Gut Rumbles

July 30, 2007


Originally published Februaru 27, 2002

Today I was invited to join a class-action lawsuit. A totally selfless, crusading law firm is determined to protect my rights as a consumer by extorting all the money it can from the company that manufactured my son's Big Jake battery-powered kiddie-truck. I remember the recall that was issued after my son, along with several of his friends, had been riding Big Jake's or similiar vehicles for about two years. Some defect in the wiring created the possibility that the battery could catch fire, although I never saw that happen, and the manufacturer offered to replace the defective unit for free at a toy store I passed on my way to work. I dropped off my son's vehicle and a neighbor's vehicle, then picked them up repaired the next day. Problem (if there WAS one) solved, as far as I was concerned.

I'm not sure what sort of damages I am supposed to have suffered to make a lawsuit necessary. My son doesn't want another Big Jake because he outgrew that ride a few years ago after putting about 100,000 fire-free miles on the thing. My only complaint about the toy was the fact that my son would ride it so hard and so far that he would run the battery dead at the end of the road where we lived. Then he would walk home and I would have to go load Big Jake on my truck and bring it home for recharging.

I am NOT going to join the lawsuit. I am surprised that anybody asked me, because I was a victorious party to a class-action against Providian Bank that I didn't even know about, until I received a check for about $8.00 in the mail. That one involved Providian's insidious practice of sending customers a low-interest credit card and later (gasp!) RAISING THE INTEREST RATE! It never cost me a dime because when Providian raised their rates, I cancelled my card and went with another low-interest provider, one of many who were sending me tons of applications every year. Evidently some people believed the Providian card was surgically implanted near vital organs in the body and, screaming RAPE!, paid the higher interest rate because they honestly believed they had no other choice. I don't know the particulars, but I received $8.00 for my pain and suffering, just as every other plaintiff did, and the selfless, crusading lawyers walked off with a cool $28 million. Justice was done.

Now, Food Lion MVP card-holders are eligible for TWENTY-EIGHT CENTS in a settlement of a class-action over sales taxes paid on discounted purchases. The one really crucial piece of information missing from this article is: How much did the lawyers make?

I'll bet it was a lot more than twenty-eight cents.

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