States settle with manufacturers in DRAM price-fixing case

JACKSON — Consumers can now file claims to recover money due to court preliminary approval of multi-state settlements worth $310 million with all the major manufacturers of dynamic random access memory (DRAM) computer chips for conspiring to fix their prices, according to Attorney General Jim Hood.

All settling states, including Mississippi, will have access to the $310 million for consumer restitution.

After completing an investigation in 2006, Mississippi, with other states, filed antitrust lawsuits in federal court alleging that Mississippi’s consumers over-paid for electronic devices containing DRAM for their purchases made from 1998-2002.

The settlements, reached in conjunction with class actions, pay individuals and businesses that purchased DRAM or devices containing DRAM in the United States during 1998-2002 from someone other than a DRAM manufacturer, such as retailers like Best Buy or Staples. The settlements also require the DRAM manufacturers to implement antitrust compliance programs and enjoin them from certain conduct related to the sale of DRAM that would violate the antitrust laws.

To receive money from the settlement, eligible consumers need to submit a claim form by Aug. 1 with the settlements’ administrator. The amount of money received depends on the type and quantity of electronic devices a claimant has purchased, and the total number of claims made. 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.

To file a claim, visit www.DRAMclaims.com, or call 1-800-589-1425.

Any consumer who purchased one or more of the following between 1998-2002 is eligible to make a claim: desktop computers; laptop computers; computer servers; computer graphics cards; printers; video game consoles; MP3 players; PDAs; DVD players; and digital video recorders.

If you purchased other technology devices also containing DRAM memory, you also may be eligible to make a claim.

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. It is anticipated that final approval will occur within the next two to three years, Hood said.

Mississippi also pursued monetary relief for DRAM purchases by state agencies, universities, and colleges during 1998-2002 and recovered $481,666. These government entities should anticipate receiving funds from a separate portion of these settlements with details to be announced after final approval of the settlements.

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