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10 class-action settlements that could get you free money

10 class-action settlements that could get you free money
Posted at 9:50 AM, Feb 21, 2023

People make mistakes — and so do companies. But since the errors companies may make can affect many of their customers, they can be very costly. Civil class-action lawsuits are filed all the time to allow customers to recoup losses due to common injuries and inconveniences as a result of a company’s widespread practices.

In a class-action lawsuit, a plaintiff or several plaintiffs represent an entire group, or class, of people.  If a business loses the case or chooses to settle outside of court without admitting fault, it generally sets aside a large amount of money from which settlements are distributed to all customers represented by the plaintiffs.

However, just because money is exchanged doesn’t necessarily mean you’re entitled to receive payment. Payments are divided among affected class members, so they’re likely to only be a fraction of the payout. It’s still worth receiving, though — when it comes to keeping money in the bank, every little bit helps.

To be eligible for a portion of the settlement, you’ll need to see if you qualify. This process may be as simple as filling out a short online form. Remember, these are legal documents and you must tell the truth about how you’ve been affected and the damages you’ve experienced. Some class-action lawsuits may later ask you to provide proof of your expenditures as well. Note that if you accept settlement money, you are waiving your right to file your own related lawsuit.

If you’re looking to see if you might be entitled to free money, here is a list of 10 class-action settlements that you may qualify for.

Wesson Cooking Oil

If you reside in one of the 11 different states involved in this lawsuit and bought the popular Wesson brand cooking oil from Conagra foods, you may be able to file a claim.

The lawsuit against Conagra claims that the company violated certain laws in the marketing, advertising and sale of Wesson cooking oils by stating they were natural, even though they used genetically-modified ingredients. Customers may receive monetary damages from a $3 million settlement fund if they live in Colorado, California,  Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota or Texas.

You must have purchased Wesson oil in the decade or so before July 1, 2017, to be eligible to receive a settlement (the actual time period varies per state). To participate, fill out this form by May 22.

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Circle K Store Employment

Current and former Circle K convenience store workers who feel they have been discriminated against may be entitled to part of an $8 million settlement. The settlement benefits Circle K workers who sought reasonable accommodations for a disability or pregnancy and were subsequently fired between July 10, 2009, and Sept. 26, 2022.

The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) says Circle K violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, Title VII and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. Circle K has admitted no wrongdoing in its settlement of the suit.

Current and former employees who were terminated between July 10, 2009, and Sept. 25, 2022, should file a claim by Feb. 26. If eligible under conditions set by the EEOC, they may receive monetary damages as determined by a settlement administrator.

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American Airlines Baggage Fees

If you booked a plane ticket with American Airlines between Feb. 23, 2017, and April 9, 2020, you might have been charged an unnecessary baggage fee. Certain customers are allowed free bag check-in when flying, but plaintiffs claim American didn’t honor this part of the contract.

As a result of a settlement, affected customers may receive a 100% refund of those baggage fees. Payments totaling $7.5 million may be provided for all eligible customers in the class.

The deadline to file this claim is right around the corner: Feb. 22.

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Thinx Period Underwear

Thinx arrived at a $5 million settlement late last year in a suit that alleged that per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) were present in the company’s products. Studies have linked PFAS to a higher risk of cancer, reproductive problems, liver and immune system damage and other health issues. Thinx says PFAS are not in its product design and that it takes measures to ensure they’re not added, but they’ve been ordered to reimburse customers under the terms of the settlement.

The settlement affects customers who bought Thinx underwear between Nov. 12, 2016, and Nov. 28, 2022. Customers can get a $7 refund for each purchase up to three pairs of period underwear if proof of purchase is provided. They can get a $3.50 refund for each purchase up to three pairs if no proof of purchase is provided. Customers can also get a voucher for 35% off purchases of up to $150 in eligible Thinx products during a single transaction on its website.

The deadline to file is April 12.

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Apple Macbook

Macbook owners who purchased laptop models between 2015 and 2019 with a faulty keyboard may be eligible to receive part of the settlement. These laptops in question in this class-action suit used “butterfly” technology in their keyboards. The term refers to the shape of the hardware under each key, which many users found to be quite troublesome.

Thanks to a $50 million fund, Macbook users who got repairs that didn’t fix the problems can receive up to $395. Specifically, those who received two or more top case replacements in the four years following their purchase can get the maximum amount. Those who received one top case replacement or one or more cap replacements can receive $125, and those who received one cap replacement can get $50.

See if you qualify here. You must submit a claim by March 6.

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All-Clad Cookware

Recent purchasers of All-Clad’s D3, D5 and LTD Cookware may be entitled to compensation. The company claimed these products were dishwasher-safe, but when cleaned in one, some of the metal cooking layers allegedly became thin and sharp, especially along the rim.

As part of the proposed settlement, All-Clad will set aside $4 million for refunds. Customers have several options: They can exchange damaged cookware for new and get a $75 refund; they can exchange damaged cookware for a hard-anodized five-piece frying pan set or a 13-piece cookware set; or they can return the cookware and get 50% off all purchases up to $1,200 for any products on All-Clad’s website.

Customers who threw the cookware out instead of returning it can still get 35% off purchases up to $750 with proof of purchase. You are eligible if you live in the U.S. and purchased the items between Jan. 1, 2015 and July 29, 2022. Submit a claim form by March 27.

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Toyota Prius

If you own or lease a 2010-2015 Prius or 2012-2017 Prius V (or did so previously), you may be eligible for benefits from a lawsuit concerning allegedly defective intelligence power modules (IPMs)/inverters that were installed in these cars.

The settlement dictates that Toyota will pay for repairs and replacements, plus related towing and rental car expenses. Toyota is also putting a new Customer Confidence Program in place that will extend the warranty for the IPMs and inverters installed in these vehicles and pay for towing/loaners.

The deadline to make your claim is May 12.

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Nestle Coffee-Mate Powder Creamer

This class-action suit alleges that certain Nestle Coffee-mate products contained fewer servings than advertised. So if you purchased powdered creamer products between Jan. 1, 2017 and Dec. 8, 2022, you may benefit. The list of qualifying creamers includes French Vanilla, Caramel Latte, Hazelnut, Original, Vanilla Caramel, Peppermint Mocha, Creamy Chocolate, Caramel and Coconut, and Pumpkin Spice, along with some of the sugar-free versions of these flavors.

The lawsuit resulted in changes in the labeling on the Coffee mate creamer products and established an amount of $10 million to pay individuals who purchased the brand’s products for personal use between Jan. 1, 2017, and Dec. 8, 2022.

Fill out the claim form by March 14.

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Toyota And Lexus Models With Denso Fuel Pumps

This class-action lawsuit against Toyota covers various vehicles — including Toyota and Lexus models — that were equipped with faulty Denso brand fuel pumps with the part number prefixes 23220- and/or 23221-. Toyota recalled 2.7 million cars because the fuel pumps allegedly crack and degrade, resulting in rough engine running, an engine that fails to start, or an engine that stalls at low speeds.

The proposed settlement offers a Customer Support Program to provide coverage of repairs for 15 years from the date of the original sale, or an Extended new Parts Warranty of 15 years or 150,000 total odometer miles. Towing and loaners are provided as well. The settlement also provides for reimbursement if you repaired or replaced a fuel pump in a covered vehicle.

If you own a Toyota or Lexus, fill out this form by March 21.

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Volkswagen/Audi Data Breach

Did you receive notice from Volkswagen and/or Audi in June of 2021 that your personal data may have been exposed in a data breach between August 2019 and May 2021? This breach affected more than 3 million Audi owners and resulted in a class-action lawsuit.

A $3.5 million settlement fund has been established to pay monetary awards to class members — up to $350 for California customers whose information was exposed. Nationwide customers can receive cash payments of $80 or $20, depending on what type of information was exposed. Customers who experienced out-of-pocket losses from identity theft may also seek reimbursement. Shift Digital, which was named as a defendant, is taking steps to secure the personal information of users.

File your claim by April 12 if you were affected.

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Do you fit the requirements for any of these class-action lawsuits? If so, don’t hesitate to accept the free money and services that are on the table.

This story originally appeared on Don't Waste Your Money. Checkout Don't Waste Your Money for product reviews and other great ideas to save and make money.