The "Bargainista" columnist for the on-line news site TCPalm.com, a USA Today affiliate focusing on Florida's Treasure Coast, commonly covers subjects such as the availability of "mooncakes" at Denny's on eclipse day, the supply of pretzels at the Wawa convenience store chain, and special deals available on "holidays" like National Fajitas Day, National Bowling Day, National Lipstick Day, and National Frozen Custard Day.
Today, columnist Kelly Tycko weighs in on what is arguably a more serious subject: How to submit claims for class action settlement funds. The column's title ("Want free money? Sign up for class action lawsuit settlements") made me a little apprehensive that the advice would be to try to game the system for some extra cash. I was pleasantly surprised to see that it consisted entirely of advice on how to make legitimate claims, including admonitions to be honest in submitting claims under penalty of perjury and advice to submit documentary proof with claims.
The column's bottom line: Consumers shouldn't ignore settlement notices, but should file claims when they qualify under a settlement. I can't argue with that. Bumping up the rates of legitimate claims can only enhance the effectiveness and reputation of consumer class actions.
I did note one bit of irony. The column points out that class settlements often involve substantial payouts and, as an example, mentions a settlement in a Telephone Consumer Protection Act case involving telemarketing calls allegedly made on behalf of Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian cruise lines by Resort Marketing Group (the settlement website is here). When I first looked at the column on class settlements, I was treated to a little video ad for Viking Cruises, a competitor of the defendants in that case. That is some targeted advertising!