Large portions of class action lawsuit settlement funds go unclaimed each year. Many affected consumers don’t receive notification of settlements, and when they do, the opportunity may come shrouded in legalese.
If you glaze over when you hear legal mumbo jumbo, I’m right there with you. For the unfamiliar, comprehending a single sentence with legal terminology can be like navigating a maze. But I’ll break this down to make it as painless as possible and unveil an opportunity to earn some additional income.
What Is a Class Action Lawsuit?
A “class action lawsuit” is a suit (a proceeding bought by one party against another in a court of law) in which a large group of people (the “class,” composed of “plaintiffs” in our case) claiming to have been injured by an entity (the “defendant,” in other words, the sued or accused person[s]) in a similar manner (e.g., having all purchased defective items during a certain year) are represented by a member of the group (the “lead plaintiff” or “class representative”), who litigates (engages in legal action) against that entity on their behalf. Those affected are required to be notified (often via mass media) as part of due process (U.S. citizens’ entitlement to fairness in legal matters by the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution), and those potential class members are usually given the option of opting in or out. If the lawsuit is approved by the federal courts, a settlement agreement is reached with a defined amount of money (the “settlement pool”) the defendant agrees to pay to class members. Often, large portions of settlement funds go unclaimed because those entitled to them don’t encounter the notice.
How to Find and Submit Class Action Lawsuit Settlement Claims
Submitting claims is often very simple, with a short form, and many are for products for which proof of purchase isn’t necessary. I suggest periodically checking and subscribing to sites that provide a compiled list of open settlements, such as Class Action Rebates (this site is particularly useful because it lists whether or not proof of purchase is required), ClassAction.org, Top Class Actions, and Consumer Action.
It may sound too good to be true to get money by filling out a one-minute form, and it will likely take some time for your check to arrive, if at all. But once you receive your first payout, you’ll be hooked.