Have you bought A&W root beer or cream soda over the last seven years? If your answer is yes, you could be entitled to part of the company's recent $15 million settlement. A&W Concentrate and its parent company, Keurig Dr. Pepper, have settled this lawsuit to resolve claims that they made misleading marketing statements about the type of vanilla used to produce specific types of root beer and cream soda.
In a 2019 lawsuit, plaintiffs alleged that because A&W root beers and cream sodas are made with an artificial vanilla called ethyl vanillin, the company advertising the drinks as made with aged vanilla was misleading to "reasonable customers."
A&W Concentrate and Keurig Dr. Pepper haven't been legally reprimanded for any claim, and they maintain that the advertising on the root beer and cream soda products that the company produces is "truthful, accurate" and compliant with Food and Drug Administration requirements. The suit was settled to avoid any further expense, the companies said. Keurig Dr. Pepper didn't respond to CNET's request for additional comment.
If you think you might be eligible to submit a claim, read on to find out how much you could get from the settlement. The deadline to submit your claim is tomorrow, Oct. 18, so if you think you could be eligible and are interested in submitting a claim, you won't want to wait.
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Who is eligible to submit a claim?
If you bought one of the following products in the US between Feb. 7, 2016, and June 2, 2023, you're eligible to submit a claim.
- A&W root beer, regular
- A&W root beer, diet
- A&W root beer, Zero Sugar
- A&W root beer, Ten
- A&W cream soda, regular
- A&W cream soda, diet
- A&W cream soda, Zero Sugar
Note that to be eligible the products must have been purchased for personal use, not for resale, and must have "made with aged vanilla" printed on them.
How much can I get from A&W?
There are three different tiers you could be in when you submit a claim. They're based on whether you have proof of purchase. It's important to know that there's a $15 million cap on the lawsuit -- so your payment could be reduced to make sure that the settlement payout is no larger than $15 million.
Tier 1 is for claims without proof of purchase. If you have no proof of purchase for your claim, you'll get $5.50 per household.
Tier 2 is mixed, for claims that do and don't have proof of purchase. If you fall into this mixed tier, you'll be guaranteed a minimum of $5.50, and you'll get an additional 50 cents per unit that has a valid proof of purchase. You can claim up to 39 units with a proof of purchase for a payment of up to $25 (including the minimum $5.50).
Tier 3 is for claims supported by proof of purchase. You're guaranteed a minimum of $5.50, and for every unit you submit over 11 units, you'll receive 50 cents. You can submit up to 50 units with proof of purchase, for up to $25 (including the minimum $5.50).
How can I file a claim? When should I file by?
You can submit a claim form online at the settlement website or you can print out a form, complete it and mail it to:
Sharpe v. A&W Concentrate Co.
Kroll Settlement Administration LLC
P.O. Box 225391
New York, NY 10150-5391
Your claim must be submitted or postmarked by 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 18, 2023.
When will I get my money?
A final approval hearing is scheduled for Oct. 19, 2023. Any payments would go out after that date, but the process could be delayed by appeals.