Isn’t it great when found money just falls into your lap?
Money expert Clark Howard has great advice on how to find unclaimed money in your name — maybe it’s a check you forgot to cash; money left in a bank account that’s gone inactive; misplaced funds you were owed from an insurance policy, or something else entirely.
But there is at least one other way that money can come knocking on your door looking for you…
Don’t forget about class-action settlements
Class-action settlements technically take a little more work than finding unclaimed money because you usually have to complete and mail paperwork and sometimes produce prior proof of purchase to qualify for monetary compensation when a company does something wrong.
But for a little effort, you can get a sizeable payoff in some cases.
Take this example: I don’t even remember exactly how we became claimants in the Baby Products Antitrust Litigation Settlement, though I suspect it probably has something to do with a Britax car seat my wife and I bought about seven years ago.
The point is, at some time in the past, I was contacted by Britax about this settlement. Rather than throwing their paperwork out, I took a few minutes to fill out whatever info they needed and send it back in. Or maybe I did it all online. I really don’t remember any longer!
What I do know is that a few minutes of effort paid off in the form of several checks that totaled up to $45 and change arriving at our home recently.
Meanwhile, one of my-coworkers just got a settlement check as well from another case.
This one was from 23andMe, the DNA testing company, as part of their recent settlement agreement.
“[It] was $12.50 per kit for four kits we purchased (on sale!) for my parents and in-laws,” my friend told me.
Of course, settlements aren’t always as big as those two!
In fact, sometimes all you get is peanuts.
Another of my colleagues on our sister site ClarkDeals.com received this check in the mail from a Wells Fargo settlement.
What do you think she should do with her dollar?
Don’t spend it all in one place, right?!?
How to find out about class-action lawsuit settlements
In theory, if you’re eligible for a settlement, you should be contacted about it and given the opportunity to participate or opt-out. In the latter case, you would then hire your own lawyer to bring your own charges against the errant company.
But if you don’t get the heads-up about settlements relevant to you, you can always take it on yourself to keep up on the latest class-action settlement news at Law360.com.
Other resources to know about include sites like ClassActionRebates.com and ClassAction.org. Both do a nice job of tracking ongoing settlements, explaining what hoops you have to jump through to file a claim and telling you what the final dollar amount of the settlement may look like for you.
We should note that these sites mentioned above are all for-profit operations — even the “dot org” refers clients out to certain attorneys they partner with — so you should go into that with eyes wide open.