Red Bull Refund

Ian Stewart of Colorado Rockies Drinks Red Bull at Game
Ian Stewart of Colorado Rockies Drinks Red Bull at Game. Doug Pensinger/Getty Images Sports

If you bought Red Bull energy drink in the United States in the past 12 years, you can claim a $10 reimbursement due to a settlement agreement announced in October, 2014.

The Red Bull company was being sued in two class action lawsuits for their marketing and labeling of their energy drinks. The cases did not reach court, but Red Bull agreed to pay out the settlement rather than face more costs associated with the litigation.

The settlement pot is set at $13 million, and if the number of claims exceed 1.3 million the payout to each person will be reduced. As the announcement was met with huge response, it's likely that the payout will be less than $10 per person.

Eligibility: To be eligible to get a reimbursement, you must attest on the web site claim form at www.energydrinksettlement.com that you made at least one purchase of Red Bull products in the United States between January 1, 2002 and October 3, 2014. You are not eligible if you purchased the Red Bull products for re-sale, are employed by Red Bull or are a distributor, wholesaler or retailer of Red Bull.

Choice of Settlement: You can choose either of check for $10.00 or free Red Bull products. The product option is worth approximately $15.00 and you can choose either Red Bull ® Energy Drink or Red Bull ® Sugarfree and the company will ship the product to you at no cost.

Deadline: Fill out the claim form by March 2, 2015. The final approval hearing will be May 1, 2015. Checks and products should be sent out within 150 days of the final hearing. Once you receive a check, you must cash it within 120 days.

What Were the Claims?
The two suits being consolidated and settled were brought by Benjamin Careathers, David Wolf, and Miguel Almaraz in New York.

They took issue with marketing and advertising that they said misled consumers to believe Red Bull provided benefits for athletic performance, reaction time, speed or concentration. The plaintiffs pointed to articles that said Red Bull's effects were mostly provided by caffeine rather than any other ingredients, and a small cup of coffee would do the trick at a far lower price. Rather than "Red Bull Gives You Wings," they believed any small cuppa joe or enough cola would provide the same benefits. This is supported by a study published in Obesity on October 8, 2014 which found the thermic effects in diet Red Bull were likely due to caffeine alone. A review of studies of energy drinks effects on cognitive performance found that while the benefits are real, they are probably entirely due to the caffeine rather than the other other ingredients.

Red Bull denies any wrongdoing and says its marketing and labeling are truthful and accurate. But Red Bull is modifying ad campaigns and will only make claims that are medically and scientifically supported.

Energy Drinks for Exercise - Benefits and Dangers
Caffeine will produce more alertness and a feeling of having more energy. Endurance athletes such as bike racers and triathletes have long touted caffeine as increasing endurance. Caffeine works on sugar and fat metabolism so that the body saves its stored glycogen energy to release later, while mobilizing fat to burn.
More: Is Caffeine Good for My Workouts?

Energy drinks such as Red Bull provide caffeine, and the non-diet versions provide some carbohydrate in a small amount of water. Compared to a standard cola drink, you get twice the caffeine with half of the water. That can set you up to become dehydrated as the caffeine stimulates the kidneys to eliminate more water, while the drink doesn't provide enough fluid replacement.
More: Dangers of Energy Drinks for Exercise

The American Academy of Pediatrics issued a warning in 2011 that children should always avoid energy drinks.
More: Children Should Avoid Energy Drinks

Sources:

Miles-Chan JL, Charrière N, Grasser EK, Montani JP, Dulloo AG. "The thermic effect of sugar-free Red Bull: Do the non-caffeine bioactive ingredients in energy drinks play a role?" Obesity (Silver Spring). 2014 Oct 8. doi: 10.1002/oby.20905. [Epub ahead of print]

van den Eynde F1, van Baelen PC, Portzky M, Audenaert K. "The effects of energy drinks on cognitive performance" Tijdschr Psychiatr. 2008;50(5):273-81. [Article in Dutch]

Bell DG, McLellan TM. Effect of repeated caffeine ingestion on repeated exhaustive exercise endurance. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2003 Aug;35(8):1348-54.

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