Consumer payout to equal twice purchasers' losses, following Apple, publishers' pricing scheme
June 20, 2016 12:15 PM Eastern Daylight Time
SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Beginning June 21, 2016, millions of e-book purchasers will receive credits and checks for twice their losses following an antitrust lawsuit filed against Apple Inc. and five of the nation's largest publishing companies for their roles in an alleged e-book price-fixing scheme, according to Hagens Berman.
Consumers will receive a $6.93 credit for every e-book which was a New York Times bestseller, and a $1.57 credit for other e-books.
Attorneys say the process is uniquely simple for consumers – credits will be automatically sent directly into the accounts of consumers at major book retailers, including http://Amazon.com?tag=imoreb-20 Inc., Barnes & Noble Inc., Kobo Inc. and Apple. Retailers will issue emails and put the credits in the accounts simultaneously.
If e-book purchasers requested a check in lieu of a credit, they will receive a check. If purchasers received a credit during the first round of distribution of publisher settlements, and they did not opt out, they will automatically receive a credit.
The combined $400 million that will go to consumers follows the final stage in the lawsuit in which the Supreme Court denied appeal from Apple, bringing the consumer payback amount to more than twice the amount of losses suffered by the class of e-book purchasers. This represents one of the most successful recovery of damages in any antitrust lawsuit in the country.
"To make this settlement effective and accessible for consumers, our team faced a sizable undertaking that entailed almost constant contact with the retailers to make sure the credits will be applied to consumer accounts across the country," said Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman. "This is the second round of distribution in the case, and we believe the only case in the country to have so much money returned directly to consumers."
Attorneys calculated damages based on the books purchased and worked cooperatively with retailers to calculate the award for each class member.
The class of consumers alleged that Apple illegally colluded with a group of five publishing companies to manipulate the e-book market by artificially raising the price of e-books, lowering competition and charging consumers higher prices. According to attorneys, the anticompetitive price-fixing collusion between Apple and the publishers caused the price of e-books to increase 30 to 50 percent to $12.99 or $14.99 from Amazon's $9.99 price.
Hagens Berman litigated the case jointly with the United States Department of Justice and attorneys general from 33 U.S. states and territories.