There are certain kitchen staples that many people tend to buy and use without giving them much thought—including some types of cooking oils. Sure, we may pay more attention to olive oil, and whether it’s virgin or extra-virgin, or where it came from, but when it comes to vegetable and canola oils, that’s not necessarily the case.
One notable exception to that is the group of customers who filed a class-action lawsuit back in 2011 claiming that Wesson Oil engaged in false advertising. More than a decade later, ConAgra Foods—which owned Wesson Oil when the legal proceedings began—agreed to a $3 million settlement. Here’s how to find out whether you’re entitled to part of it, and if so, how to claim your money.
Why is there a class-action lawsuit against Wesson Oil?
There’s been a lot of legal back-and-forth since the lawsuit was filed in 2011, so here’s the short version:
For roughly a decade (from 2006 to 2017, though potentially even longer), the label on various Wesson Oil products indicated that they were “100% natural.” However, the complaint filed against ConAgra claimed that genetically modified corn and soy were ingredients in several of their products, and therefore, the labels stating that the oils were “100% natural” amounted to false advertising.
The customers behind the lawsuit claim that they were “induced to pay more for Wesson Oils due to that false and deceptive claim,” per the complaint. Meanwhile, ConAgra—which sold Wesson Oil to Richardson International in 2019—agreed to a $3 million settlement in the class-action lawsuit, but “denies any and all wrongdoing of any kind whatsoever,” according to the settlement website.
Who is eligible to claim part of this settlement?
Not sure if you qualify to receive part of the settlement? Here’s how to tell, according to the settlement website:
First of all, in order to claim some of the $3 million payout, you must have been a resident of one of 11 states during a specific set of dates between roughly 2006 and 2017 (listed below), and purchased certain Wesson Oil products in that state.
These products include Wesson Vegetable Oil, Wesson Canola Oil, Wesson Corn Oil, and Wesson Best Blend (as well as any others sold during that period and labeled as being “100% natural”) and must have been purchased for personal consumption (i.e. not for catering or commercial use).
Here are the states and eligibility periods:
- California: June 28, 2007 through July 1, 2017
- Colorado: January 12, 2009 through July 1, 2017
- Florida: January 12, 2008 through July 1, 2017
- Illinois: January 12, 2007 through July 1, 2017
- Indiana: January 12, 2006 through July 1, 2017
- Nebraska: January 12, 2008 through July 1, 2017
- New York: January 12, 2008 through July 1, 2017
- Ohio: January 12, 2010 through July 1, 2017 Oregon
- Oregon: January 12, 2006 through July 1, 2017
- South Dakota: January 12, 2006 through July 1, 2017
- Texas: January 12, 2010 through July 1, 2017
People who fit the criteria, and submit valid claims, may receive around 15 cents per unit of Wesson Oil purchased during the eligibility period in their state. However, the 15 cents per unit payout was based on ConAgra’s estimate that claims will be submitted for 200 million bottles of oil; if it ends up being more than that, consumers will receive less per unit.
How to submit a claim
There’s a limit to one claim per household, and two ways to submit a claim:
- Fill out and file this online claim form; OR
- Download a claim form, or contact the settlement administrator by mail (using the address below) or email (info@WessonOilSettlement.com) and request that a claim form be sent to you. Then fill it out, and mail it to:
Wesson Oil Settlement, c/o JND Legal Administration
P.O. Box 11050
Seattle, WA 98111-9349
Claim forms sent by mail should be postmarked no later than May 22, 2023. Online forms must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on the same date. See the settlement website for more information.