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Many consumers don’t realize that big companies—including familiar ones like Apple, GE, Facebook, and Kotex—owe them money from class action settlements. The money they are owed can add up to hundreds of dollars, but most consumers fail to collect.
This is partly by design since the lawyers who design these settlements may be more interested in getting paid themselves rather than ensuring consumers—who are the victims in the lawsuit—end up collecting. According to Jay Edelson, a prominent Chicago class action lawyer, typical payout rates are between 1% and 3%.
This may be changing, however, as Edelson says judges are growing frustrated with settlements that leave consumers out in the cold. He adds that since the COVID outbreak, judges have been moving along class action cases at a faster pace—presumably to speed up payouts during an economic crisis.
How do you know if you’re eligible for some lawsuit cash? A good place to start is to visit a site called Top Class Actions, which lists dozens of open lawsuits along with links for filing a claim. You can also scroll through the list of well-known companies below.
Apple: Defective iPhone batteries ($25)
If you owned an iPhone in the past few years, there’s a good chance you were a victim of “battery-gate.” The settlement covers a variety of iPhone 6 and 7 editions. File a claim for $25 here, though note you’ll need a serial number (which you might find by searching your email for Apple receipts).
Facebook: Illegal face scanning in Illinois ($200 to $400)
This is an easy and lucrative one—if you have the good fortune to live in Illinois. Basically, anyone whose photo appeared in a Facebook picture between 2011 and 2015 is eligible. The lawyers are putting the final touches on the deal, but you can expect to be contacted soon and to receive the payout in 2021. (Details here.)
1-800-CONTACTS/Walgreens: Contact lens price fixing (dollar amount varies)
If you ordered contacts online between 2004 and 2019, you can probably collect some money as a result of a price-fixing conspiracy involving 1-800-CONTACTS and other retailers. (Details here.)
Kotex: Defective tampons ($30)
Following reports the tampons were unsafe, a legal settlement lets anyone who bought them between 2013 and 2019 to file a claim for $30. Unlike some of these other suits, you don’t need to file proof of purchase—but you may be able to collect more if you can. (Details here.)
Checkers: Unwanted ads
The fast-food chain blasted its customers with unwanted text message ads. If you received one between 2013 and 2019, you can get a $10 voucher by providing your phone number on the claim form. (Details here.)
More must-read finance coverage from Fortune:
- Why is there a coin shortage in the U.S.?
- Subprime lending giant CardWorks offers a glimpse into consumers’ wallets—and some surprising clues about the economy
- 4 ways businesses can adapt to a changing supply-chain environment
- Howard Hughes CEO Paul Layne on why suburban real estate will thrive in a post-COVID world
- How one toy store owner used his PPP loan to pivot online—and saw sales soar