Money

Get cash back in chip maker price fixing suit

March 10, 2014 at 11:47 AM ET

If you bought a computer or a video game console from 1998-2002, chances are someone owes you ten bucks.

Twelve computer chip makers have agreed to pay out $310 million to settle claims that they artificially fixed the prices of "DRAM," a small but critical component that goes into nearly every computer and some kinds of video game consoles.

The class action lawsuit, "Re: Dynamic Random Access Memory (DRAM) Antitrust Litigation," collects together and wraps up nearly a decade worth of suits brought by individual states' attorneys general against some of the biggest chip makers in the business.

According to the suit, the way the DRAM makers worked is they would keep warehouses of their chips near the facilities of computer manufacturers, who needed large amounts readily available. The suit avers the chip makers negotiated contracts with the computer makers on a regular basis and to drive up the price, hundreds of employees at competing firms would share price information with one another and create artificial shortages.

These inflated prices got passed along to millions of consumers from computer makers including, but not limited to Apple, Dell, Gateway, IBM, Compaq and Hewlett Packard.

The defendants named in the suit were Samsung, Toshiba, Micron, Mitsubishi, NEC, Elpida, Hitachi, Hynix, Infineon, Mosel, Nanya and Winbond.

No documentation is required to file a claim at DRAMclaims.com. Numerous gadgets and gizmos bought between January 1, 1998 to December 31, 2002 are eligible, including desktops, laptops, printers, DVD players and MP3 players and more. Do you have fond memories of picking up an original PS2, GameCube, XBOX or Sega Dreamcast when they were new? You could get $10 as well.

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