• You may have money coming to you because of corporate wrongdoing — here’s where to find out Friday, August 18, 2017

    Consumer ActionAre you eligible to receive money as part of a class action lawsuit? There’s a convenient resource to find out: the online class action database maintained by Consumer Action, a national non-profit organization. The database includes information about class actions or settlements that are open to claims, pending or closed, giving consumers a chance to be compensated when they’ve been cheated by corporate wrongdoing.

    “The database has become the most popular part of our website,” said Ken McEldowney, Consumer Action’s executive director. “As far as I know, it’s the most comprehensive site managed by a non-profit devoted to informing consumers of class action settlements and the availability of refunds. We’ve always been concerned at the low response rate from consumers who are entitled to get restitution and hope we can help a bit in increasing funds that are returned to them.”

    If you are eligible to receive payment from a class action, don’t expect it to be a life-changing amount. It might not even be enough for a good lunch out. But that’s the whole point of many class actions: they are intended to hold corporate miscreants accountable for swindling consumers out of small amounts. Often the amounts involved are too small to make it worthwhile for any individual consumer to pursue legal action. but those small amounts can add up to thousands or even millions of dollars in ill-gotten gains, depending on the number of consumers affected. That’s when, by joining together as a class, consumers can win compensation and discourage corporate misbehavior.

    In addition to the class action database, Consumer Action’s website offers a comprehensive consumer protection and financial literacy information center, with a library of consumer publications, a consumer resource directory and an online help desk.

    –J.G. Preston

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