Don’t Complain About Free Money

A few weeks ago, I was going through the mail, and I saw an envelope that caught my eye.  The return address was something along the lines of ‘Diamond Settlement Claim’.  I remembered that a few years back, I joined a class action lawsuit against De Beers, where the lawsuit alleged that De Beers overcharged for diamonds.  Since I had bought Mrs. Beagle’s engagement ring in 2006, I figured what the heck.

Since I joined the suit in 2008, I think something triggered a memory of once, and I looked it up.  At that time, probably around 2011, it was still being all sorted out, though they did agree to pay out money that would be distributed.

So, when I got my check for $51.55, I was pretty happy.

Why?

Because when I signed up for it, I put no expectation whatsoever about actually receiving any money.  If the suit had been thrown out or money hadn’t made it down to me, I wasn’t going to worry about it or consider it a loss.

After all, I’d purchased the ring and was fine with doing so.

Some people apparently expressed disappointment at the level of their settlement.  I think they had hoped that they would be getting a bigger percentage of their initial payout.  I don’t look at it that way at all.  While it certainly would have been nice to get a check for a grand, I was realistic and figured there was no way that was going to happen.

By setting my expectations low, I was happily surprised with what I got.

When it comes to free money, I think people need to set their expectations accordingly.

How many times have you heard people complain about an inheritance that they received?  I can never understand this.  I’ve inherited money three times in my adult life, and in each case I’ve been very grateful to the loved one that chose to leave it to me.  I’ve never complained about it.  I’ve never been jealous of what someone else might have gotten.  It doesn’t matter, because it was money that I had no right to expect to come to me.

To me, it’s the same as if someone found a five dollar bill on the ground, and instead of being happy they found money, they complained that the person hadn’t dropped a twenty instead.

As absurd as it sounds, isn’t it essentially all the same thing?

The point is that you should look at free money as just that, and be grateful for whatever comes your way.  Whether it be money on the ground, an inheritance, or a check in the mail for a ‘refund’ on a ring that you were more than happy to pay for in the first place, there is no room for greed when it comes to free money.

For the record, the $51.55 is sitting in the bank in an ‘unallocated’ bucket that I keep.

Readers. did anybody else get a DeBeers check?

30 thoughts on “Don’t Complain About Free Money”

  1. I absolutely love free money! That sounds like a crazy lawsuit. Aren’t they allowed to charge as much as they want for their diamonds? I would think that the market would decide who is charging too much and who isn’t.

    • I think because they had a monopoly they were found to be forcing out competition that was willing to offer lower prices. If I remember correctly.

      • Here is a page explaining the details of the suit in case you are interested in knowing the specifics.

  2. I know exactly what you are talking about. My friend just complained about “only” receiving $3K after her grandfather had passed away and how other people in the family received the same amount as her. WHO CARES?!

  3. I could not agree more – free money is the best. Would I love to get more…sure, but there’s no sense in getting upset at getting free money. I say just learn to be happy with what you get and move on.

  4. The only people who do well with those lawsuits are the lawyers! Over the years, I have collected at least a few checks of token amounts. I would never turn it down.

    • The lawyers do end up making out the best but I figure what I get is still better than nothing!

  5. I received $40 from a class action lawsuit a couple of months ago. Since I didn’t even remember being notified about the lawsuit I was happy to receive the unexpected money.

  6. This phenomenon is known as “entitlement”, and contrary to popular belief it exists in more generations than just Millennials. 🙂

    • I agree. I think entitlement is something that is learned, and millenials have to have learned it from somewhere, right?

  7. When you hear class action you think multi million deals and it is easy to get carried away. You make a fair point, although I think I would have been unhappy, there is absolutely no reason for it.

  8. Every now and then another announcement of a settlement having to do with some investment arrives in the mail. Never amounts to more than a couple of bucks, though.

    My best class action suit has to do with an outfit that was making and selling camera film (remember that?) out of Chicago. It was a deal where you sent the film back to the maker through the mail to be developed; the come-on was that when you sent in your first roll, they would send you a new roll for free.

    It was packaged to look like Kodak film — same color pattern and very similar design.

    Developing it was very expensive, much more so even than having a regular camera shop do the job, to say nothing of getting it done on the cheap at a low-end developer. After I paid the bill for the first mail-in developing, I figured I’d take the “free” roll to the place where I usually had pix developed. And I used the free roll to take pictures of a vacation trip.

    When we got back I took it to the corner Walgreen’s, and they said they couldn’t process it — it required a special process.

    Oh, yeah? I took it to an expensive camera shop where they still did the job by hand. They said the same: the stuff required the company’s proprietary process.

    This made me so furious — because the packaging made it look like the stuff was made by Kodak, because this proviso appeared in the finest of fine print, and because the cost of processing was a HUGE rip-off, I felt it was deceptive — that I wrote a dear-sir-you-cur letter to everyone I could think of, including the attorney general of Washington State, where this outfit was headquartered.

    Time passed. I forgot about it. Then a couple years later I got a letter from a Seattle law firm asking if I would join a class action suit against this outfit. Turns out I wasn’t the only person who felt ripped off. So I said sure, not even really knowing what a “class action” suit was.

    Long story short: I got a free trip to Seattle to be deposed, allowing me to spend several days at my sister-in-sin’s gorgeous home and generally have a great time. We actually won the lawsuit, and the women who originated it got a nice settlement — and I even got a couple hundred bucks myself.

    As it developed (heh), it was not true that the film could only be developed in Seattle — just about any processor could develop it. The company had lied about this and had threatened to sue the few processors who figured it out. This circumstance did not endear the company with the judge.

    Class action lawsuits, despite the squawks of Corporate “Persons,” really are a key way to keep the crooks more or less in line.

  9. I just got $500.00 from a class action lawsuit that was settled with the banks who were rubber stamping instead of working with customers. My house was a week away from going to auction when I finally found someone who would work with me. I am happy to say that by the grace of God I still have and live in my house!!!!! I know many other people weren’t as fortunate as me:-(. I was very excited to get that money although I also felt undeserving since I was able to keep my home.

    • Well, while others weren’t so fortunate, the fact that it worked out for you is great and hopefully sends a message that will hopefully work to prevent others from getting taken advantage of.

  10. All I can say, be it anything one must hope for the best and but not to worry much about the outcome. If you keep expectations on the side then you can live happily, the least you expect the better you can live

  11. Oh man do I hate class action lawsuits! I have heard stories of law firms suing over the dumbest stuff imaginable and getting their clients in the suit some type of discount coupon and then getting millions in lawyer fees for themselves. I usually just toss the notices in the trash if i get one in the mail. On the flip side, free money is always nice. 🙂

  12. I’d definitely be grateful to accept free money no matter how small it may be. It is still an unexpected blessing and I would always be thankful for it.

  13. The lawyers for class action law suits advertise on American tv and I always think it is funny. Do people need lawyers telling them that they have been abused or harmed by a product or drug? It seems to be an American thing and some people don’t even have to show proof of harm to be included.

    The only Canadian class action suit that I know a participant in involves former K-Mart employees. K-Mart sold a lot of stores to Walmart and Target but said that because K-Mart no longer exists the pension plan no longer exists. There is a large class action.

  14. I remember collecting when the supplement AirBorne had a suit. Granted, I probably shouldn’t have bought it to begin with, but you’re right, getting unexpected money is terrific.

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