You likely have money coming that you had no idea you’re entitled to. Today, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced a $63 million settlement with nine electronic companies after leaders admitted working together to inflate prices on all LCD monitors from 1998 to 2006. Washington is the first state to win money for its consumers.
“We literally think it’s millions of Washington state consumers,” said Ferguson. “It could be as many as 5 million.”
Leaders of the nine companies admitted they first met on a golf course in 1998 and agreed to collectively inflate prices on all products with LCD screens. That includes cellphones, TVs, and computer monitors.
The case came to light when a Samsung executive exposed the conspiracy to avoid criminal prosecution. Some company leaders served prison time in the U.S. for the collusion.
“It’s the scenario people really worry about, that these powerful interests, CEOs, executives get together and collude in order to harm consumers and line their own pockets. It can really be maddening, right?” said Ferguson.
Here’s a list of the companies and how much they will pay out:
LG – $13 Million
Samsung – $12.94 million
AU Optronics – $12.5 million
Chi Mei Optoelectronics – $8.75 million
Sharp – $6.75 million
Hitachi – $5.2 million
Epson – $2.7 million
Toshiba – $950,000
Chungwha Picture Tubes – $350,502
A judge must sign off on the agreement next week and the AG’s office is working out how you can get your money. You must have bought the electronics in Washington between 1998 and 2006.
“It’s the message that if you’re a powerful interest and you don’t play by the rules we’re going to hold you accountable,” said Ferguson.
And it could lead to more collusion cases.
“I can’t comment on any ongoing investigations,” said Jonathan Mark, who leads the AG’s Anti-Trust Division. “But it’s not uncommon for one conspiracy to lead to the discovery of another.”
As soon as the AG’s office decides exactly how you can get your money back, KIRO 7 will let you know.