Attorney General Bob Ferguson today announced the claims process for consumers to recover their share of a $63 million recovery in a price-fixing enforcement action brought by the Attorney General’s Office.
In May 2015, the AGO announced it recovered over $63 million from nine LCD screen manufacturers, whose price-fixing conspiracy drove up prices consumers paid on electronic items. The bulk of the money recovered will be returned to consumers who purchased products containing LCDs.
From 1998–2006, consumers in Washington and throughout the world were significantly overcharged every time they bought a product with a liquid crystal display — or LCD — screen, because of a conspiracy by the world’s largest LCD manufacturers. For some products, this scheme may have increased the price consumers paid by as much as 20 percent.
The LCD agreement is one of the largest recoveries for Washington by the Attorney General’s Antitrust Division in state history.
The AGO cautions consumers that a third-party agent, Financial Recovery Services, has set up a website to file claims on behalf of consumers but will charge one-third of the recovery money to do so. Consumers can file their own claims for free at the official government website: www.lcdsettlement.atg.wa.gov.
Washington consumers and businesses that bought televisions, monitors, notebook computers, color-screen cell phones, or color-screen iPods that contained a flat panel screen may be eligible for a refund. Eligible consumers include those who:
- Purchased an LCD flat panel product between Jan. 1, 1998 and Dec. 1, 2006;
- Resided or had headquarters in Washington at the time of purchase;
- Purchased the LCD flat panel product from a retailer or someone other than the manufacturer of the component screen; and
- Purchased the LCD flat panel product for their own use and not for resale.
Products containing an LCD flat panel during the relevant time period include most televisions referred to as LCD or LED TVs, flat-screen monitors, notebook computers, color-screen cell phones purchased beginning in 2004 and color-screen iPods.
The amount consumers and businesses could expect to receive will vary depending on the product(s) purchased. The maximum is $108 per LCD television, $70 per flat-screen monitor and $75 per notebook computer, with lesser amounts for color-screen cell phones and color-screen iPods.
Consumers must submit a claim form online or by mail. Claim forms are available atwww.lcdsettlement.atg.wa.gov, or by calling 1-866-778-9468. The deadline to submit a claim is June 17, 2016.
Consumers are not required to submit documentation when they file a claim. However, they may be asked to verify their claim during the claims audit process, especially for claims involving a significant number of purchases. This will happen later in the process, and not at the initial filing.