we would all be better off it everyone opted out of these (typically) silly lawsuits and then made more on our investments when companies had better earnings by not paying out these settlements along with both side's attorney fees?
knightrider
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Re: Class action law suits

Post by knightrider »

I usually ignore these class action suits, but it is interesting to hear that some folks are getting significant payouts.

I got one today that I responded to because it related to my 401k.. They sent pages of legalese but nowhere was there any estimate of our payout. Why can't they include some basic range? My guess is they purposely obfuscate things so that most people don't file claims...

I feel like we should file a class action suit against all these class action suits :-)
Chicago60
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Re: Class action law suits

Post by Chicago60 »

knightrider wrote: Mon May 20, 2019 11:37 am Why can't they include some basic range?
Because some people, like you suggested earlier, simply (in my view, wrongly) ignore Class Action Notices and fail to complete the claim forms. Others take the time and fill out the paperwork. So, I suspect you, and the class action lawyers, cannot guess what percent fill out the paperwork and what percent ignore it. Your share of the class action proceeds, less court approved expenses and fees--yet another variable, is almost always dependent upon the numbers who participate; a number that varies greatly from case to case.
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Re: Class action law suits

Post by Turbo29 »

I did get $10 once for a pair of athletic shoes purchased for $99. Not a bad return on signing up. But my big win was the VW Diesel. (For those of you who may not be familiar Google "VW diesel scandal.")

For a 2009 VW purchased for $22K in 2009 I got back $15K in late 2016. It was a buyback and the vehicle would have only been worth about $8.5K at that time.

Much better than the coupon for $50 in maintenance and a free pair of floor mats that usually comes from most class actions.
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rj342
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Re: Class action law suits

Post by rj342 »

This is 100% true. I am Wells Fargo customer for everyday banking, and I received a payout a month or so ago for a class action lawsuit against them I don't remember. Might have been an opt-out one. I know I never had one of those monkey business accounts opened in my name they got in trouble for.

The check was for $0.14 That is NOT a typo!

I would *lose* money depositing that, since with both my name and DWs on it precludes mobile app deposit.
I wonder how much the shyster lawyers made on it.
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CountryBoy
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Re: Class action law suits

Post by CountryBoy »

About 20 yrs. ago the AG from the State of NY filed an action against Dell computer corp re a whole list of things that they were doing dishonestly. I got back about $250 dollars on the price of my desk top computer.
miamivice
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Re: Class action law suits

Post by miamivice »

This is an old thread, but I recently receive $600 for a class action lawsuit. I was part of the class, but for a silly reason. I suffered no loss.

Used it to partially pay 2018 taxes due.
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Re: Class action law suits

Post by JBTX »

Got about $200 in a Class action suit against a kids clothing retailer that was accused of fraudulent pricing. Would have been less but I was actually able to document my purchases over the years (thanks Quicken!)

Got about $21,000 in a class action from an insurance company that had denied a particular type of therapy as "experimental". There were only a couple of hundred potential class participants beyond the few directly bringing suit. I actually called lead attorney and expected I'd get a few thousand. I was shocked to get the entire $20k of unreimbursed expenses submitted plus another $1k of leftover that was distributed. My only guess is that many of the potential participants did not actually do the therapy since insurance rejected it while we did and paid out of pocket. This happened 6-8 years after the fact.
HomeStretch
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Re: Class action law suits

Post by HomeStretch »

I browse topclassactions.com site and once in awhile I come across a class action suit related to something I purchased. Recently received a check for about $25 for several bottles of olive oil I had in the pantry.
nguy44
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Re: Class action law suits

Post by nguy44 »

.The best one for me was the GM Saturn transmission class action lawsuit. I was lucky that my transmission died after the lawsuit was settled and before GM declared bankruptcy during the great recession, which let them walk away from further claims. A $5000 repair ended up costing me only $800.

I also got a check for $300 from a class action lawsuit again a mutual fund company whose funds I owned at one time but had sold a while ago. The lawsuit was around excessive fees charged which included the time I owned the funds.
rj342
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Re: Class action law suits

Post by rj342 »

A month ago I got a check for a class action lawsuit settlement against Wells Fargo.
I had completely forgotten about it, one of those opt out deals IIRC. I had no harm that I was aware of.

The check was for $0.14
Yes, that's not a typo -- FOURTEEN CENTS.

No, I did not bother cashing it, darned thing cost me that much just looking at it. I wonder how much the shyster lawyers skimmed off the settlement.
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LadyGeek
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Re: Class action law suits

Post by LadyGeek »

You also have the other side - If the check is never cashed, Wells Fargo will have to keep the $0.14 on their books until they disposition it somewhere.

(I'm not accountant, so I'm not sure how a company deals with uncashed checks.)
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michaeljc70
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Re: Class action law suits

Post by michaeljc70 »

I generally don't bother filing. Usually the amount is not significant enough and most of the money goes to the lawyers (okay, I know by not filing that probably doesn't impact that much). The one I did participate in was over a security that I lost a decent amount of money on. I did wind up getting something like $700 (lost 5 figures). Sometimes the lawyers make tens of millions and the victims get a coupon.
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Re: Class action law suits

Post by michaeljc70 »

LadyGeek wrote: Mon May 20, 2019 3:57 pm You also have the other side - If the check is never cashed, Wells Fargo will have to keep the $0.14 on their books until they disposition it somewhere.

(I'm not accountant, so I'm not sure how a company deals with uncashed checks.)
True. Usually after a certain period of time (varies by state I believe) they turn it over to the state to get it off their books. Then it shows up in the newspaper or one of those sites you can search for unclaimed property.
Chicago60
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Re: Class action law suits

Post by Chicago60 »

rj342 wrote: Mon May 20, 2019 3:37 pm A month ago I got a check for a class action lawsuit settlement against Wells Fargo.
I had completely forgotten about it, one of those opt out deals IIRC. I had no harm that I was aware of.

The check was for $0.14
Yes, that's not a typo -- FOURTEEN CENTS.

No, I did not bother cashing it, darned thing cost me that much just looking at it. I wonder how much the shyster lawyers skimmed off the settlement.
I see you posted twice. You must really be unhappy with the check you received, having suffered no harm at all. I suppose it is a shame you did not have a Wells Fargo account opened in your name and credit cards opened in your name with adverse consequences to your credit score. Then, perhaps, the check you receive would have been a bit higher. If it cost you more than $.14 to look at the check, what did it cost you to post twice?
rj342
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Re: Class action law suits

Post by rj342 »

Chicago60 wrote: Mon May 20, 2019 4:47 pm I see you posted twice. You must really be unhappy with the check you received, having suffered no harm at all. I suppose it is a shame you did not have a Wells Fargo account opened in your name and credit cards opened in your name with adverse consequences to your credit score. Then, perhaps, the check you receive would have been a bit higher. If it cost you more than $.14 to look at the check, what did it cost you to post twice?
re posting twice -- accident duh, BH website has some quirks that throw me sometimes, with Submit-Preview-Confirm, and whether browser back button takes me to previous URL with or without a refresh.

Comment about looking at it was amplifying fact not worth cashing, not that I literally have a meter running in my head constantly. IOW rhetoric.

BOTH things can be true -- that there are people actually harmed who get some restitution via class action they might not have got otherwise, AND there is some waste if not outright sleaze.
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RickBoglehead
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Re: Class action law suits

Post by RickBoglehead »

$18.04 foreign exchange
$55.53 Kasha lawsuit
$13.53 Verizon Wireless
$21.84 riding mower
$10.19 lawn mower
$31.31 memory
$15.97 memory
$101.44 memory
$13.86 CDs
$109.28 magazine
$505.24 ING rate renewal
$8.00 Hertz
$8.23 foreign exchange
$326.00 IPOs
$281.06 IPOs
$48.22 stock settlements
$170.90 stock settlements
$5.00 stock settlements

Plus an airline ticket settlement and a handful of others.

Done quite well :D
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criticalmass
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Re: Class action law suits

Post by criticalmass »

sunnyday wrote: Mon Jul 22, 2013 7:52 am I'm curious about peoples experiences with class action law suits. I've received a couple notices recently about them but I've never submitted a claim because I never felt like I was affected that much and figured it probably wasn't worth my time.
I was happy to cash my check for monitoring software installed by major cellphone carriers. (I had previously disabled it anyway but not happy about the spy—sorry surveillance— tactics.

It was certainly worth my time to fill out a form and deposit a check for a few hundred dollars, but you decide for you.
Thegame14
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Re: Class action law suits

Post by Thegame14 »

I signed up for a newsletter that had these once a month and I signed up for a few and do get a couple bucks here and there. I cant remember the name of the newsletter now.... Just got one for $20 last week
Thegame14
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Re: Class action law suits

Post by Thegame14 »

RickBoglehead wrote: Tue May 21, 2019 10:36 am $18.04 foreign exchange
$55.53 Kasha lawsuit
$13.53 Verizon Wireless
$21.84 riding mower
$10.19 lawn mower
$31.31 memory
$15.97 memory
$101.44 memory
$13.86 CDs
$109.28 magazine
$505.24 ING rate renewal
$8.00 Hertz
$8.23 foreign exchange
$326.00 IPOs
$281.06 IPOs
$48.22 stock settlements
$170.90 stock settlements
$5.00 stock settlements

Plus an airline ticket settlement and a handful of others.

Done quite well :D
How do you find out about them to apply?
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