August 9, 2012
Jefferson City, Mo. – Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster announced today that Missourians who purchased televisions, laptops and desktop computers with LCD screens between January 1, 1999, and December 31, 2006, may now file claims for reimbursement from ten settlements Koster reached over the last year.
“For years, LCD panel manufacturers met behind closed doors to decide what to charge for LCD screens. This is price-fixing, and it is illegal,” Koster said. “I am pleased that Missouri consumers, including businesses, will now be able to get back the extra money they spent on these LCD products.”
Koster has previously announced settlements with ten LCD panel manufacturers, including Hitachi, Ltd, Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., and Sharp Corporation, for fixing the prices of LCD panels. As part of those settlements, the companies paid more than $1 billion in civil penalties and restitution to purchasers. The vast majority of this money will be distributed to consumers who purchased televisions, computer monitors, and notebooks with LCD screens and who make a claim.
Koster said Missourians have until December 6 to file claims for the LCD screens they purchased between 1999 and 2006. Claims can be filed at www.LCDclass.com through an online claim form. Consumers also can request a claim form be mailed to them by calling 1-855-225-1886. Consumers may also ask questions about filing a claim at that number.
Claimants will likely receive at least $25. The actual payment for claims will be calculated based on the number and type of products purchased.
“I encourage all Missourians who purchased these products between 1999 and 2006 to file a claim,” Koster said.
In order to be eligible, consumers (both individuals and businesses) (1) need to have resided in Missouri when they purchased the LCD product; (2) made their purchases in Missouri between 1999 and 2006; and (3) made their purchases for personal or business use rather than for resale.
Purchases may have been made from a retailer, like Best Buy or Wal-Mart, or from a computer manufacturer such as Dell or Gateway. Consumers will not be asked to submit their receipts or other paperwork in making their claims, but should hold on to those in case they were asked to provide them in the future.
Koster said his office, along with seven other state attorneys general and the federal government, had been investigating the industry for several years. He said the investigation uncovered evidence of a high-level conspiracy involving secret meetings in which the companies’ executives agreed to raise prices for their LCD screens. Koster’s lawsuit was filed in August 2010 in the Federal District Court for the Northern District of California. The settlements were joined by the States of Arkansas, California, Florida, Michigan, New York, West Virginia and Wisconsin along with a national class action.
The following companies and their affiliates settled claims:
Koster has served as the national co-chair of the antitrust committee of the National Association of Attorneys General, and is a leading voice for antitrust prosecution nationally.