According to a recently settled lawsuit, Samsung, Hitachi and Sharp entered into a price-fixing agreement in 1999. They were later joined by companies like LG Displays, Toshiba, Chunghwa Picture Tubes, HannStar Display Corp., Chi Mei Optoelectronics, and Taiwan-based AU Optronics, which makes displays for just about every brand of TV and computer monitor.
The FBI claims that between 1999 and 2006, these companies sold a combined $71.9 billion in price-fixed panels worldwide, an estimated $23.5 billion in the U.S. alone.
When a large-scale buyer of the LCD screens began to sniff out the price-fixing in 2005, the companies involved didn’t put an end to the practice, says the FBI. Instead, the company used lower-level employees to attend the meetings, which were moved from hotel rooms to restaurants and cafes to throw off the scent. These group meetings still drew unwanted attention, so the FBI says they eventually became one-on-one restaurant meetings.
Earlier this year, attorneys general for 24 states and the District of Columbia reached a $1.1 billion settlement with the manufacturers. People who resided in those states (see list below) between 1999 and 2006, and who also purchased an LCD TV, monitor or a notebook computer during those years, may be eligible for payouts of at least $25, and possibly more.
The deadline for making a claim on the settlement is Dec. 6, 2012, which means the clock is ticking. If you believe you are eligible to make a claim, just go to LCDclass.com and fill in the form.
Here are the states that are part of the settlement: