Class Action Update: Are You Owed Money?

Posted December 1, 2009 in Consumer Law by

It’s tough to believe but there are companies out there that want to give you money. Others want to give you free stuff. You may be owed money, or free or discounted products and services as a result of a class action lawsuit.

A class action lawsuit occurs when many parties (people or businesses) have identical or similar lawsuits against one or several defendants to a lawsuit. In the interest of time and money, the court may consolidate all of these lawsuits into a single case, called a class action. The class refers to the case’s plaintiffs, which may include people who aren’t even aware of the lawsuit but were potentially affected.

If a class action defendant loses the case, or settles it, an administrator then attempts to track down anyone who could potentially be a class member, using customer lists and advertisements. These potential class members then have the opportunity to claim a portion of the settlement.

Sometimes the process of proving that you were a victim can be pain in the neck. Other claims are relatively simple, and may require you to do nothing at all, or little more than filling out a form.

Are you entitled to a piece of a class-action settlement? Here are some current class actions that affect millions of American consumers.

Bextra and/or Celebrex
Who: People who purchased Bextra and/or Celebrex before July 29, 2005
What: Settlement will vary depending on the number of claims received
Deadline: Claims must be postmarked or submitted electronically by Dec. 18, 2009

Cache stores
Who: People who made a credit card purchase between Dec. 4, 2006, and April 21, 2009, and received a receipt that showed the credit card expiration date or more than five digits of the card number
What: A $15 voucher good toward a future purchase
Deadline: Claims must be postmarked or submitted electronically by Dec. 19, 2009

Who: People who, between March 1, 2001, and March 31, 2009, paid for a Costco 12-month membership renewal after the expiration of their prior membership
What: One to three free months of Costco membership
Deadline: No claims need to be submitted; Costco will automatically extend your membership once the settlement is finalized

Who: People who booked hotel stays through Expedia between Jan. 10, 2001, and June 11, 2008, and paid a "Tax Recovery Charge" and a "Service Fee."
What: A cash settlement equal to approximately 35% of the fees paid or an Expedia credit equal to approximately 65% of fees paid
Deadline: Claims must be submitted electronically by Dec. 31. 2009

Google Book Settlement
Who: Book authors and their heirs whose books were scanned by Google
What: Approximately $60 per book
Deadline: Claims must be submitted electronically or postmarked by Jan. 5, 2010

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