Attorney General Kamala D. Harris announced Wednesday that a preliminary approval of settlements resolving allegations that LG, Hitachi, Panasonic, Toshiba and Samsung, companies all based in Japan or Korea, fixed prices on critical components of televisions and computer monitors from 1995 to 2007.
The critical components, known as Cathode Ray Tubes or CRTs, were used to display images on computer monitors and televisions screens before they were replaced by flat screens. The court has approved the settlement pending valid objections submitted within 60 days.
The companies’ price fixing scheme caused damage to California consumers and government entities that overpaid for their televisions and computers. The announced settlement has led to legally enforceable judgments against these foreign companies.
“LG, Hitachi, Panasonic, Toshiba and Samsung deliberately targeted the U.S. market to raise prices for televisions and computers worldwide,” said Harris. “These settlements bring justice and relief to California consumers and end the malicious practice of price-fixing by these companies.”
The settlements, which were filed in San Francisco Superior Court, require all five companies to pay a total of $4.95 million to settle claims of overcharges paid by California government entities, general damages suffered by the State’s economy and civil penalties.
The settlements require that the companies pay back the illegally obtained profits to those affected by their actions, engage in company-wide antitrust compliance training and reporting that involves products in addition to CRTs and extends to foreign companies and subsidiaries and requirements to prevent future violations of antitrust law.
California consumers or sole proprietorships that purchased at least one television or computer between 1995 and 2007 can make a claim, with a guaranteed minimum check of $25, according to Harris’ office.
All eligible California consumers and sole proprietorships can file claims for reimbursement at www.crtclaims.com. The new deadline for filing those claims is June 30, 2016.
Further details can also be found at oag.ca.gov/consumers/crt_notice.