CHARLESTON – West Virginia's Darrell McGraw and seven other state Attorneys General have negotiated a settlement with the makers of LCD screens.
Refund claims now are being accepted for West Virginia consumers who purchased televisions, laptop computers and computer monitors with LCD screen between Jan. 1, 1999, and Dec. 31, 2006.
"For years, LCD panel manufacturers met behind closed doors to decide what to charge for LCD screens. This is price-fixing, and it is illegal," McGraw said in a press release. "I am pleased that West Virginia consumers will now be able to get back the extra money they spent on these LCD products."
The release from McGraw's office says claimants likely will receive at least $25. The actual payment for claims will be calculated based on the number of claims and type of products purchased.
McGraw and the AGs of Arkansas, California, Florida, Michigan, Missouri, New York and Wisconsin settled price-fixing lawsuits against 10 LCD panel manufacturers -- including Hitachi, LG Display, Samsung Electronics Co. and Sharp Corporation -- for fixing the prices of LCD panels. As part of those settlements, the companies paid more than $1 billion in civil penalties and restitution to purchasers.
McGraw's office says the majority of the settlement money will be distributed to consumers who purchased televisions, computer monitors, and laptop computers with LCD screens, and who make a claim.
West Virginians have until Dec. 6 to file claims at www.LCDclass.com
"I encourage all West Virginians who purchased these products between 1999 and 2006 to file a claim," McGraw said in his release.
To be eligible, consumers (1) need to have resided in West Virginia when they purchased the LCD product; (2) made their purchases in West Virginia between 1999 and 2006; and (3) made their purchases for personal use rather than for resale.
Purchases may have been made from a retailer, like Best Buy or Wal-Mart, or from a computer manufacturer, such as Dell or Gateway. Consumers will not be asked to submit their records or other paperwork in making their claims, but should hold on to those in case they are asked to provide them in the future.
McGraw said his office, along with seven other state attorneys general and the federal government, had been investigating the industry for several years. He said the investigation uncovered evidence of a high-level conspiracy involving secret meetings in which the companies' executives agreed to raise prices for their LCD screens.
The following companies and their affiliates settled claims: AU Optronics Corporation; Chimei Innolux Corp; Chunghwa Picture Tubes, Ltd.; Epson Imaging Devices Corporation; HannStar Display Corporation; Hitachi, Ltd.; LG Display Corporation; Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.; Sharp Corporation; and Toshiba Corporation.