LANSING, Mich. (WWJ/AP) – Michigan consumers are expected to get as much as $10.1 million as part of a settlement with Apple stemming from a 2012 electronic books price-fixing lawsuit.
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette on Tuesday announced the update on the case, saying account credits or checks are coming soon.
The suit alleged that Apple conspired with book publishers to increase the retail price of e-books, causing prices for e-book editions of New York Times Best Sellers to increase from $9.99 to $12.99-$14.99, with a lesser increase for other e-books.
The U.S. Supreme Court in March rejected an appeal from Apple Inc.
“One of the great things about this country is that consumers are entitled to a fair, open and competitive marketplace,” Schuette said in a statement. “When a company is found to have violated antitrust laws, as Apple did here, consumers who have suffered as a consequence of that violation are entitled to compensation.”
The case pertains to e-books sold from April 1, 2010 to May 21, 2012. In a court settlement, Apple agreed to pay about $400 million.
The U.S. Justice Department and 33 states and territories had sued Apple and five publishers. The publishers also settled.
Michigan consumers will receive an account credit or check based on the number of eligible E-books purchased during the claims period – April 1, 2010 to May 21, 2012. Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo customers will receive an email from the retailer notifying them of an account credit, unless a check was requested by an October 31, 2014 deadline. Apple customers will receive an email from a third party settlement administrator, firstname.lastname@example.org, notifying these customers of deposit of a credit in their account. Eligible Sony customers will automatically receive a check in the mail while eligible Google customers will receive a check if they filed a claim by the October 31, 2014 deadline.
Eligible consumers should review their email for communications from their e-book retailer or from the settlement administrator regarding account credits or checks. Generally refund amounts will equal $6.93 per New York Times bestseller e-books and $1.57 for each other e-book purchased during the claims period. The preferred source of information for customers with questions is the lawsuit settlement administrator at http://www.ebooklawsuits.com or toll–free at (866) 686-9333.
In July 2013, U.S. District Judge Denise Cote issued an opinion finding that Apple violated Section 1 of the Sherman Act and analogous state antitrust laws and issued a permanent injunction against Apple with interim appointment of an external compliance monitor to oversee Apple’s antitrust compliance and training programs for two years. Apple appealed the liability decision and certain terms of the injunction to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals. During the pending appeals, the parties reached a provisional settlement, to become effective only on final resolution of all appeals. In June 2015, the 2nd Circuit affirmed the District Court decision, holding that “Apple violated § 1 of the Sherman Act by orchestrating a horizontal conspiracy among the Publisher Defendants to raise e-book prices . . . .” Apple filed a petition for a writ of certiorari in the United States Supreme Court. On March 7, 2016 the United States Supreme Court denied Apple’s petition, signaling an end to the lawsuit and a victory for Michigan consumers.
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