If you’ve received a class action notice in the mail or your inbox recently, you may have noticed that tucked in there somewhere was a string of random letters and numbers. In fact, your notice may have looked something like this:
This alphanumeric string is your unique class action ID—or claim ID number, depending on how it’s dubbed by the settlement administrator. More and more, administration firms are utilizing these unique identifiers as a way of knowing who’s who among the people submitting claims for compensation—that is, the “class members.”
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So, what is a unique settlement ID number, what’s it used for, how do I find it, and why do I need one? What if I lose mine? And what if I never got one?
Let’s break it down.
What is it?
A unique settlement ID number is exactly what it sounds like: it’s a number that a class action settlement administrator uses to identify who each claim belongs to.
Here’s how it all works.
Take the image at the top of this page, for example. It shows the first few lines of the actual notice sent to consumers covered by the recent Zoom privacy settlement. These people were likely notified using their email addresses – a piece of information Zoom users had provided the company with to use the video conferencing platform.
After the finer points of the settlement were hammered out, Zoom likely passed along this information to the settlement administrator, who in turn assigned each user an ID number.
When it came time for claims to be filed, the owner of that ID number would simply enter it into the designated field on the official settlement website, and the settlement administrator would know who’s filing a claim.
What’s it for?
The honest truth is that claims rates for class action settlements—that is, the total number of people who file a claim to receive compensation—could generally use a boost. A 2019 Federal Trade Commission report found that the average claims rate for consumer class action cases was, all things considered, dismally low, and typically even lower for lawsuits for which consumers were not given direct notice of the settlement.
To pull back the curtain a little further, it’s crucial for a settlement administrator to do all that it can to get consumers to file claims for their piece of a particular deal. (That is, after all, the settlement administrator’s job.)
By using a unique settlement ID number for each class member, a settlement administrator is able to create a more efficient claims process for consumers. For instance, the ID number can be used to prepopulate a claim form, making the overall claim-filing process go much quicker for consumers.
A settlement administrator can also use unique claim ID numbers to help prevent fraud, and, on its own end, keep track of claimants’ documentation and follow up via email with consumers who have not yet filed or fully completed their claims.
Where can I find my class action ID?
Your unique ID number can typically be found in the notice you received about a particular settlement. Although these notices tend to be dense walls of text, buried in there is important information about your legal rights as they pertain to the class action at issue.
Your unique ID number is important to keep track of because, if you received one at all, you will very likely need to enter that number when you file a claim. It also serves as proof that you are, in fact, a class member and eligible to file a claim for compensation.
I lost my class action settlement ID. What do I do?
Not to worry. If you happen to lose or misplace your claim ID, you can reach out to the administrator for that particular settlement. (If you happen to delete a class action notice that was sent via email, you might be able to recover your settlement ID by going into your trash folder.)
An administrator’s phone number and email address can usually be found on the dedicated “contact” page on the settlement’s official website.
What if I didn’t get a settlement ID number?
You may not have. Though unique settlement/claim ID numbers are becoming increasingly common, not every class action settlement uses them. Further, large settlements that cover huge numbers of people (think hundreds of thousands of consumers) may not have assigned ID numbers to every person who’s eligible to file a claim. To be clear, it’s not that super-sized settlements don’t use ID numbers, because some definitely do; it’s just that everyone who qualifies to submit a claim for compensation may not have been identified by the settlement administrator.
If you’re covered by a settlement but don’t have an ID number, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re out of luck. For many settlements, consumers are given the option to file a claim with or without an ID number.
If an ID number is required and you don’t have one, however, your best bet would be to contact the settlement administrator, who should be able to point you in the right direction if you’re covered by a settlement but for some reason didn’t receive an ID by mail or email. The truth is, not all class action settlements are one-size-fits-all, and the general claims process is left largely up to the settlement administrator.
Can ClassAction.org give me my unique settlement ID number?
No, we cannot. We’ve said it before but it bears repeating: We are not lawyers or settlement administrators, meaning we don’t handle class action lawsuits or settlements ourselves.
Will I get less money if I file without a claim ID?
No, there’s no reason to think you’ll stand to gain anything less from a class action settlement should you not file your claim with a unique ID (although it might take you a bit longer to fill out the claim form). Ultimately, the amount you receive from a settlement depends on factors specific to you, including, for instance, whether you have receipts, and the specifics of the deal.
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