Hurry, Milk This Settlement For All It’s Worth

Like Ben recently said, we try to keep the content here on OMAAT about miles and points or aviation. But occasionally he lets me go off the rails and talk about random stuff that will still save or make you money even if it doesn’t have much of anything to do with travel. This is one of those times.

If you haven’t heard by now, there was a recent class action lawsuit alleging that Cooperatives Working Together, a federation of milk producers, colluded to fix the price of milk and other dairy products. They supposedly slaughtered half a million cows prematurely in a program called “herd retirement” to hold down production and thus drive up prices.

Cow
Mooooooo…..

And you thought OPEC was the world’s leading cartel… they might learn a thing or two from these milk guys.

Anyway, the lawsuit was settled as these things usually are, and the milk producers agreed to pay $52 million dollars to affected consumers. If you live in one of the states included in the lawsuit and bought milk at some point in the past 14 years, you can claim your share.

Our Regulated Free Market Economy

Back when I was living in Boston in the early 2000s, I remember an interesting lawsuit against a couple of dairies who were accused of selling milk below cost. That’s right, their milk prices were too low, the exact opposite of this lawsuit.

Midland Farms and Cumberland Farms were supposedly using milk as a loss leader to lure customers into their convenience stores where presumably they’d buy higher margin items. Others claimed they were selling below cost to drive out the competition.

Either way, Massachusetts is now one of the states involved in this lawsuit.

So apparently you can’t sell milk at a loss in Massachusetts. But you can’t sell it for a profit either. 

Anyway, that’s neither here nor there. The point is that there’s a settlement and you might as well milk it for all you can.

How Do I Claim My Share?

Head over to the BoughtMilk website and register. It takes maybe 30 seconds. You need to do this by January 31st.

You’ll get an email confirmation:

Email
Confirmation email

Who Is Covered By The Class Action?

You need to have been a resident of Arizona, California, the District of Columbia, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, West Virginia, or Wisconsin to be included. I’m not a lawyer, so I can’t tell you the definition of residency.

StatesInTheMilkLawsuit
States included in the class action settlement

Oh, and you also need to have bought milk at some point since 2003. Nowhere does it ask you to prove that you bought milk, however. Nor did I see any residency verification.

How Much Will You Get?

There are numbers being tossed around of between $10 and $50 per claimant. In reality, we just don’t know. That’s because the total pot of money is split among everyone who files a claim. So the more that claim a share, the smaller each share will be.

Well, that’s not quite accurate — the lawyers get their fees off the top, and it seems they might be getting as much as one-third of pot or about $17 million. It’s the lawyers who skim off the cream in these things.

But you’ll likely get something and it only takes a few minutes to apply.

Bottom Line

The milk wars are an interesting case study in how the government gets involved in regulating our supposed free market economy. Not that long ago, milk producers were being sued for selling milk on the cheap, and now they’re paying millions for selling it too high. It’s possible, of course, that that was their plan all along — sell cheap, drive out competition, then raise prices. It just so happens that they got caught.

After a wave of mergers in the airline industry, it does make me wonder if ten years from now we’ll be having the same discussion about the price of airfare. At the moment, the government has backed off their investigation and has seemingly concluded that the airlines aren’t colluding. But as the case of milk shows, these perspectives can change over time.

And with that, I did manage to tie this back to travel in the end. See Ben, I told you I could do it.

Now go claim your milk money…. 

Comments

  1. You would probably get about $1.30 in the end. Lucky will get near that for each of you reading this post and will join the lawyers as those making out best on this deal.
    Sorry, off topic posts are troll bait.

  2. What dmodemd said.

    There are blogs for following various class action lawsuits. Why cherry pick this one lawsuit in particular that isn’t travel related?

    At least the IHG California one, the Spirit Airlines one, or the ages ago Forex credit card fees one are travel related.

    Did this blog cover the Red Bull Doesn’t Give You Wings one? That could have been a corny stretch of an link.

  3. How exactly does this have to deal with miles, points, airlines or hotels?

    What’s your next article going to be about, gun control? Thermodynamics? The merits of pinch hitters?

  4. This has been all over the MSM news, and the [self-righteous] bloggers. Now “milk” it here with Travis (whose photo refuses to look anyone in the eye)! The more people who sign up, the less cash one will receive, if any. In fact, this still has to be approved before anyone gets any cash (read the print). That’ll take a few years and by then everyone will forget and the lawyers will keep the cash.

    Right…..all you have to do is enter an email address and you’ll receive a check! Boy, can’t wait for that…..forget it.

    I recall an airline price gauging scheme for overseas trips to Asia over a year ago. No one saw a dime. No one has full boarding passes. More fake stuff.

    Shock headlines like “Hurry, Milk This Settlement For All It’s Worth”, appears to be the current progressive, snowflake way of presenting information. Rather, it’s disingenuous and loaded with Fake News. Right, Travis?

  5. So basically, even if you haven’t bought milk, you can still scam the government that you did and get some money out of it? Classy.

  6. Yeah the more people push this bs, the less you will get.

    I know travis is the numbers and analytics guy but this makes me wonder.

    And if anyone engages in fraud by making up names deserve to be in jail and be someone’s bitch for at least a few months.

  7. Lucky – you really don’t need all these ‘contributors’ who really add nothing to your blog. Do they need to meet some post quota to be kept on your books?

    Just you and Ford should post.

  8. Thanks, Travis! This was the first I’d heard of it. Unfortunately, I don’t reside in any of the affected states 🙁 I always enjoy your posts, regardless!

  9. Ahhh Travis, you were on a roll with two marginally useful posts earlier and now you revert back to your mean of horribly written and useless articles. *sigh*

  10. Ok. Just decided to pack my stuff and move to one of the States in the map above so I can claim my milk money. WTF!!!!

  11. @betterbub mooove along mate, your puns are not amoozing, in fact they are udderly ridiculous. I’ve never herd such nonsense.

  12. The website is already updated

    “Expected payouts will be continuously updated as we receive more claims. The more claims that are received, the lower each payment will be as the settlement fund is fixed. The number of claimants to date has exceeded predictions, so the expected payout is now lower than originally stated on the settlement website.”

    The only people milking this are the lawyers and Travis.

  13. Well what the hell, I might as well use this opportunity to voice another troubling multinational current issue for OMAAT readers.

    I call upon the mass OMAAT readers to be aware of the evil unethical multi-national corrupt organization called PETA and its various crimes they commit hiding behind their fake mission. Please read about Jallikattu (Bull Taming Sport in South India) and help voice your support against its ban.

    Simply google Jallikattu to have an idea

  14. The post was marginally useful. Reading the comments from it was a total waste of my time. 😉

    “I thought the post was dumb, and a whole bunch of folks have already made that comment, so now I’m adding another nearly identical comment just to see my name added to the list”.

  15. Why is this posted on the blog? How’s it related to us AvGeeks? Sorry, it might be harsh, but IMHO this Just brings down the content of the site.

  16. I got my settlement from the AT&T suit and it was $1.87. And I got another one from my cable company which was under $3. I’m glad justice is served and the price fixers are caught and punished but sadly all the restitution goes to the attorneys.

  17. I enjoyed all the milk puns!

    Apparently there are some really dense readers on this blog. For those that don’t understand the connection, this blog often advocates a ‘milk it while you can’ philosophy to take advantage of all the points/miles opportunities before they go away.

    Next thing there will be people complaining how this blog is to blame for their $2 settlement being devalued to $1. 😉

  18. “It’s possible, of course, that that was their plan all along — sell cheap, drive out competition, then raise prices. It just so happens that they got caught.”

    It’s more than possible; that’s precisely what companies try to do. It’s in their economic best interest to do so, and it would be foolish for them not to. (Indeed, they have a legal duty to their shareholders to make as much money as is legally possible, all other considerations be damned. The legal duty doesn’t apply to a dairy cooperative b/c there are no shareholders, but the concept is the same.) But, of course, once a company has cornered the market, the market no longer functions efficiently. That’s why antitrust law exists: to preserve efficiently functioning markets. Vaguely-libertarian histrionics aside, government* antitrust regulation preserves markets, it doesn’t endanger them.

    *Though, to be clear, the lawsuit you’re talking about here was a class action. That means the government’s not involved in the case–it’s just a group of people** representing a much larger group of affected people.

    **And yes, lawyers (rather than consumers) make most of the money off of these cases. Legal fictions aside, the point isn’t really to compensate people who have been harmed; there’s almost no way to do so fairly. The point is to make it so punishingly expensive for companies to violate antitrust law that they don’t do so. Lawyers, like everybody else in a free market system, can only be incentivized to act by a payout. Because class actions take years to bring and usually fail, the payout is higher in order to reward the risk.

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