For years, attorneys pushed the federal courts to embrace the use of email to notify class members about a settlement. They were cheaper, they argued, more modern, and less likely to end up in the trash. But a comprehensive study out this month by the Federal Trade Commission found that emailed notices weren’t getting more consumers to sign up for their refunds—in fact, they’re making things worse.

The report, called “Consumers and Class Actions: A Retrospective and Analysis of Settlement Campaigns,” found that email notices resulted in a median claims rate of 2% and a mean claims rate of 3%, weighted by the number of class action members. That is far lower than traditional packets of class action materials sent by U.S. mail, which resulted in a 10% weighted mean and 16% median, the FTC report said.

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