Attention current, former and prospective Volkswagen and Audi drivers: if you were one of the millions of people who received a notice back in June 2021 about the Volkswagen/Audi data breach, you’re likely qualified to claim some cash from a $3.5 million class action settlement.
Read on to learn more about the settlement, how to submit a claim, what compensation you might recover, what documentation you may need to provide and more.
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The official settlement website can be found at https://audidatasettlement.com/.
Who’s covered by the settlement?
The data breach settlement covers all United States residents who were sent a notice by Volkswagen and/or Audi stating that their personal information may have been exposed as a result of a data security incident the automakers blamed on a marketing services provider that reportedly left drivers’ info “unsecured.” All told, around 3.3 million people in the United States and Canada were notified that their information may have been leaked.
If you’re covered by the deal, you should have already received a notice—either this one or this one— from the settlement administrator that includes your unique identity verification code and PIN.
If you believe you’re covered by the settlement but have not received a notice with a unique code and PIN, call 866-329-0166 to receive this information from the settlement administrator.
If you’re not sure whether you’re eligible to participate in the settlement, contact the settlement administrator here.
How do I file a claim?
To file a claim, head to this page and hit the “Start Your Claim” button. From there, you will be asked to input your unique ID and PIN that were included in the direct notice of the settlement you received.
Is the website legit?
Yes, the settlement website is official and legitimate. It was created by settlement administrator Epiq with the blessing of the court as a portal through which eligible consumers can file a claim for compensation and get more information.
How much can I get from the settlement?
The settlement provides eligible “class members” with the option to recover cash payments or reimbursement for out-of-pocket losses related to the exposure of their personal information. Consumers may seek a cash payment from the deal regardless of whether they have incurred any out-of-pocket losses.
The amount of your cash payment ultimately depends on where you lived when the breach happened and what type of information you potentially had exposed.
Consumers who resided in California at the time of the VW/Audi data breach and who received notice that particularly sensitive personal information – that is, driver’s license and Social Security numbers, debit and credit card numbers, dates of birth, tax IDs, account or routing numbers, and social insurance numbers – may have been exposed in the incident are eligible for a $350 cash payment. Consumers who lived elsewhere in the United States and received notice from VW and/or Audi that this sensitive information may have been exposed are eligible for a cash payment of $80.
Other consumers in the U.S. whose identifying, locational or contact information—that is, information that is or could be used to identify, locate or contact a person, not including the types of information listed above—was exposed in the data breach are eligible for a $20 cash payment. This group of consumers may file a claim for cash payments only, the settlement website says.
According to the official settlement website, cash payments from the deal may increase or decrease depending on how much money is ultimately distributed.
Reimbursement for out-of-pocket losses
Consumers whose sensitive personal information was exposed can request reimbursement of up to $5,000 for out-of-pocket losses that are “fairly traceable” to the VW/Audi data breach. Out-of-pocket losses for which a consumer can request reimbursement include expenses or charges related to identity theft or fraud, falsified tax returns, or other misuse of personally identifiable information; costs related to accessing or freezing/unfreezing credit reports; assorted expenses linked to notary, fax, postage, copying or mileage costs; and unpaid time off work that was spent addressing problems related to the data breach.
According to the official settlement website, consumers whose sensitive information was exposed can file a claim for either reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses or for a cash payment, but not for both.
What documentation will I need when I file my claim?
According to the official settlement site, all claims for reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses must include supporting documentation.
Acceptable forms of documentation include receipts, voided checks, bank statements or other documents showing how much your expenses were and/or a “detailed narrative description.”
For those planning to file online, be sure to have your supporting documentation ready to go since you cannot save your claim form and come back later to finish it. Any proof submitted should be “clear” and “readable” and will not be returned, the website says.
What’s the deadline?
Claims must be filed online or postmarked by April 12, 2023. The only way to get compensation is by filing a claim. If you do nothing, you will not get any money from the settlement and will give up your right to sue the automakers over the allegations covered in the litigation.
When will I get my money?
Money will likely begin to be distributed after the deal receives final approval from the court and any and all appeals are resolved. A final approval hearing is scheduled for May 18, 2023, so consumers whose claims are deemed valid by the settlement administrator can expect to receive their benefits sometime after that date.
What was the litigation about?
Volkswagen and Audi were hit with proposed class action litigation beginning in June 2021 after hackers stole and began to peddle online the personally identifiable information of more than three million people.
It was alleged that victims of the data breach faced a heightened and imminent risk of identity theft and fraud and had to monitor their financial accounts to guard against unauthorized activity. The litigation contended that VW and Audi altogether failed to protect consumers’ information with the same enthusiasm with which the automakers collected it.
“While Defendants are more than happy to monetize that information, and despite the very sensitive nature of that information and the clear potential for misuse, Defendants left that data stored unsecured for two years,” the lawsuit claimed.
The official settlement website shares that Volkswagen and Audi “dispute that they have violated any laws” and deny each of the plaintiffs’ allegations but agreed to settle the case to avoid “the risk and expense of further litigation.”
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