PayPal Class Action Notice Intentionally Obscures the Link to Submit a Claim


If you aren’t sure exactly what is going on in that image tweeted by Tony Webster, that code is showing that someone deliberately set the link to file a claim to show up black and without underlining instead of the default blue.

There is no way this could have happened by accident. By default, links are colored blue and underlined. Someone deliberately removed the color and underlining from this link. Why?

PayPal’s liability is capped at $4 million, and it won’t get any money back if there are fewer claims. The plaintiffs’ lawyers get paid before the class members. They have no incentive to reduce the number of claims. Actually, the Electronic Frontier Foundation would benefit most if there were fewer claims, since the EFF is designated to receive any leftover funds. But the EFF does not have any influence over the settlement notices.

So what happened? Well, the settlement agreement included an email template as an exhibit:


You’ll notice that the link to submit a claim is a placeholder (“available at”), and it is black, with no underlining.

That’s it. That’s the explanation. The settlement administrator, Epic Systems, Inc., was just following the email template precisely. If anything, Epic made it easier to submit a claim by creating a link.

The lesson, as Webster pointed out in a follow-up tweet, is that lawyers need to pay attention to form and style of notices, not just the words.


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