You Could Be Eligible For These Class Actions And Not Even Know It

Image courtesy of Samuel M. Livingston

The class action system is slow, profitable for lawyers, and flawed, but for now it’s the best tool that ordinary consumers have for holding companies that have wronged a lot of people responsible with a relatively small financial impact. Not all suits are well publicized, though, and you might not know that you’re eligible. Did you buy a computer between 2003 and 2008? How about “natural” cleaning products or lavender-scented baby products?

If you like to follow the freshest class actions, follow the site Top Class Actions: they share new lawsuits and settlements on Facebook and Twitter as well as the website itself.

A few things you should remember about class actions: “soon” is a relative term. the process can be very slow, and can take years to reach a final settlement. Also, check suits that you might be eligible for even if you no longer have a proof of purchase. Most simply ask that you swear on penalty of perjury that you did, in fact, buy the item.

MyPillow: The company settled claims that it made unsubstantiated health claims in its advertising, including improving users’ REM sleep and treating sleep apnea and insomnia. That’s just one of the company’s recent legal fights. Consumers can receive $5 if they bought up to three pillows, and an additional $5 if they bought three or more and still have their proof of purchase to turn in. Deadline: Dec. 26, 2016

Seventh Generation false advertising: This class action settled allegations that Seventh Generation falsely marketed its products as “non-toxic” and “hypoallergenic” when they contain substances that can be toxic to human skin. Class members must have purchased products between Nov. 14, 2010 to Oct. 12, 2016, and can receive up to half the retail price of the product they purchased for up to 10 products. Proof of purchase is not required, but class members who do turn in receipts may receive higher payments. Deadline: Dec. 27, 2016

Wells Fargo robocalls: If you received a robocall about your overdrafts from Wells Fargo between Apr. 21, 2011 and Dec. 19, 2015, you could receive up to $70. Deadline: Jan. 17, 2016

Follett Higher Education text messages: This class action settled allegations that an estimated 1.8 Follett bookstore customers received unwanted text messages from the company, a violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. To be part of the class, you must have received an unwanted text from the company between Oct. 9, 2011 and Dec. 24, 2015. Deadline: Jan. 20, 2017

Sprint early termination fees: This one takes us way back, since it’s over a mobile carrier’s actions from 1999 to 2007. Sprint is settling allegations that it imposed early termination fees on customers, and the fees were higher than the amount needed to offset the actual harm done to Sprint by the customer leaving. You’re eligible if you paid a Sprint ETF while living in California between July 23, 1999 and Mar. 18, 2007. Claim deadline: Apr. 25, 2017

Johnson & Johnson Bedtime Bath Products: This suit settles accusations of false advertising, since ads and packaging proclaimed that the products were “clinically proven” to improve babies’ sleep. Parents and caregivers can claim up to $3 per product for a total of $15, or $30 if they still have the original receipts. Deadline: Apr. 28, 2017.

Optical disk drives: This class action settled allegations that manufacturers engaged in price-fixing of the optical disk drives that they sold to the companies that actually make computers. If you purchased a computer between Apr. 1, 2003 and Dec. 31, 2008 that included an optical disk drive, or a drive meant to be plugged in or installed in a computer, and you live in one of the states listed below, you’re eligible.

Arizona, California, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

The companies in this case accused of antitrust behavior were Sony, Hitachi-LG Data Storage, Panasonic, and NEC. The settlement will be up to $10 per drive, and you do not need to provide proof of purchase. Deadline: July 1, 2017

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