The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Refunds available from class action suits over purchases

By Katie Hudson-Martinez/feature editor

Thanks to a handful of class action lawsuits aimed at inappropriate business dealings, many consumers have a refund coming to them.

Settlements reached with credit card companies, game developers and the largest diamond distributor in the world will right some wrongs and put some cash back in the pockets of some of their customers.

Here’s the who, what, when, where and why on some of these settlements.

DE BEERS: Loose Diamonds and Jewelry
The class action suit filed against De Beers charges the company with monopolizing the diamond market and restricting supply to keep prices artificially high.

De Beers settled the suit without admitting any wrong doing and agreed to repay $295 million to consumers who purchased a diamond or diamond jewelry between Jan. 1, 1994, and March 31, 2006.

The amount of the refund will be based on the purchase price and the number of claims received, which is expected to be in the hundreds of thousands.

For more information on the sliding scale of refunds and instructions for filing a claim, visit the settlement Web site at www.diamondsclassaction.com.

Deadline for claim submissions is May 19.

ROCKSTAR GAMES: Grand Theft Auto San Andreas
The highly publicized “Hot Coffee” software patch that enabled a sex scene between characters spurned outrage among parents who thought they should have been warned of the content.

Per a $3.8 million settlement reached last year, consumers who purchased the game before July 2005 will be eligible for a refund of up to $35 with the receipt. Those who no longer have the receipt but can provide other proof of purchase can receive $10-17. Without any proof or a disc, consumers can still receive a $5 refund.

Claims should be filed online at the settlement Web site www.gtasettlement.com before May 16.

CREDIT CARD COMPANIES: For International Travelers
A $336 million settlement was reached with a litany of credit card companies including Visa, Mastercard and cards issued by major U.S. banks such as Citibank, J.P. Morgan, Household, Chase and Mutual/Providian (a separate case is pending against American Express).

The lawsuit alleged the companies used deceptive business practices and overcharged consumers who used their cards abroad.

More than 30 million people have received claim forms in the mail, but many may believe it’s a phishing scam and may not reply.

The easiest method for those who have not used their card much outside the U.S. is to settle for the $25 standard refund and avoid having to track down records.

Claims can be filed through the Web site—www.ccfsettlement.com—set up by the lawyers who brought the suit.

Deadline is May 30.

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