Swindling Corporations for Fun & Profit
I’ve made thousands of dollars by filling out class action settlement forms online. Here’s how you can, too.
In the mid-2010s, I’d check blogs like Consumerist regularly. I’d sit down with my coffee and cereal in the morning, pop open the site, and read about the latest product the grocery store shrink ray had secretly reduced in size overnight (a phenomenon we all refer to as shrinkflation now), or review a handy list of all the food and drink products the TSA permits to pass through the security line, if flyers want to save money on overpriced airport food.
I was a graduate student living in Chicago on a lean $14,000-a-year stipend. My $800 rent absorbed over half that money right out. So I read a lot about personal finance, and was forever on the lookout for tips and tricks that would cut my expenses and supplement my income.
I was a teaching assistant at my university, so I ordered textbook samples from all the big publishers each semester, then trotted over to the bookstore to resell them for cash. I wandered over to on-campus events for prospective students and their parents and wolfed down the free food. I lived near campus so I could steal the wi-fi. I pirated a lot of media off that free internet (and got caught, and had to pay a $50 fine to the Recording Industry Association of America for downloading an mp3 of Rihanna’s song S&M). And I spent a lot of time on Consumerist, Lifehacker, and Mr Money Mustache.
(Remember when we used to sit down every day to intentionally check specific websites, rather than scrolling passively through our social media feeds? I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how much I miss those days of intentionally parceled out internet usage. I’d like to get back to them. That might be a subject of a future piece, once I sort it out in my own life.)
It was on blogs like those that I discovered a site that I still regularly check today, because it continues to come through for me, regularly boosting my bank account while also granting me peace of mind: TopClassActions.com.