GROUP lawsuits against large companies are on the rise – and millions of people could land a share of hundreds of millions of pounds.
The most common legal actions include those for breaches of private information, misleading car-emission tests and charging too much money for goods or services.
Claimants can get anything from £30 to tens of thousands in payouts, so it is well worth checking if that could perhaps be you.
These actions were common in the US and Australia but rare in the UK until recent law changes.
The 2015 Volkswagen vehicle emissions scandal is predicted to be the biggest collective action in UK legal history.
‘No win, no fee’
A resolution to the VW case is still pending, but in the States vehicle owners received between £4,000 and £7,500 in payouts.
Critics say the claims are introducing an American-style compensation culture to the UK, but claimants maintain they are standing up to the large corporations.
Aman Johal, director of Your Lawyers, said: “If you believe you have been affected by a data breach or another type of corporate negligence, it can be easy to bring a claim.
“Search for the case online and get in touch with a lawyer who is prepared to fight your case on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis.”
We take a look at some of the top consumer claims that are live at the moment.
Virgin Media data breach
WHAT HAPPENED? One of Virgin Media’s marketing databases was incorrectly set up, which allowed those outside the firm to access the data of 900,000 people between April 2019 and February 2020.
The independent IT company that spotted the breach found details linking some customers to requests to unblock porn sites.
DEADLINE FOR CLAIM: Head to virginmediadatabreach.co.uk.
HOW MUCH YOU STAND TO GET: Around £5,000 each.
British Airways data breach
WHAT HAPPENED? More than 420,000 British Airways customers had their personal data compromised in two data breaches in 2018, between April and July then again between August and September. Crooks got hold of passengers’ names, debit or credit card numbers, addresses, email addresses, and CVV numbers.
HOW TO CLAIM: Deadline is June 3. Head to bagroupaction.com.
HOW MUCH? Around £6,000 per claimant, based on a pot of up to £2.4billion.
Audi and Porsche emissions
WHAT HAPPENED? The car makers are alleged to have used Volkswagen engines with software that cheated emissions tests, known as the “Dieselgate” scandal. The VW claim is closed to new claimants but there is a separate claim for other marques.
HOW TO CLAIM: Start a claim at caremissionslawyers.co.uk. There are similar claims for Mercedes, Nissan and Renault, Jaguar Land Rover and Fiat.
HOW MUCH? Likely to be in line with VW settlements but yet to be determined.
56 Dean Street data leak
WHAT HAPPENED? In September 2015, an email was sent from the central London sexual health clinic 56 Dean Street that disclosed the names and email addresses of almost 800 patients using its HIV services. Recipients were supposed to be blind-copied into the email but the standard CC was mistakenly used.
HOW TO CLAIM: Get in touch with a lawyer as soon as possible. Some deadlines have passed but you may still be eligible.
HOW MUCH? The worst-hit could receive damages of up to £30,000.
easyJet data breach
WHAT HAPPENED? Crooks got hold of the personal information of nine million customers between April and May last year. In 2,208 of the cases, credit card details were also accessed, putting victims at risk of fraud and theft.
HOW TO CLAIM: Anyone notified by easyJet at the time might be able to claim compensation, even if they did not actually lose money. Get in touch with one of the law firms bringing a group action.
HOW MUCH? From hundreds of pounds to as much as £2,000.
Equifax data breach
WHAT HAPPENED? Credit reference agency Equifax was hit by a “mega-breach” between 2011 and 2016. It involved 15.2million UK records that were stored in the US. Some records included driving licence details and telephone numbers.
HOW TO CLAIM: One in four UK adults are likely to be affected. If you used Equifax or applied for a loan or mortgage between 2015 and 2017, your data might have been at risk. Register now with a law firm.
HOW MUCH? Up to £10,000.
Qualcomm computer chip compensation
WHAT HAPPENED? US chip maker Qualcomm allegedly charged Apple, Samsung and other firms inflated prices to license its technology. Consumer group Which? wants £482.5million in damages for around 29million customers who bought phones after October 2015.
HOW TO CLAIM: You don’t need to do anything. If the claim is successful and you owned a phone with the Qualcomm chip in it, you should be in line for compensation.
HOW MUCH? Up to £30.