The registrar of the website created to handle claims for refunds as part of a Red Bull lawsuit settlement says that the website experienced service outages for much of Wednesday and Thursday due to "unusually high traffic volume." The site, www.energydrinksettlement.com, was registered by the New York-based legal administration firm Garden City Group, in order to manage requests for refunds resulting from a January 2013 class-action lawsuit that found that the energy drink company engaged in false advertising.
"GCG hosts the website www.energydrinksettlement.com," Rich Tauberman, executive vice president of Garden City Group, said via email. "Due to unusually high traffic volume, the website is temporarily unavailable. We expect that this issue should be resolved shortly."
The website has been hit with an influx of visitors ever since a number of popular online news stories about the Red Bull refunds went viral, led by a Buzzfeed article on the topic that had notched more than 5 million views by Thursday evening. Access to the site was spotty on Wednesday and Thursday, a fact that belies the number of people attempting to get their refunds. Any American who bought a Red Bull since Jan. 1, 2002, is eligible to claim their share of the settlement as long as they submit a claim form that is accepted. Proof of purchase is not required to claim a refund.
But ironically, the more people visit the website and submit claim forms, the lower the amount each individuals' payout will likely end up being, as the total value of the refunds is capped at $6.5 million under the terms of the agreement. The payments were originally touted as $10 checks or $15 worth of merchandise per person who has a claim form accepted, but the actual per-customer disbursement will actually be equal to $6.5 million divided by the number of eligible claimants.
The 2013 suit against Red Bull GmbH argued that the class -- represented by American longtime Red Bull drinker Benjamin Careathers -- was misled by the Austrian company's iconic “Red Bull gives you wings” slogan into believing that the energy drink could boost consumers’ speed and athletic performance, beverage industry news outlet BevNET reported.
Red Bull agreed in August to pay out a settlement of more than $13 million to settle the false-advertising suit. The settlement fund will contain $6.5 million to be disbursed to consumers who bought at least one Red Bull beverage over the past 12 years, but the company denies that its advertising misled consumers.