Consumer Alert: Rethinking class-action settlements

Posted: Updated:

From Ford Motor Company to banking giant Wells Fargo – a lot of companies are currently offering free money to customers in the form of class-action settlements.

But is taking that money a good deal? Attorney Jacqui Herritt says to read those settlement offers closely.

“The problem with class actions is that your remedy is so small compared to what you can get if you asserted a claim on your own,” she says.

Sometimes you must submit a claim to be part of the class. Other times you’re automatically in unless you opt out.

“People don’t realize that they have to opt out,” says Herritt. “So, if you get a letter, you need to read it. Because if you didn’t opt out of it, your rights are significantly limited.”

The amount of money that someone can get in a class-action settlement can vary widely. Victims of the Equifax data breach are likely to get $125 each. Sirius XM’s settlement over telemarketing calls is estimated at just $12. Ford’s settlement to customers who had trouble with their “My Ford Touch” systems could be anywhere from $45 to $400.

Payout information is usually sent in a notification letter, but a searchable database can be found at the Consumer Action website.

 

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