CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey says state consumers soon will receive their portion of a $400 million e-book settlement between Apple Inc. and 33 states and territories.
West Virginia and its affected consumers will receive as much as $2.4 million, while $527,000 will be paid directly to the state for reimbursement of costs, fees and expenses.
The settlement resolves price-fixing allegations regarding Apple’s involvement in the sale of electronic books. A federal district court ruled against the company in July 2013, but Apple’s appeal lingered for nearly three years before ending this spring at the U.S. Supreme Court.
“At long last, West Virginia consumers will receive the refunds they deserve,” Morrisey said in a statement. “This settlement marks an important victory and reinforces my office’s commitment to ensuring fair business practices in West Virginia.”
The majority of West Virginia’s allotment will be paid directly to consumers through account credits or official checks. Those refunds are scheduled to hit consumer accounts beginning June 21 and will continue through June 24.
Apple, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Cobo will credit accounts, unless consumers through the claims process indicated a check was desired instead. People with Sony and Google accounts will receive a check.
The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York determined Apple violated antitrust laws by conspiring with five publishers to artificially raise prices for e-books between 2010 and 2012.
The five publishers – Penguin Group (USA), Inc. (now part of Penguin Random House); Holtzbrinck Publishers LLC d/b/a Macmillan; Hachette Book Group Inc.; HarperCollins Publishers LLC; and Simon & Schuster Inc. – avoided trial with a $166 million settlement.
Combined, Apple and the publishers paid $566 million to resolve the claims. Consumers already have received the majority of the publishers’ settlement, although its remaining balance of $21 million also will be refunded to consumers in coming days.
The amount received by consumers is based upon the number of e-books purchased between April 1, 2010, and May 21, 2012. They will receive $6.93 for every New York Times bestseller, while $1.57 paid for all other e-books.