Oregon 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 computer chips (“DRAM”) for conspiring to fix their prices. Consumers who can submit claims include those who paid more for DRAM or for the many electronic devices that contain DRAM. DRAM is a common form of memory chip found in computers and other high technology devices.
In July of 2006, Oregon and 32 other states filed a complaint in federal district court against DRAM manufacturers for their alleged participation in a conspiracy to raise, fix, maintain or stabilize the price of DRAM at inflated levels in violation of antitrust, unfair competition and consumer protection laws. Oregon played a lead role in the multistate investigation which revealed that, from 1998 to 2002, the companies exchanged confidential information and agreed to quote inflated prices to customers. During that timeframe the companies sold at least $20 billion in DRAM chips within the United States.
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 to 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.
Information for Oregon Government Entities
State and local government entities are entitled to one-ninth of the Settlement Fund. Oregon government entities will receive funds as follows: 24% will go the state; 48% will go to local government entities; and 28% will go to public colleges and universities. The portion for local government entities will be split on a pro rata basis based on fulltime employee (FTE) census numbers, with a cut-off for any entities that would receive $50 or less. The portion for colleges and universities will be split based on current enrollment data. In addition, up to $48,000 will be set aside to reimburse the 12 Oregon entities for actual expenses incurred by participating in the expert survey, for their extra work in gathering their purchase data. These government entities should anticipate receiving funds from a separate portion of these settlements after final approval of the settlements.
Information for Oregon Consumers
To receive money from the settlement, eligible consumers need to submit a claim form by August 1, 2014 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.
Any consumer who purchased one or more of the following between 1998 and 2002 is eligible to make a claim:
- Desktop computers
- Laptop computers
- Computer servers
- Computer graphics cards
- Video game consoles
- MP3 players
- DVD players
- 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.
For more information about the settlements and to file a claim, visit www.DRAMclaims.com or call 1-800-589-1425.