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How to Get Money From Wesson Oil's $3 Million False Advertising Settlement

The company is accused of falsely pitching oil made from genetically modified vegetables as "100% natural."

Vegetable oil on a shelf
Until 2017, language on Wesson oil bottles claimed the oil was "100% natural."
Getty Images

Wesson oil was developed by food chemist David Wesson in the 1880s as a commercial alternative to shortenings with animal fat. But a class-action suit (PDF) filed back in 2011 alleges that ConAgra Foods, Wesson's then-parent company, falsely advertised the oil as "100% natural" even though it's now made from genetically modified vegetables.

After more than a decade of legal wrangling -- including a rejected $8 million settlement -- a federal judge gave preliminary approval in November to a $3 million payout to customers.

The official settlement site went live in December and customers who purchased Wesson oil during the specified timeframe can now file for compensation.

Here's how to find out who qualifies, how much money you could get from Wesson and how to submit a claim.

For more on class action suits, find out if you're eligible for money from Apple's $50 million MacBook keyboard settlement or Keurig's $10 million K-Cup payout.

What is Wesson accused of in this lawsuit? 

From at least 2006 until 2017, language on Wesson oil bottles claimed it was "100% natural."

But the lawsuit alleges that's false advertising, as the oil contains genetically modified corn and soy. Customers were "induced to pay more for Wesson Oils due to that false and deceptive claim," according to the complaint.

By July 2017, ConAgra had removed the "100% natural" language from Wesson packaging and stopped advertising its products that way. The following year, it agreed to an $8 million settlement to resolve the case. 

But a federal judge rejected the deal because nearly $7 million of it was going toward attorneys' fees. The agreement "includes too many indicators that class counsel's and Conagra's self-interest unduly influenced the outcome of the negotiations," District Court Judge Cormac J. Carney wrote.

A reworked settlement announced in 2022 provides $3 million for affected consumers with no fees for the plaintiffs' attorneys.

ConAgra Foods did not respond to a request for comment but, in court filings, denied any wrongdoing. It sold the Wesson brand to Richardson International in 2019.

Read on: What Is a Class Action Lawsuit?

Who is eligible to file a claim? 

The settlement covers anyone who purchased Wesson brand cooking oils -- including Wesson Vegetable Oil, Wesson Canola Oil, Wesson Corn Oil and Wesson Best Blend -- which were marketed, advertised and/or sold as "natural."

In addition, the products must have been purchased for personal consumption and not commercial use or catering.

Only residents of 11 states are covered by this settlement, and each state has its own date range for qualifying Wesson purchases.

Class-action deadlines by state

State Valid period
California June 28, 2007, through July 1, 2017
Colorado Jan. 12, 2009, through July 1, 2017
Florida Jan. 12, 2008, through July 1, 2017
Illinois Jan. 12, 2007, through July 1, 2017
Indiana Jan. 12, 2006, through July 1, 2017
Nebraska Jan. 12, 2008, through July 1, 2017
New York Jan. 12, 2008, through July 1, 2017
Ohio Jan. 12, 2010, through July 1, 2017
Oregon Jan. 12, 2006, through July 1, 2017
South Dakota Jan. 12, 2006, through July 1, 2017
Texas Jan. 12, 2010, through July 1, 2017

How much can I get from Wesson?

Class members who submit valid claims are eligible for 15 cents per unit of Wesson Oil products they purchased during the class period.

ConAgra estimates consumers will submit claims for 200 million bottles but, if more are claimed, the price per unit will drop, according to the settlement website.

How do I file a claim?

To receive payment, you can file a claim online or mail a completed claim form to: 

Wesson Oil Settlement
c/o JND Legal Administration
P.O. Box 11050 
Seattle, WA 98111-9349 

Claimants must list the total number of Wesson products they purchased (and in which states) but aren't required to show proof of purchase.

Residents of New York and Oregon must specify the city or town in which the purchases were made.

What is the deadline to submit a claim in the Wesson settlement?

All claims must be submitted or postmarked by 11:59 p.m. on May 22, 2023. There is a limit of one claim per household. 

The deadline to object to or exclude yourself from the settlement is March 22, 2023.

A final fairness hearing on the agreement has been scheduled for April 24, 2023. Any payments would be issued after that, but could be delayed by appeals.

Read on: How to Claim Money from Avis' $45 Million Toll Charge Settlement