If you have seen the That Suite Money commercials, it seems too good to be true. Just sign up and get $250.
Here are the two videos we produced based on this article:
The style of the commercial reminds us of the old Canadian House Hippo campaign which tells Canadians that just because something looks real, doesn’t mean that it is. And it also brings to mind what everyone’s mom said, “if its too good to be true, it likely is”.
Is That Suite Money Legit?
After reading (ok… we skimmed… hard!) the judgments and after interviewing Naomi Kovak of CFM Lawyers, we can say that yes, ThatSuiteMoney.ca is legitimate. They have more $500 million (yes that is half a billion dollars) to disperse to Canadians.
Why Does Microsoft Owe Me Money?
We checked it out by reading some judgments including Pro-Sys Consultants Ltd v. Microsoft and contacting the law firms involved.
Put simply, the idea behind the lawsuit is that Microsoft illegally used is market power to over charge consumers and corporations for its MS Office Suite of products and its Windows operating system.
What Is A Class Action Lawsuit?
It is obvious that it would just be too hard for a individual to successfully sue a major corporation like Microsoft but because there are so many consumers and corporations involved, the Lawyers went through something called a Class Action. In this case a judge certifies a category or “class” of consumers may be included rather than a single person or company.
Often the class includes hundreds or thousands, or like in this case millions of unnamed plaintiffs like you and me. If the action is successful, many penalties can be applied to the defendant, but one of those is often money… a lot of money.
Why is ThatSuiteMoney So Cheesy?
“We have this challenging job of convincing people that they need to put in some paperwork, and we’re going to send them a cheque” Ms. Kovak told us. “We work with different agencies to advertise, … always under the supervision of the court. … We developed this campaign with an agency out of Montreal called Ogilvy. … You want to get peoples attention. It is intended to be a bit tongue in cheek and hark back to that era of cheesy infomercials”
She went on say “We are dealing with the problem in most class action suites. It seems a bit too good to be true to type in a little bit of information on this website and you are going to get money. (We are) trying to strike a balance between getting peoples attention, dealing with those concerns and also motivating people to act”
Do I Need Receipts To Make A Claim?
In a word, no. Ms Kovak told us:
“…The judge noted in one of his decisions that almost any computer purchaser (in Canada), that wasn’t an Apple user, during that time period was eligible.”
“We tried to make the process as simple as possible but we have to also protect the legitimacy of the process… we are not asking people for receipts from the 1990’s because they won’t have them, but we are asking them to swear that to the best of their belief, ‘I bought this computer in 1999…”
That being said, we were told “there are fraud detection measures” in place. For instance, there is no age limits on who can apply, and the forms do not ask you for your date of birth, but if you are one of the people randomly audited and it turns out you were 8 months old in 2005 when you say you bought a computer, you will be declined and you could be subjected to a penalty from the court.
If I Sign Up Do I Get $250?
Probably not. Unless you have receipts, you are eligible to claim UP TO $250. Each product has a value:
|Category Product Type||Amount per Eligible License (CAD)|
|Category I Product||(MS-DOS and Windows operating system software)||$13.00 CAD|
|Category II Product||(Office productivity suite applications)||$8.00 CAD|
|Category III Product||(Excel spreadsheet applications)||$6.50 CAD|
|Category IV Product||(Word word processing applications and productive suite applications other than Office)||$6.50|
If you have receipts and can prove you bought more than $250 you can claim claim claim.
Part of the fraud detection process is seeing that people do not claim $250. Ms Kovak told us “… people defrauding the process would be maxing out their claim every time, and we’re not seeing that. We’re seeing averages much lower than the maximum.”
Can Companies Claim?
Yes, companies can claim and it is even easier for them. Because most companies buy their license through Volume License, Select, Open or Enterprise Agreements, those purchases are documented. Ms Kovak said “We have the data from Microsoft about who purchased and how much the purchased”. All you have to do is start the claim and authorize the claims administrator to do the work for you.
You still go to the ThatSuiteMoney.ca website and the first question you are asked is if this is a personal or corporate claim.
Corporate claims are paid in vouchers for Microsoft software, like Office 365. “The vouchers are also transferable up to two times.” Ms Kovak explained. If your company was sold to a different company, that new company is the one who wants the vouchers.
We asked about a secondary market. For instance, if your company has gone out of business, vouchers are not very useful. “(the vouchers) can be transferred to whoever you want. …Potentially there is a secondary market, or you could donate them… you can do what you want with them… you don’t have to redeem them yourself”.
When Will I Get My Money?
The claims process is open from until September 23rd 2021. After that date they claims administrators will complete a vast amount of paperwork for the courts and Microsoft, and then start sending cheques, so early in 2022 your claim will be settled.
What Happens To The Unclaimed Money?
The settlement covers the lawyers fees and the payouts but the plaintiff, in this case Microsoft, has to cover all additional expenses like the those of the claims administrator. As such the settlement funds to not get nickeled and dimed down to nothing over time. There are also people that don’t cache their settlement cheques for one reason or another. All this means it is very unlikely that the total $500 million will be disbursed to claimants like you and I. So what happens to the rest of the money?
“…There is a formula in the settlement agreement, were roughly half of the money that is left gets rolled into a school voucher program. …(Microsoft is) pretty excited about this part of the program. We are going to go to schools from Kindergarten to post secondary trying to identify places where there is a need. The money that is claimed (but not cached) goes in to the school voucher program. The money that is unclaimed gets splits under the formula between the school vouchers and some of it goes back to Microsoft.”
What About People In Other Countries?
We think there are similar law suits in other countries but have no information on them.