starkist-tuna-cans

(Update: Shortly after the settlement was finalized, six appeals were filed. Those objections are still being heard, so it will be quite a while longer before you’ll be seeing your share of the settlement.)

If you’ve been waiting more than a year for your $50 in tuna coupons or $25 in cash from the StarKist tuna class action lawsuit settlement, there’s good news and bad news. The good news is, your coupons or check will finally be on the way soon. The bad news is – you’ll be getting a lot less than you had hoped. Instead of $50 in coupons or $25 in cash, try $4.43 in coupons, or less than two bucks in cash.

Well, that was worth the wait, wasn’t it?

A federal judge has granted final approval to a settlement agreement in the case of Hendricks vs. StarKist. California consumer Patrick Hendricks sued the tuna company back in 2013, accusing it of “cheating purchasers” by underfilling 5-ounce cans of tuna by as much as 17%. The lawsuit was granted class-action status, so any shopper who purchased any of the affected varieties of StarKist products from February 2009 through October 2014 was able to file a claim.

Without admitting any wrongdoing, StarKist agreed to settle the case last year. It set up a $12 million fund, to provide payouts of $25 in cash, or $50 in tuna coupons. The fund was enough to cover 80,000 coupon claims and 120,000 cash claims.

But never underestimate the draw of free tuna – or free money. Instead of 200,000 claims, more than two and a half million people submitted claims for cash or coupons before the claim period ended late last year. And, as the fine print of the settlement agreement stipulated, each claimant’s share of the $12 million is to be prorated accordingly.

The agreement technically wasn’t “$25 in cash or $50 in coupons”, after all – it was “up to $25 in cash or $50 in coupons.”

Of the 2,512,034 claims submitted, 902,643 members chose to receive the coupons. If you’re one of them, keep an eye on your mailbox for your share of the settlement – approximately $4.43 worth of coupons. If you’re one of the 1,607,632 who opted for the cash, you’re about to receive a check for a whopping $1.97.

The judge rejected an earlier version of the settlement back in February, which led to the lengthy delay as the two sides hammered out a revised agreement. And last Thursday, the judge decided he was okay with this one. The average retail price for a 5-ounce can of StarKist during the time the cans were allegedly underfilled was 86 cents, he noted. With an average underfill between 4.5% and 16.7%, that meant consumers overpaid by an average of 3.87 cents to 14.3 cents per can. “A $1.97 cash payment would provide full recovery for 13 to 50 cans, and a voucher of $4.43 would provide full recovery for 30 to 114 cans,” the judge concluded, determining that the settlement was more than fair.

Fair, maybe, but not anywhere near as lucrative as it might have been.

If you’re wondering why there hasn’t been much coverage of this finalized settlement agreement, it’s probably because the parties involved aren’t exactly shouting the news from the rooftops. A curious section in the settlement agreement stated that “there will be no press release regarding the settlement, and neither side will initiate contacts with the media nor issue any public statement… Any party can respond to inquiries initiated by the media, and in doing so may decline to comment.”

In response to inquiries from Coupons in the News, both StarKist and the plaintiffs’ lead attorney chose the “decline to comment” option.

So there’s no word on exactly when the checks and coupons will be sent out, and how many coupons claimants can expect to receive. The settlement agreement notes that the face value of each coupon will be “an amount between $1.00 and $2.00,” which suggests that the settlement will consist of at least two, and as many as five, coupons for a free can of tuna.

As for Hendricks, the original plaintiff, he won’t be waiting by the mailbox for his few bucks like every other consumer who is party to the settlement. In recognition of his trouble in filing the lawsuit, he’ll receive a $5,000 cash payment. His attorneys, meanwhile, will get a grand total of $3.6 million in fees and expenses.

Not “up to” $3.6 million, and not $3.6 million worth of tuna coupons – they’ve opted to receive their payment in cash. When it comes to class-action settlements that cost companies millions and provide consumers with a pittance, leave it to the lawyers to end up the real winners.

82 Comments

  1. Richard Scott says:

    I filled 22 Aug 2015, forgot about till to day when I found my copy of the claim. It says $25.00 cash, not up tp $25.00 Like so many others I no longer buy StarKist. Its a rip off of the consumers.

  2. I never received mine either

  3. I Filed my claim August 26,2015. Not a peep so far.
    I have since moved. Any idea how to update my address ?
    The post office only sends mail for 1 year lol.

  4. Equal justice under the law, unless you’re a StarKist customer.
    In that case they skewed you.

  5. Many, many years my family and I have trusted Starkist, as well as other companies. The product that was presented to we consumers, was falsely labeled, which I am not willing to forgive. Our daughters enjoyed a tuna sandwich in their lunch box and our family enjoyed it as a weekend lunch sandwich. Shame, shame on Starkist for stalling all we consumers for so long!! I have not purchased any Starkist product and will NOT.

  6. Brennan Boru says:

    End of May 2017 and still not so much as a $2 coupon.

    • Jo Ann Miller says:

      My son and I also filed claims back in Oct, 2015. As of today – June 4, 2017 – neither of us have received either a check or a coupon for this class action lawsuit. I still have our claim numbers – waiting for this to be settled. Guess they figure by now everyone would have forgotten about it.

  7. I’ve been waiting over a year for my StarKist Tuna Coupons. I will not be purchasing StarKist ever again. I hope other people do the same.

  8. Betheny Spry says:

    I just found out today that I will not be receiving my voucher and to me and my family this is really unfair!!!! Considering my family is on a budget and we eat a great amount of tuna.. either tuna salad or in casserole and I am a loyal costumer and have been for at least 16 years!!!! I feel cheated… A great percentage of people that filed claims were probably just trying to get something Free. I’ve always purchased Starkist but will be trying other options!!!!

    • Betheny Spry says:

      P.S. Didn’t mean we live off of it however my pantry always contains Starkist tuna and my next shopping trip I will be switching brands!!!!! I don’t like being Lied to!!!! Especially by a company that I have contributed to for years. Also makes me wonder how much money I wasted when the cans were shorted. STARKIST not only LIERS also THEIVES!!!!!!!!!!

      • Do what I did when i read this and the main site saying they claimed yet ANOTHER Appeal, Switch to Chicken of the Sea “UPDATE – March 2017 – The District Court granted Final Approval to the Settlement but there were appeals filed, meaning the Settlement is not yet final. Appeals can take months or years to resolve, please be patient and check this site for future updates on the status of the Settlement.”

    • I don’t know why you said that they haven’t mailed out anything yet because they haven’t settled yet. Read the article before you post.

  9. This is nothing more than a Ponzi scheme. The lawyers stir up millions of people who have been swindled by StarKist and coerce them to glom on to their class-action lawsuit – it all sounds so sexy and gratifying to the millions of victims. But they receive a few dollars – not even enough to justify their time, involvement, and cooperation – even thought THEY were the very foundation and reason for the legal action. And the relatively tiny number of lawyers each rake in a fortune.

    I’m surprised our legal system allows this kind of scam to continue. Wait – I take that back. After someone like Obama got elected nothing surprises me anymore.

  10. Give it up. This is the 4th class action suit that I have been on the winning side of. Have not received a cent. There was Blockbuster Video late charge thing. Arco debit card charge thing. Cracker Barrel something about not being allowed to leave on time thing (my wife actually). The only people who win are the lawyers. let us sue them. NLOL

  11. This is bs will never buy agian, or help these law office profit off our loss

    • Molly Reynolds says:

      Lawyers won not us.will never sign up for a class action suit again.Only the lawyers win.Starkist is still putting a whole lot of water in their food.I have no choice but to buy it ,its th.e only kind my cats will eat.

  12. I will never buy star kist products Again! Also my cats don’t eat tuna just dry cat food.

  13. can we fill out a class action suit against the law firm for not honoring the claim form that I signed..Award Selection. $50 in product Vouchers redeemable for Starkist Tuna Products.( it does not state “up to”)

  14. Shelia Bolding says:

    Im. Still wait. Also

  15. Mark Brown says:

    This is my 4th or 5th class action suit. I have been on the winning side each time. NOTHING ever came to me. Good luck.

    • My 3rd I just received my check this week for $7.54 for the TracPhone lawsuit. This is the only holdout…

  16. UPDATE – March 2017 – The District Court granted Final Approval to the Settlement but there were appeals filed, meaning the Settlement is not yet final. Appeals can take months or years to resolve, please be patient and check this site for future updates on the status of the Settlement.

  17. Claim filed 9/4/2015 nothing as of 2/27/2017, my receipt also states $50 in product vouchers redeemable for StarKist Tuna Products. NOT “Up to $50.00” Not holding my breath…..

  18. So, StarKist would prefer spending who-knows how many millions on lawyer and court cost than taking care of the people who support their business? No more StarKist for me.

  19. I’m switching my brand of tuna. Sorry Charlie, You Suck!!! 👎

  20. Chicken of the Sea is all I will purchase. We chose coupons but Starkist apparently not only bilked consumers but in my opinion Chicken of the Sea seems to have a better texture and quality. Either way they lost our business.

  21. As of February 16th, I haven’t receive my coupons either.

  22. My Claim Form Receipt says “Cash Payment of $25″…it doesn’t say UP TO $25. What a bunch of BS. Definitely going back to BumbleBee!!!!

  23. Lauren Ellerson says:

    I have my claim in front of me. I forgot all about it until i came across the print out. I want what is due me. I bought tuna faithfully actually every two to three weeks for the longest and they cant even repay me the little amount they were required. Who do we contact about this not being carried out.

  24. I filed a claim 8/27/15. Haven’t received anything as of 2/14/17 even though I
    have a claim number. Has anyone received anything?

  25. No coupons here either. Bet the damn attorneys have been paid and we’ll never see the coupons.

    • I filed my claim form on September 8, 2015. No check received yet!
      I have my printout and claim number. I followed up on this the end of last year and was told the settlement was about to be awarded.
      SCAM!!

  26. I signed up for the coupons to get that tuna for my cat when he was alive. He dead now

  27. RUTH CHIPIWALT says:

    I FILED MY CLAM ON 9/1/2015 AND HAVE NOT RECEIVED MY COUPONS . I HAVE A CLAIM # AND A PRINTOUT OF THE CLAIMANT INFORMATION . I WAS TO RECEIVED $ 50. IN PRODUCT VOUCHERS REDEEMABLE FOR STAR KIST TUNA PRODUCTS.

    • Dale Guthrie says:

      I filed my claim August 27, 2015. I have a Claim Number as well. I think Charlie swam right on by me!

      • I filed my claim on August 27, 2015 as well. I, too, have a claim number but sadly no coupons in the mail as of yet. My two 17.5 year old cats are waiting… I’m just not sure how many years longer they are willing to wait. Come to think of it, maybe this waiting is what keeps them alive for this long? In that case I am happily waiting right along with them. >^.^<

  28. margaret lebeau says:

    Have not received my claim as well?
    M. LeBeau

  29. Never received coupons. Never again Charlie or any products of Starkist again.

  30. frank fiorino says:

    sorry charlie you lose more i will never buy a starkist product again i knew there was something fishy going on what kind of fish has two knees ? a two knee fish /

  31. frank fiorino says:

    sorry charlie you lose more i will never buy a starkist product again i knew there was something fishy going on what kind of fish has two knees ? a two knee fish /

  32. I NEVER RECVEIVED MY COUPONS EITHER IN THE MAIL. THIS SEEMS LIKE A HOAX…

  33. I got nothing from participating. Yes, the tuna has gotten bad. Never before have I found bones in chunk white tuna. Real turnoff and I haven’t bought Starkist since.

  34. I have been waiting forever for a reply or any information where is my tuna coupons? or where is my $$$$ ? Why can’t you reply back give us some answers ?

    • Class action lawsuits take a lot of time for things to finally culminate…that being said…no one has said when the disbursements will start or with whom things will be disbursed from…I wouldnt look at starkist to answer any questions as they have not admitted guilt just agreed to pay out…most people will have forgotten about it long before it comes in the mail

  35. I have been waiting for a reply or confirmation from Starkist forever ! Would be nice to get coupons or reimbursement or some answers !What is up Starkist you can’t reply?

    • janice mercer says:

      Yes I wish they would reply. I have had Starkist since the very first Sorry Charlie commercial. I love starkest and would hate to have to go to another brand. Still waiting for my coupons.

  36. I opted for the tuna and never got it
    It seems they simply were trying to collect information on people never intended to send the goods – ironically after I gave my information I got spammed by many!!

  37. I live on tuna. I had gastrobypass and so i eat tuna twice a day. So where’s my check or my tuna

  38. Where’s the checks or coupons. I never got mine

  39. Katie Hardin says:

    Have not received anything.

  40. I totally agree. The Attorneys make the big bucks leaving the consumers helpless. This is ridiculous!! I feel as though this was a scam and the amount should not have been lowered for the consumers who filed the complaint prior to the attorneys settling; especially without any notice. It was absolutely pointless…

  41. read Bleak House by Charles Dickens. Chronicles the case of Jarndyce v Jarndyce, a massive lawsuit worth millions. But by the end of the tale the entire estate [spoiler alert!] is spent in legal fees.

  42. Eileen Mueller says:

    I filed my claim 9/26/2015 and have not heard anything or received anything
    claim 61973297001 What’s the deal????

  43. I haven’t gotten anything either. And my cat doesn’t like it either.

  44. I also filed this claim and have not received anything to date. This was a total rip off. Plus the quality of their tuna is getting disgusting. My cats won’t evens eat it sometimes….Makes ya really wonder what they are putting in it…if an animal won’t eat it?

  45. I also filed a claim and have not received anything to date. This is a rip off !

  46. The Only ones who make out in a class action law suit are the Attorney’s. Its a shame because they make this money at the expense of the victims who get a very small pittance. 3.6 million dollars compared to $1.97 plus $4.43 in coupons. Nice exchange rate

    • I think since the judge threw out the original settlement the judge and attorney’s should pay the difference after being promised $25 or $50 I’m tuna now we are luck if we get $4 apiece

  47. Keith Haley says:

    I filed for my claims .. and have absolutely received nothing !!! This is total Bull crap !!!

  48. Gary Masters says:

    Better than nothing.

  49. TUNAFISH5000 says:

    As usual the LAWYERS make out like bandits and the consumer gets the shaft.

    If consumers share of the settlement falls 90%, so should the Lawyers Fees and the balance distributed to consumers.

    • Exactly, Lawyers fees should not be so extremely high resulting in the consumer getting a fraction of the proposed amount. Either that or the amount awarded should be recalculated. Judges are lawyers so the buddy system of lawyers keep the majority in their control. And common, coupons are a fraction of its value. The customer who gets a coupon should get the original amount since they will be purchasing StarKist Tuna. Lastly, the company should be required as part of the settlement to increase the portion of each can of tuna the same amount they shorted the consumer for a period of years. In the long run, StarKist got the best deal all around.

  50. Pingback: Update on Starkist lawsuit check & coupons – WRAL.com | Screenny

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