The Coast News Group

Don’t toss those class action notices

We’ve all gotten them in the mail. Usually it’s a postcard with a bunch of small print and confusing instructions. Those notices saying there’s a class action settlement and somehow they got your name. My secretary just told me she just tosses them in the garbage!
“What?” I said. “You could be throwing away a lot of money!” 
“No, I was just going to get a coupon for a buck off my next purchase of dog food,” she said.
I don’t blame her. I used to toss them away, too, until I really started to examine them as a consumer attorney. Don’t get me wrong: class action lawsuits keep big corporate wrongdoers honest and provide justice to a big group of consumers who each only suffer a little bit of harm. If we had to sue individually for each person who bought a tainted bag of dog food, for example, no lawyer in America would take the case where, if you win, you get back the cost of the dog food. It allows lawyers to represent a whole group of folks at one time and makes it economically viable to do so. But …
There’s always a “but,” and that leads me back to the point of this article. Sometimes, the proposed settlement isn’t fair to the consumers who got ripped-off in the first place. Sometimes, the settlement doesn’t give each person enough, doesn’t make the wrongdoer pay enough, or gives the lead attorneys too much in fees. If you get one of the notices, have it examined for free by a qualified consumer attorney to look at the specifics of the proposed class action settlement. If you don’t agree with the terms, you may be able to object. If your objection is warranted, you may be entitled to extra compensation for helping the class get a better deal!
So, next time you get one of the annoying notices in the mail, have it looked at by a qualified attorney before you toss it. You could not only earn extra money, but you could help out a lot of other folks as well. That’s one of the ways that justice works in America.