(CBS) — How you can cash in on money that often goes unclaimed?
CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker shows us how easy it is to collect from class action lawsuits.
Red Bull, a popular product with a catchy campaign, became the center of a class-action lawsuit, forcing the company to pay $13 million to settle claims of false advertising.
Ryan Alsot cashed in. He filled out a form and eventually a four-pack of Red Bull showed up at his house.
Graylen McClarn got money from an AT&T settlement and received something like $25.
Admittedly, a few bucks or a four-pack of Red Bull may not get you excited. But how about hundreds of dollars? Class-action lawsuits against telemarketers are some of the most lucrative.
Tucker herself discovered that her phone number is listed in a settlement agreement after she received a robocall about a vacation cruise.
Numerous websites like ClassActionRebates.com list settlements involving scores of well-known companies: Kenmore for $300; Chase for $750; Volkswagen/Audi, up to $5,100.
Chances are good you could qualify for several, and attorney Jay Edelson says most times it doesn’t take much to claim the money
“Usually if you just say I did buy this product, that’s enough,” he says.
And yet many people never bother.
“It’s shocking how much money is left on the table. Our own internal estimates are that it’s over a billion dollars a year,” Edelson says.
Because so many ignore the notices. Karen Moore tossed one and missed out on $100.
To make sure you don’t, Edelson suggests checking your email for class action notices and setting up alerts.
Kimberly Holt is one of the victims of the Equifax breach, which has generated several class-action lawsuits. She says rather than a cash settlement, she’d like some guarantee her identity won’t be stolen.
Most class action awards are considered taxable income, except in the cases of some personal injury or illness claims.