Consumers have the right to sue companies for violating their rights. Consumer class action lawsuits are lawsuits where a consumer, or a group of consumers, sues a company on behalf of themselves and others affected by the same wrongful act. The consumer(s) apply to the court to be appointed a class representative. For such a lawsuit to exist, the company in question must have applied a uniform policy or conduct that affected all the consumers involved.
Consumer class actions are suited to cases where the damages suffered by individual consumers are relatively too small to warrant separate lawsuits. They are also suitable for situations where consumers want a change in the named company’s policy.
There are numerous situations in which consumer class lawsuits are the best way forward. These include situations where companies use unfair marketing or trade practices, violate consumer privacy and protection laws, use debt collection practices that are unfair, commit consumer fraud etc.
Practical examples of how companies usually violate consumer rights include through unwanted robo-calls, charging customers for services not provided, bait and switch marketing and unlawful charges on bills among others.
Things You Should Know About Consumer Class Actions
You are encouraged to register for consumer class action lawsuits you think apply to your situation. In most cases, potential members of a class lawsuit are usually notified through an advertisement or through in store posts.
However, if you think you are a member of a consumer class lawsuit and haven’t been notified, then you can visit the official consumer class lawsuit website, where notifications on all consumer class cases are posted. Alternatively, you can contact the consumer protection arm of your state’s Attorney General’s office.
It is worth mentioning that affected consumers are automatically included in class action lawsuits. However, you still have the right to exclude yourself from such proceedings. This has to be done officially. Once you become a party to a class action lawsuit, your right to file a separate lawsuit is eliminated.
If you think that you have suffered damages over and above what other consumers have, you have the right to lodge a separate lawsuit. It’s recommended that you speak with a qualified attorney to find out whether your case is actionable.
When you are a party to a consumer class action case, it’s worth noting that the damages paid per individual may be quite small. However, it’s recommended that you accept the amount paid out, or else it will be passed on to another consumer who was a party to the same lawsuit. You can donate the money to a charity or use it yourself.