Maine consumers who bought certain electronics may share in $310 million settlement

Posted March 11, 2014, at 3:31 p.m.
Maine Attorney General Janet Mills
Maine.gov photo
Maine Attorney General Janet Mills

AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine’s attorney general is asking consumers to file claims in order to receive their part of a $310 million national settlement to reimburse those who paid more for their electronics because they contained certain memory chips.

Maine Attorney General Janet Mills said Tuesday that the settlement in the class action lawsuit is with all of the major manufacturers of Dynamic Random Access Memory, who were found to have conspired to fix their prices.

“I encourage Mainers to take just a few moments to fill out the claim form,” said Mills, in a press release from her office. “In order to ensure that these manufacturers are held accountable for their actions, we need people to speak up. The activities were so widespread and these products were so common, if you bought one of the identified devices, you were likely a victim of the alleged price-fixing. The form is simple and only takes a moment to fill out.”

After completing an investigation in 2006, Maine joined other states in filing antitrust lawsuits in federal court alleging that consumers overpaid for electronic devices containing DRAM for their purchases made from 1998 to 2002. DRAM is a common form of memory chip found in computers, printers, video game consoles or other high-technology devices.

The settlements are for individuals or businesses that purchased DRAM or devices containing DRAM in the United States from 1998 to 2002 from someone other than a DRAM manufacturer, such as retailers like Best Buy or Staples.

The DRAM manufacturers also must implement antitrust compliance programs. The settlement also urges the manufacturers to refrain from conduct related to the sale of DRAM that would violate the antitrust laws.

Any payments resulting from the settlement cannot be made until the court has granted final approval to the settlements, including the resolution of any appeals, which could occur within two years. Also, if too many or few claims are received, the court may order that the settlement funds be provided to public or nonprofit organizations in addition to or instead of consumers who file claims.

To receive money from the settlement, eligible consumers need to submit a claim form by Aug. 1, with the settlements administrator. Individuals who purchased DRAM or products containing DRAM are expected to get a minimum $10 payment and may end up receiving up to the amount of the overpayment they actually made due to the alleged price fixing.

Qualifying electronics include, but are not limited to, desktop computers, laptop computers, computer servers, computer graphics cards, printers, video game consoles, MP3 players, PDAs, DVD players and digital video recorders.

To file a claim, visit www.DRAMclaims.com or call 800-589-1425.

 

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