Panera and Walmart Agree to Pay Settlements — See if You're Eligible for One (or Both)

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Panera and Walmart may have future troubles ahead, too.
Updated April 11, 2024
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If you ordered food at Panera Bread or went shopping for produce at Walmart, you may be entitled to a little extra cash.

As part of a class action lawsuit, Panera has agreed to a $2 million payout to settle allegations that the bakery-cafe giant misled its customers on prices and fees for delivery orders between October 1, 2020, and August 31, 2021.

Walmart is embroiled in a similar class-action lawsuit but with a much higher price tag — the retail juggernaut has agreed to pay $45 million to settle claims that it inflated the prices of bagged fruit, weighted groceries, and clearance items between October 19, 2018, and January 19, 2024. Weighted foods include not just produce but expensive meats like beef, chicken, turkey, pork, lamb, veal, ham, and seafood.

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What's a class action lawsuit settlement?

eccolo/Adobe lawsuit document

A class action lawsuit is a legal proceeding where one or more plaintiffs file an action on behalf of the class, a larger group of people who have all experienced the same issue with an organization. The groups represented can be patients, investors, employees, or customers with a legal claim against the defendant.

When more people are involved, the overall claim may be stronger.

A court order filing a class action must identify the class, class claim, issues or defenses, and a class counsel or legal representation.

Any proceeds from a class action lawsuit after legal fees, either through judgment or settlement, are shared between all members of the class, which could mean a lower payout than an individual suit would bring and could also prevent individuals from filing individual claims against the defendant in the future.

Walmart's settlement details

H. Ozmen/Adobe Walmart retailer delivery application

Walmart has agreed to pay $45 million to plaintiffs alleging misleading or improperly inflated pricing.

To qualify, you must have purchased bagged citrus, weighted foods, or clearance items between October 19, 2018, and January 19, 2024. If you think you may have shopped these categories during these dates, you have until June 5, 2024, to submit a claim.

If you have a receipt for your qualifying purchase, you are entitled to 2% of the total cost of the qualifying items. Those who don’t have a receipt are entitled to a credit of $10 to $25, depending on how many items you list in the claim. The total compensation per person is capped at $500.

Customers who prefer not to be involved in the settlement have until May 22, 2024, to opt out entirely.

One thing to note, however, is that the settlement has not yet been fully approved. The final approval hearing is scheduled for June 12, 2024.

Panera's settlement details

JHVEPhoto/Adobe panera bread company

Panera has agreed to pay $2 million to settle allegations of misleading customers with inflated pricing and delivery fees. Panera agreed to the settlement payout on the condition that the organization is not required to admit to any wrongdoing.

The complaint states that Panera may have raised prices on delivery orders by as much as 5% to 7%. The additional fee was only displayed on the app or website after the customer selected delivery or pickup. It should be noted that the dates involved in the suit coincide with the peak of the Covid pandemic when most Americans were on lockdown, and many depended on food delivery services since dining rooms were closed to the public.

“This secret menu price markup was specifically designed to cover the costs of delivering food and profit on that delivery,” read the complaint. “It was, in short, exclusively a charge for using Panera’s delivery service and was, therefore, a delivery charge.”

According to Kroll Settlement Administration, the firm overseeing the settlement, customers can submit a claim if they ordered food for delivery between October 1, 2020, and August 31, 2021.

Eligible customers will receive two vouchers valued at $9.50 each or an electronic cash payment up to $12 via PayPal. Customers will need to provide proof of purchase, which can be either the phone number used to place the order or the email order confirmation.

The deadline to submit a claim is June 10, 2024.

Bottom line

snowing12/Adobe lawsuit notary consultation

The allegations against Panera and Walmart may taint future plans of both companies. Last week, Walmart closed 23 stores across the U.S.

Meanwhile, Panera faces two more lawsuits regarding its highly caffeinated lemonade drinks. The lawsuits allege that the drinks have caused cardiac arrests that have killed two customers. A third lawsuit has been filed alleging the beverage may cause permanent heart issues.

The firms handling the class action suits have set up online portals that allow customers to see if they’re eligible for compensation and approximately how much that compensation would be. Find out if you’re eligible for Walmart’s suit here and Panera’s suit here.

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Author Details

Taylor Bushey Taylor Bushey is a professional writer with a background in the banking industry. She also covers topics including home, wellness, lifestyle, fashion, and beauty.

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