Thanks to a settlement of a class-action lawsuit, some consumers of Red Bull products might be entitled to either $10 in cash or $15 in Red Bull products.
The settlement covers customers who bought a Red Bull beverage between 2002 and Oct. 3, 2014, but there's a significant catch: The company capped the settlement amount at $13 million. That means returns would start diminishing if more than 1.3 million people apply. It's unclear how many claims the company has received so far, but traffic to the settlement site has apparently been huge enough that it crashed on Wednesday, according to Time. The site appeared to be operational on Thursday afternoon.
According to the settlement, Red Bull patrons can receive their settlement money or Red Bull products by four ways: Fill out a claim form on its website; email the claim to email@example.com; fax the claim to 844-533-1373; or mail to Class Action Settlement Administrator at Energy Drink Settlement, c/o GCG, P.O. Box 35123, Seattle, WA 98124-5123. The claim form is available here.
The deadline for applying for a refund or Red Bull products is March 2, 2015, so energy drink fans have plenty of time to get in their claims.
In a statement emailed to CBS MoneyWatch, Red Bull said the company "settled to avoid the cost and distraction of litigation. Since 1987, Red Bull's well-known trademark 'Gives You Wings' has been used around the world and will continue to be used in association with its products. Red Bull denies any and all wrongdoing or liability."
The settlement covers two consumer class action lawsuits that had been consolidated and were pending in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Consumers sued the company, alleging that the brand's marketing and labeling had mislabeled the safety and functionality of the beverage.
Energy drinks have increasingly come under fire from health officials and scientists. In 2012, the FDA said several people may have died after drinking Monster Energy, a Red Bull rival, while researchers at University of California at Berkeley found that energy and sports drinks can be as unhealthy as soda.
As for the cash reimbursement, Red Bull drinkers will receive a check for $10, while people requesting products will get either Red Bull Energy Drink or Red Bull Sugarfree, according to whichever one is picked by the consumer. People sending in claims don't have to provide proof of purchase.
One caveat: The court won't hold a final settlement hearing until May 1, 2015, and even if the settlement is approved, there could be appeals. Payments will be sent out within 150 days after final approval of the settlement. That means the bottom line is that you may be waiting a very long time to receive the buzz of a $10 reimbursement.