Airline Settlements

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Lynda2475

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Logged into an old ISP email account I haven't used for ages, as its about to expire and found the below email, not sure if it is a scam - but have no idea why I would be contacted at that address as its never been used for competition or mesg boards etc, but was the account used to purchase AA, Delta and Southwest tickets in 2015 and 2016.

A quick google seems to indicate there is a genuine lawsuit, just not sure if the email is spam off the back of that.

Has anyone else received this?

I doubt 5 US domestic flights would get me anything more than a few cents, after lawyer fees considering the number of passengers and flights in that period.

Dear Class Member:

Our records show you may have purchased a domestic airline ticket from American, Delta, Southwest, United, Continental Airlines, or US Airways between July 1, 2011 and June 14, 2018. Southwest and American Airlines (the “Settling Defendants”) have agreed to settle nationwide litigation by passengers who claim the four largest U.S. carriers along with Continental Airlines and US Airways conspired to increase fares on domestic flights. The Settling Defendants deny that they did anything wrong, have asserted defenses to the claims, and have settled to avoid the burden and expense of litigation.


Are you included?

The Settlement Classes include persons and entities who purchased air passenger transportation services for flights within the United States and its territories and the District of Columbia from American, Delta, Southwest, United, Continental, or US Airways at any time between July 1, 2011 and December 20, 2017 for the Southwest settlement and between July 1, 2011 and June 14, 2018 for the American settlement.

What do the Settlements provide?

Southwest has agreed to pay $15 million and American has agreed to pay $45 million. The Settling Defendants have agreed to provide certain cooperation in the ongoing litigation against the Non-Settling Defendants.

How can I get a payment?

At this time, it is unknown how much you may receive. A distribution plan will be prepared later or at the conclusion of the litigation. Given the number of Settlement Class Members, it may not be economically practical to distribute money until additional settlements or judgments are achieved. If you want to receive a notice about the claims process or future settlements, you should register at the website below. Class Counsel will pursue the lawsuit against the Non-Settling Defendants, and these Settlements may help pay expenses for Class Counsel to do so. If no additional settlements or judgments are achieved, money may be distributed to a charitable, government, or non-profit organization(s) as ordered by the Court.

What are my rights?

Even if you do nothing you can participate in the Settlements and will also be bound by their terms. If you want to keep your right to sue Southwest and/or American yourself, you must exclude yourself from the Settlements by January 4, 2019. If you stay in the Settlements, you may object to them but only if you do so before January 4, 2019.

The Court will hold a hearing on March 22, 2019 to consider whether to approve the Settlements and a request for attorneys’ fees up to 30% of the Settlement Funds, plus reimbursement of costs and expenses incurred as Class Counsel pursues claims against the other Defendants. You or your own lawyer may appear and speak at the hearing at your own expense.


For more information, visit <redacted> or call 1-866-459-3634.

 
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serfty

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[mod hat]
I have redacted a hot link in that content as it had real contact information within it.​
[mod hat]
 

RooFlyer

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As it's an old email account, seems little to lose in responding, unless they are after personal details up front.
 

UpUp&Away

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Logged into an old ISP email account I haven't used for ages, as its about to expire and found the below email, not sure if it is a scam - but have no idea why I would be contacted at that address as its never been used for competition or mesg boards etc, but was the account used to purchase AA, Delta and Southwest tickets in 2015 and 2016.

A quick google seems to indicate there is a genuine lawsuit, just not sure if the email is spam off the back of that.

Has anyone else received this?

I doubt 5 US domestic flights would get me anything more than a few cents, after lawyer fees considering the number of passengers and flights in that period.

Dear Class Member:

Our records show you may have purchased a domestic airline ticket from American, Delta, Southwest, United, Continental Airlines, or US Airways between July 1, 2011 and June 14, 2018. Southwest and American Airlines (the “Settling Defendants”) have agreed to settle nationwide litigation by passengers who claim the four largest U.S. carriers along with Continental Airlines and US Airways conspired to increase fares on domestic flights. The Settling Defendants deny that they did anything wrong, have asserted defenses to the claims, and have settled to avoid the burden and expense of litigation.


Are you included?

The Settlement Classes include persons and entities who purchased air passenger transportation services for flights within the United States and its territories and the District of Columbia from American, Delta, Southwest, United, Continental, or US Airways at any time between July 1, 2011 and December 20, 2017 for the Southwest settlement and between July 1, 2011 and June 14, 2018 for the American settlement.

What do the Settlements provide?

Southwest has agreed to pay $15 million and American has agreed to pay $45 million. The Settling Defendants have agreed to provide certain cooperation in the ongoing litigation against the Non-Settling Defendants.

How can I get a payment?

At this time, it is unknown how much you may receive. A distribution plan will be prepared later or at the conclusion of the litigation. Given the number of Settlement Class Members, it may not be economically practical to distribute money until additional settlements or judgments are achieved. If you want to receive a notice about the claims process or future settlements, you should register at the website below. Class Counsel will pursue the lawsuit against the Non-Settling Defendants, and these Settlements may help pay expenses for Class Counsel to do so. If no additional settlements or judgments are achieved, money may be distributed to a charitable, government, or non-profit organization(s) as ordered by the Court.

What are my rights?

Even if you do nothing you can participate in the Settlements and will also be bound by their terms. If you want to keep your right to sue Southwest and/or American yourself, you must exclude yourself from the Settlements by January 4, 2019. If you stay in the Settlements, you may object to them but only if you do so before January 4, 2019.

The Court will hold a hearing on March 22, 2019 to consider whether to approve the Settlements and a request for attorneys’ fees up to 30% of the Settlement Funds, plus reimbursement of costs and expenses incurred as Class Counsel pursues claims against the other Defendants. You or your own lawyer may appear and speak at the hearing at your own expense.


For more information, visit <redacted> or call 1-866-459-3634.
I would do nothing. The domain qgemail.com where the email originated shows up on several domain virus reports including this one VirusTotal. I got the same email myself and will treat it as a phishing email - suggest you do the same.
Cheers
 

UpUp&Away

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Actually after all that I found some other references to the web site for other US Class Actions and went to the site and read the documents on it - it actually seems legit but no-one other than the lawyers will see much money out of this as there will be thousands of people to be paid out. Your choice.
 

juddles

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Got the email - was wondering also if other AFF members got it. I suspect it is legit also, but certainly a waste of time....
 
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I got one as well, to a specific email address that I've only used with one of the US airlines.

Even if legit, I'd be extremely surprised if anybody other than lawyers got any money out of it…
 

Scr77

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I received the email and do remember registering for some sort of price fixing class action a few years ago. I presumed the email was legitimate but not worth following up.
 

kermatu

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I also received the email. Not that many flights and can't imagine my share would be anything to even bother about. Plus I don't actually feel aggrieved in any way!
 

Pablo

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I also got it but am quite suspicious about it.

This is what Snopes says about it FACT CHECK: Can Southwest and American Airlines Passengers Collect Money from a Lawsuit Settlement?:

Can Southwest and American Airlines Passengers Collect Money from a Lawsuit Settlement?

Claim
Certain travelers who used American or Southwest Airlines can collect money as part of a consolidated lawsuit settlement.

What's True
Consumers who purchased tickets for Southwest or American Airlines between 2011 and 2018 may be eligible to claim a portion of a settlement from a consolidated lawsuit.

What's False
How much, if anything, eligible consumers stand to collect is unknown.

In October 2018, readers contacted us saying that they had received similar messages concerning a purported settlement for passengers who had traveled on certain domestic airline flights:

Dear Class Member:

Our records show you may have purchased a domestic airline ticket from American, Delta, Southwest, United, Continental Airlines, or US Airways between July 1, 2011 and June 14, 2018. Southwest and American Airlines (the “Settling Defendants”) have agreed to settle nationwide litigation by passengers who claim the four largest U.S. carriers along with Continental Airlines and US Airways conspired to increase fares on domestic flights. The Settling Defendants deny that they did anything wrong, have asserted defenses to the claims, and have settled to avoid the burden and expense of litigation.

According to the message, the Southwest Airlines settlement applied to passengers who bought their tickets between 1 July 2011 and 20 December 2017, while passengers on American Airlines flights were eligible if they bought their tickets between 1 July 2011 and 14 June 2018.

The claims regarding settlements on the part of the two airlines are accurate, and both stem from the same consolidated lawsuit comprising 23 separate anti-trust suits. According to the complaint, the airlines began colluding in 2009 to limit their flight capacities in order to hike ticket prices.

In January 2018 Southwest agreed to pay a $15 million settlement, while American agreed to pay $45 million five months later. However, as part of the settlements neither airline admitted to committed any wrongdoing.

The email encouraged recipients to visit the website domesticairclass.com, asserting that it could help consumers who traveled on Southwest or American see if they were eligible to receive payments as part of the settlement. However, it also cautioned that:

At this time, it is unknown how much each eligible Settlement Class Member will receive. Given the number of Settlement Class Members, it may not be economically practical to make a direct cash distribution to Class Members until additional settlements or judgments are achieved. It is possible that after deductions for any attorneys’ fees, litigation expenses, settlement administration expenses, and class representative incentive awards approved by the Court, the remaining amount will be distributed to charities, governmental entities, or other beneficiaries approved by the Court. No money will be returned to the Settling Defendants once the Court approves the Settlements. A distribution plan will be prepared later or at the conclusion of the litigation based on other settlements or a judgment.

The site is registered to Rust Consulting, a Minnesota company hired by the federal government to distribute settlement checks that has been the subject of several complaints on both the Better Business Bureau‘s web site and the Ripoff Report website.

In November 2013, the consulting firm drew negative attention after WDAF-TV reported that they failed to follow through on a promised $300 settlement check over a wrongful foreclosure settlement. The recipient, Bonnie Lewis, was told that despite receiving a letter saying she would get the money, she could not collect because her name was not on her home’s mortgage:

[WDAF] Problem Solvers listened in as Lewis made yet another call to the help line at Rust Consulting to inquire about her check. But all she got was someone reading from a script telling her she would just have to wait.

So we got on the phone and asked to speak to a supervisor. We were told someone called a program manager would call Lewis, but so far that hasn’t happened. So we tried to contact Rust Consulting directly and were referred to a special number for the media, but when we dialed all we got was a recording telling us no one at Rust Consulting can talk to the media.

So then we tracked down the phone number of a senior vice president named Jim Parks and left a lengthy message about Lewis and a request for a return call. We never heard back.

After WDAF’s story aired, a public relations company contacted the station saying that Rust Consulting was “was looking into the problems” with Lewis’ check and promised to resolve them.

We contacted Rust Consulting seeking more information but did not receive a response prior to publication. But given that the settlement website advises prospective claimants that they may not receive cash (or anything at all), we are are rating this claim as a Mixture even though the airlines’ settlement agreement is legitimate​
 

JohnK

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Am I understanding this correctly? A lawsuit where no one other than lawyers, charities etc set to benefit? I can see who thought this was a great idea.
 

Pablo

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John, let's be honest, it's just the lawyers who will benefit - they have to put the charities in there for the word count.
 

Lynda2475

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I'm actually most concerned about how this law firm got (presumably subpoena'd) my name and email address? Surely passenger information is not considered public information. You'd think Southwest and Delta would need to ask the passengers if they were happy to release their name and contact email to the firm bringing the action?

Also strange that if you flew you have been opted into a class action and have to elect to opt out. I don't think its legal to bring legal proceedings in Australia without consent.
 

drron

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Another who has received the email and mine would have come from purchasing AA tickets.
I intend to let sleeping dogs lie as I figured the most you could expect was ~ $1 before the lawyers cut.
 
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Milboo

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Glad to see people jumping in with uninformed views about class actions and lawyers.

Generally speaking in the US, contingency fees in class actions are around 25% of settlement.

Also - once the class has been certified including having the required number of participants, then all affected people become members of the class unless you opt out. It is done this way to ensure all class members are given the opportunity to be compensated. And the defendant would have to provide last known contact information for all class members to the applicant.

Here is a nice summary of class actions: United States Class Actions – Getting The Deal Through – GTDT
 

Lynda2475

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According to the FAQ on this particluar suit "Class Counsel may ask the Court for attorneys’ fees up to 30% of the respective $15 million and $45 million Settlement Funds and reimbursement for costs and expenses incurred in this litigation. Class Counsel may also ask that funds be set aside to pay for expenses they may incur as they pursue claims against the Non-Settling Defendants. The fees and expenses awarded by the Court will be paid out of the Settlement Funds. The Court will decide the amount of fees and/or expenses to award"

Therefore I do not think its an unreasonable assumption to assume any payout would be very small. Southwest are paying $15M settlement (i.e. not going to court), so there is a pool of $11.25 M (assuming 25% fees) after legal fees to be distributed amongst everyone who took a domestic southwest flight in a 7 year period.

Southwest operates up to 4000 flights per day, lets assume half of those are domestic and each plane only has 100 passengers that's $511M passengers to pay (2000 flights * 100 passengers * 365 days * 7 years), that $0.022/flight.

WRT to eligibility it states " The Settlements include all persons and entities:
  • That purchased air passenger transportation services for flights,
  • Within the United States and its territories and the District of Columbia,
  • From Defendants or any predecessor, subsidiary or affiliate thereof, including US Airways and Continental,
  • At any time between July 1, 2011 and December 20, 2017 for the Southwest Settlement, and
  • At any time between July 1, 2011 and June 14, 2018 for the American Settlement."
What is unclear is whether purchasing ticket from US site (as I did buy directly from southwest and delta and not as part of an international fare) makes me eligible or i have to reside there.

Id still like to understand how they were able to get my personal details without my consent.
 
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