We are non-commercial, all volunteer and supported by our readers. Please help sustain the Dew by making a donation.
Retirement, by Way of Class-Action Lawsuit
I have a new retirement scheme.
As a UGA professor, I’m a part of the state’s optional retirement system, one separate from the teacher retirement plan. As an untenured assistant professor a million years ago, I couldn’t risk not getting tenure and thus losing money put into the account should I have to leave UGA for another university.
In other words, my TIAA-CREF account relies heavily on the stock market to pay for my golden years. If you have a sore neck from watching the ups and downs of the market lately, you understand how disconcerting this can be.
At UGA, “optional” means you have only the option of retiring, not actually doing so.
In a few years I’ll waddle to class behind a walker, an IV stuck in my arm to keep myself properly medicated. Or I can turn to an exciting new supplemental retirement plan that involves me as a member of several class action lawsuits that I wasn’t even aware that I was participating in to begin with. Until recently, that is. To explain, in the past couple of weeks I’ve received three emails giving me the good news – I’m part of a class action decisions that will mean money in my pocket. They are:
- Ticketmaster. Apparently I attended a concert sometime in my past. In this case, I’m part of “a nationwide class of consumers” (known as the “Class”) who bought tickets through Ticketmaster’s web site (known as “the Website”) between Oct. 21, 1999 and Oct. 19, 2011 (known as the “Class Period”) and followed by a crapload of other legalese that tells me Ticketmaster is accused of deceptive and misleading tactics in hiding costs. What do I get? A buck-fifty for some concert I don’t remember, probably in Atlanta.
- iTunes. Yep, like everyone else I’ve bought an iTunes card or two (or a million as safe holiday gifts for nephews and nieces I barely know). Some of the cards were labeled as “songs for 99¢” when songs often sold for $1.29. Bad Apple. Rotten Apple. In this deal, I get a $3.25 iTunes Store credit to buy, I suppose, songs for more than 99¢. This is a “top settlement” according to one site that tracks this stuff.
- Classmates.com. My favorite. You may have seen this online site, and my high school reunion used it, which led to me in a moment of weakness to foolishly create an account there. Among other things, the lawsuit claims that “Classmates sent e-mail to subscribers of www.classmates.com that violated the law and the privacy rights of subscribers.” In less legal terms, they annoyed the hell out of you with stuff they made up and they wouldn’t go away, no matter how often and how nicely you asked. This is a big score. I may rake in as much as $10.
If there’s a lesson here, it’s that you have to spend money to make money. Spend enough, spread it around, and somewhere somehow, some sleazy company will get caught doing dirty and you’ll reap tens of dollars in future settlements. That’s enough to help fund a retirement plan based largely on me stealing from a bowl whatever food the cat doesn’t eat.
It’s a plan.
- Photo licensed by LikeTheDew.com from iStock.com © BanksPhotos
Worthy of Comment
Also on the Dew
It is not just the criminal justice system that needs fixing. Over two decades ago I first wrote an Op Ed piece on the value of a human life. The focus was that in this society we continue to value a human life on a sliding scale with white males at the top and black males at the bottom. Yes, our societal norms have changed over the centuries since the first Africans were brought to the shores of the Americas, but have our values, especially in terms of valuing human life, changed. If you look at what is taking place today, Read on →
It's the second week of January 1999 and the McCartneys are visiting Atlanta. But not for a concert. On this trip, Heather McCartney is unveiling her line of houseware items at the America's Mart, and Paul is there to guarantee his daughter ample media play. After helping to promote Heather's rugs, cushions and other items arrayed with designs inspired by the Huichol and Tarahumara tribes of Mexico, Paul and his son, James, make a smooth exit to explore the side streets of Atlanta. According to Paul, James, then 21, wanted to "visit the funky side of town." So into the Read on →
We left Shanghai’s Hongqiao Airport for Guangzhou where we spent three days before flying on a small CAAC Ilyushin 14 aircraft to Guilin in the Guanxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. The airplane was noisy, basic transportation and typical of Russian-built commercial aircraft. We nicknamed it the Friendshipski because of its similarity to the Dutch-built Fokker Friendship commonly used by airlines for service to small airports. The view as we approached the Guilin area was spectacular. Perfectly shaped limestone mountains rose straight out of the countryside, providing an eerie landscape and seeming to almost touch the wheels of the airplane. While I t Read on →
What kind of idiots shell out, or commit themselves to borrow, two hundred thousand dollars for a row house and then sign on to a "warranty" that warrants nothing other than their responsibilities as buyers and owners? Rubes from the hinterlands of Georgia, mostly, but also a bloke in New South Wales. Imagine! I have written earlier about the mortgage notes that condition a loan on the buyers of property ceding their civil rights to the financier--e.g. on a standard Georgia form the borrower: (2)Waives all rights which Borrower may have under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United Read on →