Five years after the "Bought Milk" settlement made headlines, claimants are still receiving payments from the class action suit.
The suit—Matthew Edwards v. National Milk Producers Federation, filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California—alleged that dairy producers illegally attempted to boost the price of milk and other dairy products by slaughtering cows early, which reduced the supply, as TIME reported.
Through this alleged “herd retirement program,” half a million cows were slaughtered, which reduced the U.S. milk supply by 1.2 billion gallons of milk, Dr. Scott Brown of the University of Missouri told USA Today.
In August 2016, The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), its subsidiary Cooperatives Working Together (CWT), and other dairy producers agreed to a $52-million settlement to resolve the suit, even though they “vigorously denied” the allegations.
Is the "Bought Milk" settlement real or fake?
The "Bought Milk" settlement is real, as the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation attested in January 2017. “In the case of the milk lawsuit, there’s no scam,” the office stated, directing those eligible for the settlement to BoughtMilk.com to file a claim.
“The problem with a lot of the class action lawsuits is that the promise that they offer, to seniors or to whomever, is the same end or promise that scammers and fraudulent people offer,” Cobb said. “It’s kind of the promise of free money.”
When will I receive my digital payment?
The class action suit was open to anyone who bought milk or dairy products in Arizona, California, the District of Columbia, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, West Virginia, or Wisconsin between 2003 and 2017. To receive a payout, eligible individuals had to have filed a claim by a January 2017 deadline.
In July 2021, BoughtMilk.com announced that individual claimants would be receiving $7.51 from the suit and entities would be receiving $210.28. Those payments went out between September and December of that year.
One woman in Cassville, Mo., told KY3 that she received the $7.51 payment after filing a claim. “I just gave my email address,” she added. “That was it.”
Between Jan. 1 and Jan. 5 of this year, those who accepted the initial payment received a pro-rata distribution of $18.90 through a virtual MasterCard. If you’re eligible, BoughtMilk.com advises you to check your email—and check your spam or junk folders if you don’t find the message in your inbox.
“We’re pleased that this settlement will return some of what consumers lost due to this massive fraud perpetrated for ill-gotten gains,” Steve Berman, an attorney who represented the plaintiffs of the class-action suit, told USA Today in January 2017.